Skip to content
Register Sign in Wishlist

Nature's Magic
Synergy in Evolution and the Fate of Humankind

$52.95 (G)

  • Author: Peter Corning, Institute for the Study of Complex Systems, Palo Alto
  • Date Published: September 2012
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9781107407503

$ 52.95 (G)
Paperback

Add to cart Add to wishlist

Other available formats:
Hardback, eBook


Looking for an examination copy?

If you are interested in the title for your course we can consider offering an examination copy. To register your interest please contact collegesales@cambridge.org providing details of the course you are teaching.

Description
Product filter button
Description
Contents
Resources
Courses
About the Authors
  • In Nature's Magic Peter Corning states that synergy--a vaguely familiar term to many of us--has been a wellspring of creativity in the natural world and has played a key role in the evolution of cooperation and complexity at all levels, from physics and chemistry to the latest human technologies. The 'Synergism Hypothesis' asserts that synergy is more than a class of interesting and ubiquitous effects. It has also been a major causal agency in evolution; it represents a unifying explanation for biological complexity and represents a different perspective on the evolutionary process. In contrast to gene-centered theories, or postulates of self-organization and emergent 'laws' of complexity, the Synergism Hypothesis represents, in essence, an 'economic' (or bio-economic) theory of complexity. Peter A. Corning, Ph.D., is the Director of the Institute for the Study of Complex Systems in Palo Alto, California. He has published numerous research papers and articles and three previous books, one of which was a theoretical monograph on the role of synergy in evolution, The Synergism Hypothesis: A Theory of Progressive Evolution (McGraw-Hill, 1983).

    • Presents for the first time the 'Synergism Hypothesis'; a major alternative to neo-Darwinism, this is an economic theory of complexity at all levels of living systems
    • Fascinating description of how synergy can be a positive or negative force in nature and evolution
    • A beautifully written book that covers a huge amount of ground succinctly and clearly
    Read more

    Reviews & endorsements

    "...a text that leaves one thinking anew about how complexity within living systems has evolved."
    Frank T. Kuserk, Moravian College, Science Books & Films

    "I like this book. It's exciting, well-documented, and well-argued. It's very informative both for professional biologists and well-read lay people; it will change their minds and get them to see synergies everywhere."
    Professor Jack Cohen, Warwick University, author of Figments of Reality, and Evolving the Alien (with Ian Stewart).

    "If you are under the impression that synergy is not particularly important, just try to tie your shoes with a single hand. The book will appeal to anyone interested in the place of evolutionary thinking in general intellectual culture. It will also be esteemed a particularly valuable contribution to the emerging discipline of bioeconomics."
    Professor Michael Ghiselin, California Academy of Sciences

    "Corning's new book makes for enjoyable reading, with clear, lucid, and transparent formulations, imaginative metaphors and similes, an encyclopedic scope, and a high convincibility factor. There is only one thing wrong with a book like this for a reviewer like me: every page contains at least one passage or paragraph which begs to be quoted...Far from being the umpteenth 'theory of everything,' Corning's magnificent book presents an invitation to look at everything in a novel and fresh way."
    Prof. Johan M.G. van der Dennen, University of Groningen, the Netherlands.

    "Corning is one of the most erudite thinkers in systems biology. His original synergism hypothesis, posed in 1983, attracted little attention but had profound implications for many areas of biology and particularly evolutionary studies. Like all good systems, the context has now changed and Corning's thesis has come in from the cold. Suddenly and obviously synergism is everywhere and Corning's book expounds this crucial idea in brilliant fashion."
    Prof. Anthony Trewavas, FRS, Institute of Cell & Molecular Biology, University of Edinburgh

    "This is a marvelous book, which will change your perception of reality, of how things work and act together. Corning's central claim...is that synergy...complements our contemporary scientific world view. Moreover, the concept of synergy is more tangible than the rather fuzzy concept of 'self-organization'... Corning is able to define synergy 0learly, to list the most important properties of synergistic effects, and to give numerous examples of synergy in the living and non-living world...I believe this book has the potential of becoming a classic in complexity-studies."
    Taede Smedes, Groningen, the Netherlands (review for Amazon.com)

    "...a profound and widely encompassing amalgamation of inductive reasoning and broad repeating patterns directly affecting society itself. A work of impeccable, documented. ground breaking scholarship, Nature's Magic is so well written as to be complete accessible to academic and non-specialist general readers alike."
    The Bookwatch

    "For the intellectually curious reader who already knows something about evolution, is interested in scientific ideas that transcend disciplinary boundaries...this book will provide a great deal of food for thought."
    Philip Chase, Penn Book News and Reviews

    "... this book will provide a great deal of food for thought."
    Philip Chase for Expedition

    See more reviews

    Customer reviews

    Not yet reviewed

    Be the first to review

    Review was not posted due to profanity

    ×

    , create a review

    (If you're not , sign out)

    Please enter the right captcha value
    Please enter a star rating.
    Your review must be a minimum of 12 words.

    How do you rate this item?

    ×

    Product details

    • Date Published: September 2012
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9781107407503
    • length: 468 pages
    • dimensions: 229 x 152 x 26 mm
    • weight: 0.68kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. Prologue: the new evolutionary paradigm
    2. The enchanted loom
    3. The magic castle
    4. Black magic
    5. The synergism hypothesis
    6. The 'Sorcerer's Apprentice'
    7. Conjuring human evolution: the synergistic ape
    8. Conjuring history: does cultural evolution have an 'arrow'?
    9. The science of history
    10. Conjuring the future: what can we predict?
    Afterword
    Endnotes
    Bibliography.

  • Author

    Peter Corning, Institute for the Study of Complex Systems, Palo Alto

Sign In

Please sign in to access your account

Cancel

Not already registered? Create an account now. ×

Sorry, this resource is locked

Please register or sign in to request access. If you are having problems accessing these resources please email lecturers@cambridge.org

Register Sign in
Please note that this file is password protected. You will be asked to input your password on the next screen.

» Proceed

You are now leaving the Cambridge University Press website. Your eBook purchase and download will be completed by our partner www.ebooks.com. Please see the permission section of the www.ebooks.com catalogue page for details of the print & copy limits on our eBooks.

Continue ×

Continue ×

Continue ×

Find content that relates to you

Join us online

This site uses cookies to improve your experience. Read more Close

Are you sure you want to delete your account?

This cannot be undone.

Cancel

Thank you for your feedback which will help us improve our service.

If you requested a response, we will make sure to get back to you shortly.

×
Please fill in the required fields in your feedback submission.
×