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Explanation of Structure By Optimization and Systemization

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image of Netherlands Journal of Zoology
For more content, see Archives Néerlandaises de Zoologie (Vol 1-17) and Animal Biology (Vol 53 and onwards).

A part of the basic question of structure explanation has been rather unclear for a long time. Why has the system not been built differently? If we approach the subject by asking this, a compilation of pragmatic concepts can be shown to explain structure in functional morphology. The concepts have clear connections with the neighbouring growth and evolutionary fields. With the introduction of the notion of "causal model", based on structure, action and role parameters, the system got a fictitous representation that allowed for deductive reasoning. The system has been looked upon as being consistent in a biological times space with "change of the system" as a unit along three axes: a momentanous, a growth and an evolutionary axis. The system has been proposed to be a balance between two opposing processes, called: optimization and systemization. For structure explanation along the momentanous time axis (in functional morphology) these processes have been considered to be theoretical. The theoretical optimization of the causal model is the maximizing of the efficiency of a role fulfilment without loss of construction or operation parameters and without change of circumstances. The systemization is the theoretical assemblage into one system of the optimized causal models for all the role fulfilments in such a way that each fulfilment is as great as possible. The construction of this systemized model is compared with the structure of the original system. Experimental and natural tests have been proposed to test the possible real existence of optimizing and systemizing processes. The approach presented here allows one to break through the generally accepted species as well as systemborders to order the immense structure regnum.

Affiliations: 1: Department of Morphology, Zoological Laboratory, University of Leiden, The Netherlands


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