Ontogenetic Process, Emergence, Individuation


Over the past decade conversations across humanities and sciences are emerging around some provocative re-thinking of  change, process, evolution, the ever unfolding dynamic of complex bio-socio-cultural-geophysical systems.  Acknowledging that wet, unruly, feeling stuff exceeds the scope of Turing-equivalent algorithms, beyond affirming Galileo’s Eppur si muove! we ask, Come si muove?  How?

The Ontogenesis research stream is animated by the growing consensus in the sciences and the humanities that the living world in all its modes—biological, semiotic, economic, affective, social, etc.—escapes finite schema of description. Based on a deep and sustained engagement with biological, physical, and computational sciences, operating in conjunction with anthropological, philosophical, and artistic modes of inquiry, the researchers believe that it is time to reach beyond the reigning techniques of computation and complexity to accommodate the open-ended, living processes of the world.

Rather than build a new cage to trap these multiple and entangled species of process and emergence, we’re feeling our way toward an unnamed scienza nuova that traverses a wide range of practices sharing certain features: non-reductiveness, extra-algorithmic experience, non-random yet non-deterministic variation, and processuality.

Some of us are also interested in socio-technical engagement outside academic institutions: how we frame and solve problems in areas as diverse as economics, law, medicine, religion and spirituality, urban development, biotechnology, surveillance and security.

Some questions:


Sha Xin Wei  and  Adam Nocek

Ontogenetics Process Group (OPG) and Affiliates

Michael Epperson | California State University Sacramento

Gaymon Bennett | Arizona State University

Erin Espelie | University of Colorado Boulder

Stuart Kauffman | Santa Fe

Giuseppe Longo | Ecole Normale Supérieure Paris

Adam Nocek | Arizona State University

Sha Xin Wei | Arizona State University

Phillip Thurtle | University of Washington

Helga Wild | Providence

Cary Wolfe | Rice University


Lecture Series by Giuseppe Longo

Recent Publication

Eds. Cary Wolfe and Adam Nocek, Special Volume on Ontogenesis Beyond Complexity,  Angelaki: Journal of the Theoretical Humanities 28.3, June 2020.