Monday, September 24
Mark Bedau (Reed; European Center for Living Technology, Venice)
The evolution of the biosphere shows a trend of increasing complexity of the most complex forms of life. But it is not clear how to explain this trend. Philosophers (e.g. D.C. Dennett, P. Godfrey-Smith, and K. Sterelny) and biologists (e.g. S.J. Gould, J. Maynard Smith, and D. McShea) have offered competing attempts to explain this trend. This talk will show why explaining this trend is still a deep open question today, then defend a computational approach for answering it, and finally evaluate the state of the art of this approach. The upshot contains good and bad news. The bad news is that the computational approach has not yet answered this question. The good news is that the approach shows definite promise.