A&O – DEEP – PHYSIOLOGY (6-05-2017)


13 c. medieval medicine – veins




Every living thing is a sort of imperialist, seeking to transform as much as possible of its environment into itself… When we compare the (present) human population of the globe with… that of former times, we see that “chemical imperialism” has been… the main end to which human intelligence has been devoted.  (Bertrand Russell, 1960)

 “La fixité du milieu intérieur est la condition d’une vie libre et indépendante” (“Constancy of the internal environment is the condition for a free and independent life,” (Claude Bernard  1865)

Physiology emphasizes the continual dynamic flux of countless interacting processes


The INTEGRATIVE BIOLOGY of BEHAVIOR involves the coordinated activities of four broad areas (as biologists study them): DEVELOPMENT, ECOLOGY, EVOLUTION, and PHYSIOLOGY and how they are brought to bear on BEHAVIOR (“DEEP ETHOLOGY”


ECOLOGY  is concerned with the environment in which an organism finds itself and with which it must cope to meet its BIOLOGICAL NEEDS.

  • STRESS: Any challenge–real or perceived–to meeting a biological need evokes a generalized response that reallocates energy to the processes that might cope.  The response can be graded to match the seeming urgency of the coping response: it can range from increased motivation (as in coping with cognitive dissonance) to a pitched emergency response.  COGNITION plays to this only when “lower” mechanisms (such as local reflexes) seem inadequate.


modification.  [see the DEEP ETHOLOGY GLOSSARY entry for EPIGENESIS also DEEP ETHOLOGY NOTES for epigenesis].


(an aside about TRAITS:  The organism possesses millions of trait, hierarchically organized and more-or-less interconnected.  Physiology, unlike descriptive morphology or cytology represents DYNAMIC traits.  They are the “manifest processes that sustain the health of an organism.”  We can typically take only a snapshot of a process although technology in recent decades has enabled multiple high-speed snapshots (movies, videos).  So it is always more-or-less of a fragment of the processes.  That may seem sufficient for an immediate question, but future questions will require more accuracy and precision.   This dynamism: always in flux or at least poised for rapid action is the essence of  the organism itself, but is is something we cannot yet capture.  See the DEEP ETHOLOGY GLOSSARY entry for TRAITS