Introduction to the second special issue in commemoration of Olaf Breidbach

Theory in Biosciences, May 2017

Jürgen Jost

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Introduction to the second special issue in commemoration of Olaf Breidbach

Introduction to the second special issue in commemoration of Olaf Breidbach Ju¨ rgen Jost 0 1 2 0 Santa Fe Institute for the Sciences of Complexity , Santa Fe , USA 1 Max Planck Institute for Mathematics in the Sciences , Leipzig , Germany 2 & Ju ̈rgen Jost - This is the second of two special issues that Theory in Biosciences is dedicating to the memory of Olaf Breidbach, its long time editor who had transformed the traditional ‘‘Biologisches Zentralblatt’’ into the modern ‘‘Theory in Biosciences’’, a journal dedicated to the theoretical, conceptual and historical aspects of biology in its broadest sense. Olaf Breidbach had passed away prematurely in July 2014 at the age of 56. Several obituaries have been published, like Bach (2014, 2014); Jost (2016), including one in this journal Jost (2014). The articles in this issue have been contributed by some of his close friends and long-term collaborators. They, therefore, concentrate on some of the topics that were at the heart and core of his scientific interests. We are well aware of the fact, however, that these articles by no means exhaust the wide range of his scientific interests. The first article, on Knowledge (doi: 10.1007/s12064-0170242-5), seeks to uncover a unifying perspective behind those wide-ranging interests, that of the generation, construction, preservation, and use of knowledge. Olaf Breidbach had approached this topic not only as a biologist and a neurobiologist, but also as a historian of science, a philosopher, a This article is dedicated to the memory of Olaf Breidbach. theoretician of art, and a complex systems thinker. Knowledge for him was not just factual or procedural knowledge, but an active process of structuring the world, be it the building plan encoded in a genome, the environment of an organism, the world that a brain could passively sense or actively influence, the process of scientific discoveries and intellectual discourses, the culture and tradition of a society, or the perspective of a philosophical system. For him, knowledge went beyond the internal representation of an outside world, but it was rather a constructive process inside a system, see e.g. Breidbach et al. (1996). It also included practical aspects, like the technical abilities on which modern experimental science was built, or the schemes of displaying objects in collections and museums. Knowledge and its generation, construction and function were the topic of many of his monographs, like Breidbach (199 4, 2005 , 2008, 2011, 2013, 2015, 20 10); Ziemke and Breidbach (1996 ), and also of his friends, like Neuser (2013). As the director of the Ernst-Haeckel-Haus in Jena for 20 years, Olaf Breidbach did fundamental work on Ernst Haeckel, both from the perspective of the history of science and from conceptual thinking in evolution. In particular, he edited many of Haeckel’s works, see for instance Breidbach (1996, 1998, 2006, 2012), and he described and analyzed Haeckel’s work, for instance in Breidbach (2002, 2006). In his studies, Olaf Breidbach also addressed the problematic views of Haeckel. The contributions ‘‘The Biogenetic Law in zoology: from Ernst Haeckels formulation to current approaches’’ by L. Olsson, G.S. Levit and U. Hossfeld (doi: 10.1007/ s12064-017-0243-4) traces the development of Haeckel’s famous law that the ontogeny recapitulates the phylogeny (see e.g. Breidbach (1995)) and relates it to subsequent and modern concepts like the ‘‘hourglass model’’. The article ‘‘From Goethes plant archetype via Haeckels biogenetic law to plant evo-devo 2016’’ by K.Niklas and 1. Bach T ( 2014 ) Olaf Breidbach ( 1957 -2014) Sudhoffs Archiv . Zeitschrift fu¨r Wissenschaftsgeschichte 98 ( 2 ): 131 - 139 2. Bach T ( 2014 ) Prof . Dr. Dr. Olaf Breidbach. 8. November 1957 - 22 . Juli 2014 . In: Goethe-Jahrbuch Bd . 231 ( 2014 ). Go¨ttingen 2015 , pp 264 - 266 3. Breidbach O ( 1997 ) Die Materialisierung des Ichs . Zur Geschichte der Hirnforschung im 19. und 20 . Jahrhundert , Suhrkamp, Frankfurt/M. 4. Breidbach O ( 2005 ) Bilder des Wissens: Zur Kulturgeschichte der wissenschaftlichen Wahrnehmung . W. Fink, Mu¨nchen 5. Breidbach O ( 2008 ) Neue Wissensordnungen . Wie aus Informationen und Nachrichten kulturelles Wissen entsteht . Suhrkamp, Frankfurt/M 6. Breidbach O ( 2011 ) Radikale Historisierung . Kulturelle Selbstversicherung im Postdarwinismus . Suhrkamp, Frankfurt/M. 7. Breidbach O ( 2013 ) Neuronale A¨ sthetik, Zur Morpho-Logik des Anschauens . W. Fink, Mu¨nchen 8. Breidbach O ( 2015 ) Geschichte der Naturwissenschaften . I: Die Antike, Springer, Berlin/Heidelberg 9. Breidbach O ( 1995 ) Ontogenese versus Phylogenese. Zum Konzept einer entwicklungsmorphologisch fundierten Evolutionstheorie . In: Selbstorganisation. Jahrbuch fu¨r Komplexita¨t in den Natur-, Sozial- und Geisteswissenschaften 6 ( 1995 ), published 1996 , pp 69 - 86 10. Breidbach O (ed) ( 1996 ) Ernst Haeckel: Studien zur GastraeaTheorie, Ernst-Haeckel-Haus-Studien zur Geschichte der Biowissenschaften und Medizin , vol 1 . Jena , Druckhaus Mayer 11. Breidbach O (ed) ( 1998 ) Ernst Haeckel: Kunstformen der Natur . Prestel, Mu¨nchen 12. Breidbach O ( 2002 ) The former synthesis. Some remarks on the typological background of Haeckel's ideas about evolution . Theory Biosci 121 , 280 - 296 13. Breidbach O (ed) ( 2006 ) Ernst Haeckel: Bildwelten der Natur; English version: Visions of Nature. The Art and Science of Ernst Haeckel . Prestel, Mu¨nchen 14. Breidbach O ( 2006 ) The conceptual framework of evolutionary morphology in the studies of Ernst Haeckel and Fritz Mu¨ller . Theory Biosc . 124 : 265 - 280 15. Breidbach O (ed) ( 2012 ) Ernst Haeckel: Kunstformen der Natur. Kunstformen aus dem Meer . Prestel, Mu¨nchen 16. Breidbach O et al (eds) ( 2010 ) Experimentelle Wissenschaftsgeschichte . W. Fink, Mu¨nchen 17. Breidbach O , Holthausen K , Jost J ( 1996 ) Interne Repra¨sentationen - U¨ ber die ''Welt''generierungseigenschaften des Nervengewebes. Prolegomena zu einer Neurosemantik . In: Ziemke A , Breidbach O (eds) Repra ¨sentationismus . Vieweg, Braunschweig/Wiesbaden, pp. 177 - 195 18. Jost J ( 2014 ) Obituary for Olaf Breidbach . Theory Biosci . 133 : 125 - 128 . doi: 10 .1007/s12064-014-0206-y 19. Jost J ( 2016 ) Nachruf auf Olaf Breidbach. 8 . November 1957 - 22. Juli 2014 , Zoologie, Mitteilungen der Deutschen Zoologischen Gesellschaft, pp 73 - 84 20. Neuser W ( 2013 ) Wissen begreifen . Zur Selbstorganisation von Erfahrung , Handlung und Begriff , Springer, Wiesbaden 21. Simunek MV , Hossfeld U , Thu¨mmler F , Breidbach O ( 2011 ) Mendelian Dioskuri . Correspondence of Armin with Erich von Tschermak-Seysenegg, 1898-1951 (=Studies in the History of Sciences and Humanities , vol. 27 ), Praha 22. Ziemke A , Breidbach O (eds) ( 1996 ) Repra¨sentationismus . Vieweg, Braunschweig/Wiesbaden


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Jürgen Jost. Introduction to the second special issue in commemoration of Olaf Breidbach, Theory in Biosciences, 2017, 1-2, DOI: 10.1007/s12064-017-0247-0