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Home » Books » Nonfiction » Social Sciences » Sociology » General

The Life and Behavior of Living Organisms

A General Theory

By Elliott Jaques

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Format: Hardcover, 296 pages
Published In: United States, 01 December 2001
Provides a general theory that gives a dynamic scientific foundation for the understanding of all living behavior. Jaques presents a totally new general theoretical foundation for understanding the individual and social behavior of all living organisms. In contrast to existing theories of behavior which are static, Jaques has succeeded in breaking through to a truly dynamic orientation. This breakthrough, resulted from his fundamental research into work organizations that led to the realization that the difference between inanimate processes and all living behavior, is that all living behavior is composed of intentional goal-directed work. This continuous work entails the use of judgment in choosing goals and in making the decisions necessary to get to these goals. This work process is the same in all living organisms, including humans. It is an ineffable process of the total organism, inaccessible to direct observation and experience. Intentionality is the dynamic of behavior. This discovery has led over the past 50 years to extensive discoveries--objective measures of work complexity, and of the level of complexity (capability) of individuals in all species; how human language differs from communication in other species; the need to distinguish between horizontal evolutionary mutations within a given level of capability, and vertical evolution to species with higher levels of complexity; the nature of freedom within mutual-trust inducing constraints. Set forth to radically change the nature of all behavioral and social sciences in the new millenium, Jaques' analysis is essential reading for all scholars, students, and researchers as well as the general public involved with the behavior of living organisms.

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Provides a general theory that gives a dynamic scientific foundation for the understanding of all living behavior.

Table of Contents

Preface Introduction What Is Life? Overview A Half Century of Findings on Work, Complexity, and Capability Work as Goal-directed Choice (laboro ergo sum) Complexity and Capability in Living Organisms Laying the Groundwork Awareness, Signaling, Language and Other Basic Concepts Minds, Bodies, Reductionism, and Systems Theory Potential and Applied Capability Throughout the Living Kingdom Life in the Pre-Linguistic World The Choice Making Functions of All Living Organisms The Whole Organism and Its Parts The Organism in Action Reality in the Sensible World as Cause-and-effect Testing The Language-Suffused World of Humans The Evolutionary Emergence of Homo Sapiens, with Language and Consciousness The Fruits of Evolution The Spread of Homo Sapiens Across the World The Language Suffused World: Prometheus, Pandora, and the Unicorns Modern Alchemy and the Disruption of Capitalist Democracy Time, Science, and Freedom Toward a Science-based Art of Social Ordering Values for a Living World: Freedom and Constraint, and Mutual Trust and Morals Some Retrospective Musings Glossary Bibliography Index

About the Author

ELLIOTT JAQUES is Visiting Research Professor in Management Sciences at George Washington University. He has been honored by awards from the Joint Chiefs of Staff of the U.S. Armed Services and the Consulting Psychoanalytical Division of the American Psychological Association. He is the author of 21 previous books.

EAN: 9780275975012
ISBN: 0275975010
Publisher: Praeger
Dimensions: 24.23 x 16.26 x 2.77 centimetres (0.59 kg)
Age Range: 15+ years
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