In a mechanism, analysis coincides with antisynthesis.

— From Life Itself, by Robert Rosen

The triad thesis-antithesis-synthesis has been erroneously credited to Hegel, but it still widely mentioned. What if the triad becomes a fourfold? Then the first term that comes to mind to turn three into four is antisynthesis. The writer most familiar to me who used this term was Robert Rosen, a theoretical biologist.

Rosen thought that antisynthesis was analysis for what he calls mechanisms. Mechanisms are natural systems such that every one of its models is simulable, that is, computable as in a computer. One of Rosen’s main claims in his research was that living systems were natural systems but not reducible to mechanisms. His argument depended on an analysis of the causation or entailments in such systems.

Because so many of the fourfolds presented here are linked to Aristotles’s Four Causes, I feel that I may need to revisit Rosen’s Theory in a separate entry to do it justice. This entry was merely about the term antisynthesis and its relation to the original triad.


In this fourfold there are two negations and two affirmations.

Hegel instead used concrete, abstract, absolute. To complete the four: bounded, partial, uncertain, finite?


Robert Rosen / Life Itself: A Comprehensive Inquiry into the Nature, Origin, and Fabrication of Life





The Four Bases of DNA

DNA neither cares nor knows. DNA just is. And we dance to its music.

Richard Dawkins

DNA, the genetic code and biological machinery all life on earth shares, has been in the news lately. It was once thought that much of our DNA was useless junk, but recent research reveals that this portion of our DNA is very important to the operation of epigenesis. This portion of DNA could be called dark bio-matter, or better dark bio-information or even dark bio-code, since it contains switches and instructions that guide each individual organism’s developmental growth through time.

Previously, the parts of DNA thought to be important were those regions that define the proteins that assemble to form our tissues. Mutations in the DNA that specify proteins can lead to disease because the mutated proteins cannot perform the functions that they need to. Of course, mutated proteins can also be improved and increase health. Comparing protein sequences across species shows that we have many commonalities as well as important differences with our animal cousins. What was once considered a “great chain of being” is now thought to be a great tree of life, all shown by DNA.

DNA is also a fourfold, and a double dual as well, since for the four bases Adenine (A), Thymine (T), Guanine (G), and Cytosine (C): A pairs with T, and G with C. I am not saying that DNA is analogous to the other fourfolds presented here, but it makes a nice diagram.


Why does DNA have four bases and not two, like binary computer code?

Even more of DNA determines our health and variation, the things that make us who we are. Does that constrain us even more, or will this knowledge make us more free?

Further Reading: