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La triade méthodologique: substance, énergie, information — comme fondement de la physiologie théorique

The methodological triad: substance, energy, information — a basis of a theoretical physiology


The organism as an open system and the organism as a system with an automatic adjustment, these are the two main contemporary schemes of theoretical physiology. However, these schemes, in spite of being synthetic in comparison to the models formerly proposed, are analytic according to the requirements of biological thinking. Some other schemes have to be integrated as strong heuristic means, for instance, the scheme of circuits generating oscillations of relaxation. The notions of “substance, energy, information” constitute a methodological triad which systematically can be used examining the great problems of life. “Energy” is a mediatory term which was to be recognized as possessing a working function and an informational one (as a signal). We propose to distinguish between structural and operational information on the one hand and between bounded and free (or brought up to date) information on the other hand. The living substance is “impregnated” with information, owing to a constant expense of energy. Adaptation, habituation, homeostasis, evolution — all these notions lend themselves to a more coherent analysis from the proposed point of view, as is demonstrated by examples.


  1. 1.

    La biologie actuelle tend à se resystématiser autour de trois notions modernes: celle de système, celle de niveau d'organisation et celle d'information.

  2. 2.

    Pour concevoir les faits de façon adéquate, il est indispensable de resystématiser les données et les problèmes de la physiologie en tenant compte de la triade: substance, énergie, information.

  3. 3.

    Les rapports du type informationnel impliquent: la structuration de la substance des systèmes agissant les uns sur les autres aussi que de l'énergie; le caractère adéquat de l'énergie mise en jeu par rapport au système dynamique influencé; l'amplification.

  4. 4.

    En même temps l'organisme doit être conçu comme système ouvert, comme oscillateur à oscillations de relaxation et comme système à réglage automatique. Le réglage n'est pas toujours un réglage informationnel.

Littérature citée

  • Bertalanffy, L. v., 1942. Theoretische Biologie. Bd 2. Stoffwechsel, Wachstum. Borntraeger, Berlin, 362 pp.

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  • Mulliken, R. S. &Rieke, C. A., 1941. Molecular electronic spectra, dispersion and polarization.Rep. Prog. Phys. 8, 231.

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Sahleanu, V. La triade méthodologique: substance, énergie, information — comme fondement de la physiologie théorique. Helgolander Wiss. Meeresunters 14, 32–35 (1966).

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