The operator theory: constructing nature from the bottom up

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For more than 20 years now, the Operator Theory inspires research on natural organization. This website explains why the Operator Theory was constructed, and how it can help you to get to grips with questions in science about e.g. natural organization, individuality, units of selection, hierarchy, life and evolution.

The Operator Theory discusses why and how in the universe small building blocks formed larger building blocks. The building blocks thus formed are named 'operators' (material objects that 'operate' in the world). Interactions between operators cause all other systems, called 'interaction systems'. This website demonstrates how the Operator Theory contributes to system science, complexity science, philosophy, ontology, etc.


By dr. dr. Gerard Jagers op Akkerhuis


"What DNA is for biology, the operator hierarchy is for system science" (Hendrik Pieter Spijkerboer, Wageningen UR 2014)

"The operator hierarchy supports my theorem that simplicity is more scalable than complexity" (Hans Peter Willems, Mindconstruct 2012)

“A general theory of hierarchic order obviously will be a mainstay of general systems theory” (von Bertalanffy, 1968 pp. 27-28).


So far, the following three books have been published about the operator theory (click the pictures for pdf or e-book).

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2016 A new philosophical basis for the analysis of nature.

The book explores answers to long standing open questions, e.g.: What is life? What exactly do we mean by evolution? How can the organization of nature be analyzed?

(more than 3700 chapter downloads since October 2016)

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2012 A discussion of the meaning and foundations of biodiversity.

Why and how does biodiversity emerge? How can it be defined? Is it a basic condition for ecosystem functioning? Or is it a consequence?


2010 An early state of the art of the Operator Theory and its applications.

This thesis elaborates on many aspects of the Operator Theory for the first time. While some thoughts have remained the same over the years, other thoughts were improved or elaborated in later work.