Except the conference you cited is largely the usual quantum consciousness crew. Believe me, I know. I've been to their conferences before.
I'll easily take your word for since their keynote speaker is Penrose.
Can you define what you actually understand by holism? I don't recognise it from your usage so far.
the theory that the parts of any whole cannot exist and cannot be understood except in their relation to the whole; "holism holds that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts"; "holistic theory has been applied to ecology and language and mental states"
Holism (from ὅλος holos, a Greek word meaning all, entire, total) is the idea that all the properties of a given system (physical, biological, chemical, social, economic, mental, linguistic, etc.) cannot be determined or explained by its component parts alone. ...
Varela (a sad loss) is definitely the kind of approach that I am talking about.
I just recently used that reference in the motivation of a research proposal! This is another reason why I don't think we are stuck in reductionism!
I mentioned Pattee's key distinction between rate dependent and rate independent information in describing the "level 3 transition" from simple SO to SO under biotic control.
Pattee (a student of von Neumann) is generally the sharpest thinker on these issues in my experience.
Ok, still working through it. I have a question already though from the introduction. Since the thread topic is about consciousness and this paper is about life, the implicit assumption is that all life (even single celled organisms) are conscious.
Or possibly (and this was an idea proposed at the conference) that consciousness was already prevalent (as a "boundary condition") in the universe and life is only one of the ways it manifested?