Autopoietic systems are self-defining and real-world entities of a natural kind. They are subject to natural laws. It is suggested that the theory of emergence and the law of maximum entropy production relate to, and may be predictive of, the emergence, development, and evolution of autopoietic entities, including supra-human systems. \\Not to be confused with institutionalized categories such as family, corporation, nation, etc… autopoietic supra-human systems are irreducible entities of a different order from the mutually causal interactions, conversations and compliances, that produce them and are inaccessible at the level from which they emerge. \\The energy driving the emergence of supra-human systems is the human lifetime locked up in au-topoietic organization and ultimately dispersed, thus maximizing entropy production in the social domain. The possibly dire effects on the human state are considered. \\This hypothesis justifies closing the gap between the naral and social sciences under the rubric of general systems studies.
Autopoietic theory which represents a framework for describing complex non-linear and especially living systems is described in a context of biometric characteristics. It is argued that any living system by performing an internal process of reproducing its structural components yields physical biometric characteristics. Likewise any living system when structurally coupling to another (eventually allopoietic) system yields a behavioral or psychological characteristic of the living system. It is shown that any system that can be considered as autopoietic can potentially be measured, authenticated and/or identified using adequate biometric methods, and thus biometrics is applicable to any autopoietic system: living beings, groups of living beings, social systems, organizations as well as information systems. In the end implications of such a conceptualization are discussed as well as possible applications.
The PhD thesis is dealing with the idea of applying autopoietic theory to social semantic Web applications. The result of this view is the definition of application users as a social system that can be analyzed and measured. Using this framework social network analysis is used to annotate and amalgamate meta data gathered from a semantic wiki system based on frame logic. The new language allows querying uncertain data, amalgamation of heterogenous wiki systems and intelligent agent implementation.
Autopoietic theory, a theory of complex, nonlinear, autonomous and especially living systems, found its way from biology, through the social sciences to organization theory and information systems. It enjoys major attention from scientific audience in lots of different disciplines. Still there hasn’t been enough effort to establish a common foundation for a new theory. There are often contradictions in the very essence of the theory which are outlined in this article. By using a more simplistic conceptualization of autopoiesis, we are trying to give guidelines for a new foundation in this area.
The current debate in social sciences shows that the paradox of observing – the embeddedness of observers in the process of observing – is at the heart of the controversy about their cognitive status and future. Although the problem of observing has been addressed in numerous theoretical perspectives, the prospects for resolving this paradox remain problematic. Locating a point which allows reflection on the process of autopoiesis in general, not just the operation of a particular autopoietic system, may be one condition for resolving this paradox. Such point will offer reflection on all autopoietic systems, including the observer. The dynamic balance between equilibrium and disequilibrium is the mechanism which regulates the process of autopoiesis. Since the function of regulation is essentially a reflective function, this equilibrium between equilibrium and disequilibrium, which can be identified with the concept of homeorhesis introduced by Conrad Waddington, may offer a possibility to reflect on the process of observing. Relevance: The paper discusses the process of construction and more specifically the work of Jean Piaget.
This paper examines the proposition that self-concept exists as a networked modular structure in which the modules, consisting of actual or current self-concept and a number of possible selves, are held together as a dynamical system through an autopoietic process of self-regulation. In this context, the whole lifeworld of an individual can be thought of as a field that is maintained and/or changed through engagement in various kinds of developmental tasks controlled through self-regulation. A ‘morphology’ of self-concept defined in this way involves a dimension ranging from the internal (the person) to the external (the environment) passing through some form of interface. As a system, like any other system, self-concept is characterized by structure, pattern, and process elements. Self-concept, therefore, can change and develop yet ‘stay the same’, thus providing the individual, in a reflective and reflexive way, with a personal sense of history, growth, continuity, and change.
This paper presents the outline of an autopoietic systems approach to emotion. Distinctions are drawn between organic, psychic and social system types on the basis of the work of Serres, Luhmann and Tomkins. Literature on emotion is reviewed and three forms of reductionism identified, each of which corresponds to one of these system types. A case is then made that emotions are in fact threshold phenomena at the interstices between these system types, and distinctions between affects, emotions and proto-communication are proposed accordingly. These constitute forms of structural coupling best grasped in terms of parasitism and paradox. Emotions, affects and proto-communication de-paradoxify the paradoxes that we must know what we cannot know and share what we cannot share.
Context: This paper is intended for readers familiar with Humberto Maturana’s theory of autopoietic systems and with the still unresolved debate concerning the existence of non-biological autopoietic systems. Because the seminal work of the Chilean biologist has not yet been fully and correctly understood in other disciplines, I consider that it is necessary to offer a more generalized concept of the autopoietic system, derived by implication from Maturana’s grounding definition. Problem: The above-mentioned debate is rooted in a deficient application of some rigorous distinctions, definitions, and epistemological considerations introduced by Maturana when he coined the term “autopoiesis.” Some researchers think that social or economic organizations could be considered as autopoietic systems of a higher order because they appear to behave autonomously and be self-organized and self-producing. However, in practice some precise distinctions would need to be verified through observation in order to claim properly their autopoietic nature. These distinctions were defined by Varela, Maturana and Uribe in 1974 as a set of six decisional rules (“MV&U rules”) whereby an observer may possibly justify this stand. My aim is to pinpoint clearly the basic cognitive tasks that an observer should perform in order to ascertain such a claim. Method: I accomplish this with a thorough analysis of the entailments derived from each rule when applied to the most general case – when the observational domain where the system manifests itself is not specified. A bottom-up approach is used to avoid referring to “apparent autopoietic behavior” as a starting point distinction (top-down approach): the aim is to distinguish “autopoietic behavior” as an outcome of more basic distinctions, not as a premise for these. These may be used as abstract tools to facilitate a rigorous description of observations and lead to precise explanations of the emergence of complex self-generated dynamic systems. In theory, this conceptual frame is not limited to the macro-molecular domain and may therefore be applicable to non-biological systems. Results: According to MV&U rules, the most important distinctions are those that refer to intra-boundary phenomenology: this focus is necessary to explain how the key processes involved in the emergence of autopoiesis actually manifest themselves. These explanations are crucial to validating a claim about the “autopoietic nature” of an observed system. Implications: This work could help multidisciplinary researchers to apply properly the theory of autopoietic systems beyond the realm of biology and to settle ongoing debates. It could also help investigations related to the specifications of software simulation processes for modeling a minimal artificial autopoietic system. However, the rigorous focus on the role of intra-boundary phenomenology and self-production of components reveals that our chances of detecting “natural” meta-molecular autopoietic systems are scarce.