Maturana and Varela developed the concept of autopoiesis to explain the phenomena of living organisms. They went further and postulated theories concerning the nervous system and the development of cognition. These theories have radical conclusions concerning human thought, language, and social activity. This paper aims to introduce these ideas and to explore the main implications. It also discusses the application of these cognitive theories in three separate domains – computer systems design, family therapy, and the Law.
Research background: Since the introduction of the concept in 1972 Autopoiesis has enjoyed great popularity among academicians representing various fields of science. However, the number of studies devoted to the investigation of factors that have an impact on the formation of autopoietic economic structures is quite limited. This paper addresses the gap in scientific research on autopoiesis of economic structures in small open markets, specifically in the Baltic States. Purpose of the article: The paper aims to identify and evaluate factors that turn on selforganization mechanisms of autopoietic economic structures in the Baltic States, in particular in Latvia. Methods: Expert survey was used to identify the most important factors affecting the formation of meso-economic entities in the Baltic States. The factors’ assessments provided by seven experts were analyzed. Analytic Hierarchy Process (AHP) with fuzzy numbers was employed to process the data. Two different scales of evaluation (inverse linear and balanced) were used. Findings & Value added: The factors influencing the process of formation of business groups were evaluated by experts. Research results allow for making conclusions regarding the causes of the business integration, and impact of diversified integrated business structures on the country’s business system in Central Europe.
This article discusses the empirical limits of the concept of autopoiesis of law in world society today. The argument is based principally on observation of the problems of reproduction of the legal system in peripheral countries’. The central thesis of the article is that, in the countries of ‘peripheral modernity’ the reproduction of the legal system is blocked by a wide variety of social factors, in such a way that one can speak more of the allopoiesis than the autopoiesis of law. Beginning with a biological concept, the article considers the sociological concept of autopoiesis, and then analyzes the concept of autopoiesis of law. Based on this theoretical parameter, the argument about the allopoiesis of law in the ‘peripheral countries’ is presented. Finally, the article returns to the central theme of the allopoiesis of law in ‘peripheral countries’ and points to the indications of a normative concept of autopoiesis of law in the theories of Niklas Luhmann and Gunther Teubner.
In this paper, we attempt to describe Autopoietic Systems using a mathematical framework of Metabolism-Repair Systems. Our description does not strictly re ect pure autopoiesis, and can only represent quasi-autopoietic systems. However, we believe that this attempt will spur discussions on the formal description of autopoiesis and the relation to mental and social systems, and so on, and we dare to propose a rough model.
First I present what is called the “core” of gestalt psychology: the “law of natural order.” It postulates a principle of self-organization. For Fritz Perls, the founder of gestalt therapy, the principle of “organismic self-regulation” is central to his theory of therapy. Furthermore I show similarities and differences between gestalt psychology and gestalt therapy on one hand and the theory of autopoiesis by Maturana and Varela on the other. After defining the goal of gestalt therapy as turning power relations into love relations, I explain the main concept in gestalt therapy “contact” and compare it with “structural coupling” in the theory of autopoiesis. At the end I quote part of a session with Fritz Perls, demonstrating some aspects of the therapeutic process and I show consequences of the theory for the relation between therapist and client.
The concept of autopoiesis was proposed 40 years ago as a definition of a living being, with the aim of providing a unifying concept for biology. The concept has also been extended to the theory of knowledge and to different areas of the social and behavioral sciences. Given some ambiguities of the original definitions of autopoiesis, the concept has been criticized and has been interpreted in diverse and even contradictory ways, which has prevented its integration into the biological sciences where it originated. Here I present a critical review and conceptual analysis of the definition of autopoiesis, and propose a new definition that is more precise, clear, and concise than the original ones. I argue that the difficulty in understanding the term lies in its refined conceptual subtlety and not, as has been claimed by some authors, because it is a vacuous, trivial or very complex concept. I also relate the concept of autopoiesis to the concepts of closed systems, boundaries, homeostasis, self-reproduction, causal circularity, organization, and multicellularity. I show that under my proposed definition the concept of a molecular autopoietic system is a good demarcation criterion of a living being, allowing its general integration into the biological sciences and enhancing its interdisciplinary use. Relevance: The article deals with autopoiesis and related concepts.
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.
Excerpt: Anders als der “Tractatus” ist […] die “Biology of Cognition” zusammen mit dem “Autopoiesis”-Aufsatz von Varela, Maturana und Uribe aus dem Jahre 1974 ein Weg, der weitergegangen werden kann und muß. Zum einen betrifft dies Weitergehen die inhaltliche Ausführung und Ausfüllung des Maturana-/Varela-Konzepts der Autopoiese und der Kognition, die die Autoren selbst bisher nicht geleistet haben, die aber erst die Basis einer wirklich fruchtbaren Anwendung in den Wissenschaften darstellt, und zum anderen die Korrektur einer Reihe von erheblichen Brüchen und Inkonsistenzen. Beides nimmt jedoch der ursprünglichen Theorie nichts von ihrer überragenden Bedeutung. Ich kann im vorliegenden Aufsatz nur andeuten, in welche Richtungen dies Weiter- und Hinausgehen erfolgen muß, und zwar besonders im Hinblick auf die Übertragbarkeit der Theorie auf nichtbiologische, im wesentlichen psychologische und sozialwissenschaftliche Disziplinen. Der Leser sei auf zwei umfangreichere Arbeiten zur Biosystemtheorie und zur Wahrnehmungstheorie vertröstet, die zur Zeit in Zusammenarbeit mit anderen Kollegen entstehen. Ich werde mich bei meinen Ausführungen im wesentlichen mit den Aufsätzen beschäftigen, die von Maturana allein oder zusammen mit Varela geschrieben wurden. Die neueren eigenständigen Arbeiten Varelas verdienen eine eigene Würdigung, die aber hier nicht geleistet werden kann. Wenn ich also im folgenden abkürzend von der Theorie Maturanas spreche, so ist in Hinblick auf das Konzept der Autopoiese der wesentliche Anteil Varelas hieran mitgemeint.
This paper reviews the long-standing debate surrounding the nature of machine intelligence, autonomy and creativity and argues for an approach to developing autonomous computational creativity that models personal motivations, social interactions and the evolution of domains. The implications of this argument on the types of cognitive processes that are required for the development of autonomous computational creativity are explored and a possible approach to achieving the goal is described. In particular, this paper describes the development of artificial creative systems composed of intrinsically motivated agents engaging in language games to interact with a shared social and cultural environment. The paper discusses the implications that this type of approach may have for the development of autonomous creative systems.