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Eigenforms, Interfaces and Holographic Encoding: Toward an Evolutionary Account of Objects and Spacetime

Chris Fields, Donald D. Hoffman, Chetan Prakash & Robert Prentner

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Context: The evolution of perceptual systems and hence of observers remains largely disconnected from the question of the emergence of classical objects and spacetime. This disconnection between the biosciences and physics impedes progress toward understanding the role of the “observer” in physical theory. Problem: In this article we consider the problem of how to understand objects and spacetime in observer-relative evolutionary terms. Method: We rely on a comparative analysis using multiple formal frameworks. Results: The eigenform construct of von Foerster is compared to other formal representations of observer-environment interactions. Eigenforms are shown to be encoded on observer-environment interfaces and to encode fitness consequences of actions. Space and time are components of observational outcomes in this framework; it is suggested that spacetime constitutes an error-correcting code for fitness consequences. Implications: Our results contribute to an understanding of the world in which neither objects nor spacetime are observer-independent. Constructivist content: The eigenform concept of von Foerster is linked to the concepts of decoherence and holographic encoding from physics and the concept of fitness from evolutionary biology.

Key words: Active inference, boundary, conscious agent, icon, Markov blanket, redundancy.


Fields C., Hoffman D. D., Prakash C. & Prentner R. (2017) Eigenforms, interfaces and holographic encoding: Toward an evolutionary account of objects and spacetime. Constructivist Foundations 12(3): 265–274. http://constructivist.info/12/3/265

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