The Life & Mind Seminar Network

Seminar #18: Is autopoiesis necessary for consciousness?

Posted in Seminars by Tom Froese on May 1, 2007

The third Life and Mind seminar of the summer term will be held tomorrow, Wednesday the 2nd of May, at 16:00 in room Pev1 1A01 (note room and time change). Tom will be leading a discussion on:

Is autopoiesis necessary for consciousness?

A living system can be distinguished in two non-intersecting phenomenal domains, namely 1) as a collection of components and their relationships (i.e. its physiology) in the constitutive domain, and 2) as a unity and its relationships to other unities (i.e. its behavior) in the behavioral domain.

There is general agreement in the autopoietic tradition that consciousness is a relational phenomenon that pertains to the behavioral domain. However, this creates a potential tension with the claim that autopoiesis in the constitutive domain (i.e. metabolic self-production) is a necessary condition for consciousness.

I propose that one way to resolve this issue is by distinguishing between phenomenal and behavioral consciousness, even though this opens up the theoretical possibility of philosophical “zombies”.

All welcome.

2 Responses

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  1. Jose Perez said, on May 1, 2007 at 12:27 pm

    Saludos: I would like to know if these seminars can be seen on live broadcast.



  2. tomfroese said, on May 1, 2007 at 1:13 pm

    Hi Jose,

    There has been some discussion within the research group whether it would be worthwhile purchasing some recording equipment so that the seminars could be posted on the Internet. We will try to capture this seminar in audio, and if the recording turns out to have good enough quality, we’ll post it on this blog.


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