Seminar #38: Developmental systems, autopoietic theory, and boundary issues
There will be a Life and Mind seminar on Tuesday, the 19th of August, 16:30-18:00, in Room Pev1 2A11.
The aim of this seminar will be to hold a discussion on some of the issues that have recently been raised on this blog. In particular, we will try to clarify two topics that may or may not be related, namely (i) the role of the boundary in autopoietic theory, and (ii) the relationship between autopoietic theory and developmental systems theory.
In terms of the latter, Susan Oyama has kindly agreed for the transcript of her talk at the recent Epigenetic Robotics conference at Sussex University to be made publicly available. This will enable us to discuss the relationship between autopoietic and developmental systems theory in more detail. Please find the abstract and paper of her talk below:
Development Without Roof, Without Walls, Without Floor
8th Int. Conf. on Epigenetic Robotics
Centre for Computational Neuroscience and Robotics
University of Sussex, UK
July 30-31, 2008
A remark about Francisco Varela provides the occasion for some thoughts about the usefulness of history in understanding differences between kindred theoretical approaches, in this case Varela’s and Maturana’s work on autopoiesis and my own on developmental systems. The roof, walls and floors of the title stand in for the various kinds of boundaries that so often distinguish such approaches. At the same time, these architectural features invoke the metaphor of construction, highlighting the dynamic nature of developmental and evolutionary processes. A brief overview of Developmental Systems Theory’s treatment of those processes leads, finally, to some speculations on representations in science.
Please do not distribute these documents beyond this discussion group!