The Life & Mind Seminar Network

New paper: Life After Ashby

Posted in CFP, General by Tom Froese on December 27, 2010

The tension between the abstract formulation of the original concept of autopoiesis and the notion of concrete embodiment required by enactive cognitive science has been an ongoing theme in the Life and Mind seminars since the beginning.

John Stewart and I have written a detailed assessment of these issues in a paper, “Life After Ashby: Ultrastability and the Autopoietic Foundations of Biological Autonomy”, which was just published in Cybernetics and Human Knowing. You can find a pre-print version of the paper for download here.

Essentially, we argue that many of the shortcomings of the concept of autopoiesis in relation to the requirements of enactive cognitive science have to do with the level of abstractness at which the concept was originally formulated by Maturana and Varela. We suggest, in general agreement with other members of the Life and Mind seminars, that a return to the concrete (physical, chemical) is needed.

The editors of Cybernetics and Human Knowing have made a call for commentaries to be published in future volumes of this journal. If you are interested in contributing to this debate, please have a look at the editorial introduction of the current issue for details.


2 Responses

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. Marieke said, on December 27, 2010 at 6:49 pm

    Very well done, looking forward to reading it…

  2. Sushil said, on January 1, 2011 at 3:27 pm

    I hope most of us are familiar with all the terminologies you included. Rather I am concerned with “Ultrastability”. Is that ‘similar’ to what “Ultra-” means and combining it with stability? (I don’t think though).

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: