New book chapter on Autopoiesis (in Spanish): Bich, L. and Moreno, A. Autonomía biológica y las raíces de la cognición. El rol de la regulación en la emergencia de un mundo endógenamente generado.

Bich, L. and Moreno, A. (2013). Autonomía biológica y las raíces de la cognición. El rol de la regulación en la emergencia de un mundo endógenamente generado. In P. Razeto and R. Ramos (eds.), Autopoiesis. Un Concepto Vivo, Santiago de Chile: Editorial Universitas Nueva Civilización, 75-95.

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English Abstract:

This paper addresses the issue of the biological foundations of agency and cognition. It does so from the point of view of the theoretical framework of autonomy, of which the theory of autopoiesis constitutes one of the paradigmatic examples. The starting point of this analysis consists in the thesis according to which agency and cognition are rooted in the very basic organization of living systems and, specifically, in those adaptive mechanisms that are at the basis of the capability of organisms of viably interacting with the environment. According to the framework developed here, it is these mechanisms that enable the endogenous generation of meaning for these very interactions in such a way that it becomes possible to express at the operational level, and therefore naturalize, notions such as meaning, world, significance etc. In conclusion, it will be argued that the crucial transition between the environment as an indistinct source of noise and a meaningful world brought forth by the system, takes place when interactions are not driven by dynamical stability only, but full-fledged mechanisms of adaptive regulation are at work.


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  • "To say that a system is complex […] is to say that we can describe the same system in a variety of distinct ways […]. Therefore a system is simple to the extent that a single description suffices to account for our interaction with the system; it is complex to the extent that it fails to be true." (Robert Rosen, 1978)
  • “Complexity is not an intrinsic property of a system nor of a system description. Rather, it arises from the number of ways in which we are able to interact with the system. Thus, complexity is a function not only of the system’s interactive capabilities, but of our own”
    (Robert Rosen, 1985)

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