Publication 1275

Rocha L. M. (1996) Eigenbehavior and symbols. Systems Research 13(3): 371-384. Fulltext at https://cepa.info/1275
In this paper I sketch a rough taxonomy of self-organization which may be of relevance in the study of cognitive and biological systems. I frame the problem both in terms of the language Heinz von Foerster used to formulate much of second-order cybernetics as well as the language of current theories of self-organization and complexity. In particular, I defend the position that, on the one hand, self- organization alone is not rich enough for our intended simulations, and on the other, that genetic selection in biology and symbolic representation in cognitive science alone leave out the very important (self-organizing) characteristics of particular embodiments of evolving and learning systems. I propose the acceptance of the full concept of symbol with its syntactic, semantic, and pragmatic dimensions. I argue that the syntax should be treated operationally in second-order cybernetics.

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