Publication 5237

Vernon D. & Furlong D. (1993) Relativistic ontologies, self-organization, autopoiesis, and artificial life: A progression in the science of the autonomous. Part II – A scientific development. In: McMullin B. (ed.) Proceedings of the workshop “Autopoiesis and Perception”. DCU, Dublin: 41–64. Fulltext at
In a sister paper, we have looked at the philosophical aspects of the development of autonomous systems, touching upon the inadequacies of conventional (positivistic) ontologies and philosophies of science, and we have described an alternative relativistic ontology. We argued that self-organization is a necessary condition for autonomous systems and we highlighted the difficulties that this raises for conventional representational approaches to autonomous systems. We discussed a methodology for discourse in relativistic ontology (Systematics) and, based on this, we argued in favour of a spectrum of autonomy. In this paper, we try to show how autopoiesis can be interpreted as a particular instance of autonomy in this spectrum. We now proceed to describe the progress which has been made towards the development of a computational simulation of autopoietic organization, beginning with a formulation in terms of the Calculus of Indications (incorporating Varela’s extensions to include autonomous forms), and incorporating the Systematic formulation.


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