Publication 7589

Porr B. & Wörgötter F. (2003) Autonomy, self-reference and contingency in computational neuroscience. In: Grant C. B. (ed.) Rethinking communicative interaction: New interdisciplinary horizons. John Benjamins, Amsterdam: 145–162. Fulltext at
Excerpt: The theory of social systems has become a powerful tool for the understanding of social interaction and communication (Luhmann 1995). It explains how and why social subsystems emerge, how communication can be interpreted and even how we can generalize the communication medium. The underlying paradigm, the general systems theory of self-referential systems, has its origin in a variety of ªelds such as biology, cybernetics and philosophy (Rogers 1994). One of the most important principles of systems theory is self-reference (von Foerster 1985). In systems theory, the concept of self-reference refers to the re-production of elements out of elements. This implies that elements must be self-compatible to themselves so that the elements can reproduce themselves. The advantage of this self-compatibility is that the quality of the elements (temperature, neuronal activity or behaviour) can be omitted. Thus, the relations between the elements do not need to be converted from one quality to another: neuronal activity triggers neuronal activity and behaviour triggers behaviour.

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