Jon Umerez currently works at the Departamento de Lógica y Filosofía de la Ciencia, Universidad del País Vasco / Euskal Herriko Unibertsitatea. Research interests Philosophy of Biology Philosophy and History of Science Complex systems and Artificial Life Biology and Society Public understanding of science Secondary Systems Science and Cybernetics Bioethics
This paper aims to offer an overview of the meaning of autonomy for biological individuals and artificial models rooted in a specific perspective that pays attention to the historical and structural aspects of its origins and evolution. Taking autopoiesis and the recursivity characteristic of its circular logic as a starting point, we depart from some of its consequences to claim that the theory of autonomy should also take into account historical and structural features. Autonomy should not be considered only in internal or constitutive terms, the largely neglected interactive aspects stemming from it should be equally addressed. Artificial models contribute to get a better understanding of the role of autonomy for life and the varieties of its organization and phenomenological diversity.
In this paper we propose a philosophical distinction between biological and cognitive domains based on two conditions that are postulated to obtain a useful characterization of cognition: biological grounding and explanatory sufficiency. According to this, we argue that the origin of cognition in natural systems (cognition as we know it) is the result of the appearance of an autonomous system embedded into another more generic one: the whole organism. This basic idea is complemented by another one: the formation and development of this system, in the course of evolution, cannot be understood but as the outcome of a continuous process of interaction between organisms and environment, between different organisms, and, specially, between the very cognitive organisms. Finally, we address the problem of the generalization of a theory of cognition (cognition as it could be) and conclude that this work would imply a grounding work on the problem of the origins developed in the frame of a confluence between both Artificial Life and an embodied Artificial Intelligence.
Umerez J. (1995) Semantic closure: A guiding notion to ground artificial life. In: Moran F., Moreno A., Merelo J. J. & Chaco P. (eds.) Advances in artificial life. Springer, Berlin: 77–94. https://cepa.info/3850
The lack within AL of an agreed-upon notion of life and of a set of criteria for identifying life is considered. I propound a reflection upon the codified nature of the organization of living beings. The necessity of a guiding notion based on the coding is defended. After sketching some properties of the genetic code I proceed to consider the issue of functionalism as strategy for AL. Several distinctions ranging from plain multiple realizability to total implementation independence are made, arguing that the different claims should not be confused. The consideration of the semantic and intrinsically meaningful nature of the code leads to discuss the “symbol grounding” in AL. I suggest the principle of Semantic Closure as a candidate for confronting both problems inasmuch as it can be considered an accurate guiding notion to semantically ground Artificial Life.
Umerez J. & Mossio M. (2013) Constraint. In: Dubitzky W. (ed.) Encyclopedia of systems biology. Springer, New York: 490–493. https://cepa.info/5758