Publication 325

Egbert M. D. & Di Paolo E. A. (2009) Integrating autopoiesis and behavior: An exploration in computational chemo-ethology. Adaptive Behavior 17(5): 387–401. Fulltext at
It has been argued that the difference between an autonomous entity and an agent is in the ability of the latter to perform behaviors supplemental to processes of self-maintenance (autopoiesis). Theories have been proposed concerning how such behaviors might relate to autopoiesis, but so far, computational models of autopoiesis have paid little attention to these relations. In this article we present a new model designed to explore the relationship between mechanisms of autopoiesis and behavior. We report on three clarifications of the theory provided by the model: (a) mechanisms of behavior can be related to mechanisms of autopoiesis while remaining operationally distinct, (b) the organization of an operationally closed system can change over time while remaining operationally closed, and (c) behavior modulation based upon autopoietic efficacy has limitations that can be avoided through the use of a partially decoupled behavioral system. Finally, we discuss questions that have surfaced during examination of the model.


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