Publication 4260

Van de Vijver G., Van Bunder D., Knockaert V., Bazan A. & Geerardyn F. (2002) The role of closure in a dynamic structuralist viewpoint of psychic systems. Evolution and Cognition 8(2): 262–271. Fulltext at https://cepa.info/4260
In this paper, the emergence of psychic structures is conceived of within a dynamic structuralist framework, which is developed in dialogue with the biological viewpoint on the emergence and the maintenance of living structures (Collier/Hooker 1999; Salthe 1985; Van de Vijver/Salthe/Delpos 1998). More in particular, it is suggested (i) to consider organizational closure as a minimal condition to be fulfilled in order for dynamic systems to be stable, self-maintaining and self-producing, (ii) to conceive of living systems in terms of intricate organizational closures that set the stage for meaningful interactions (Kauffman 1993; Maturana/Varela 1980; Pattee 1995; Rosen 1985, 1991; Varela 1979) and (iii) to situate the psychological realm in continuity with this viewpoint. In analogy with the organizational closure of living systems, the mechanism of psychic closure is presented as the key mechanism for the constitution of psychic structures, and is interpreted in terms of identification: an identificatory judgment is a self-referential, closing judgment that involves a reinterpretation of the level below (the organic body) and is addressed to the level above (the fellow human being). The way in which identification has worked determines the kinds of psychic structures that are formed, it leads to different kinds of signifying practices, as well as to different ways of taking into account the underlying biological and material processes.

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