Publication 4515

Bickhard M. H. (2000) Autonomy, function, and representation. Communication and Cognition-Artificial Intelligence 17(3–4): 111–131.
Autonomy is modeled in terms of the property of certain far-from-equilibrium open systems to contribute toward maintaining themselves in their far-from-equilibrium conditions. Such contributions in self-maintenant systems, in turn, constitute the emergence of normative function. The intrinsic thermodynamic asymmetry between equilibrium and far-from-equilibrium processes yields the intrinsic normative asymmetry between function and dysfunction. Standard etiological models of function render function as causally epiphenomenal, while this model is of the emergence of causally efficacious function. Recursive self-maintenance – the meta-property of maintaining the property of being self-maintenant across variations in environment – yields the emergence of representation. This model of representation satisfies multiple criteria that standard approaches – such as symbolic or connectionist, or those of Fodor, Dretske, or Millikan – cannot.
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