Philosophers Index Abstract
- Self-organization produces larger scale order through the promotion of fluctuations via processes inherent in open system dynamics. It appears to require lifting oneself by one's bootstraps without even having boots to begin with.
- I consider the logic of individuation1 for natural systems and their properties, arguing for the unique utility of a dynamically based unity relation.
- I finish with an analysis of the requirements for self-organization, and discuss how these requirements entail that self-organizing systems are both self-producing and self-maintaining in a clear and important sense: the very process of self-organization implies individuation2 of the entity formed.
- Self-organisation is a process by which larger scale order is formed in a system through the promotion of fluctuations at a smaller scale via processes inherent in the system dynamics, modulated by interactions between the system and its surroundings. The self3 in self-organisation presents certain problems:
- What is the self4 that organises?
- Why is it a self5?
- What is it for a process to be inherent to the system dynamics?
- What does it mean for interactions with the surroundings to modulate rather than determine or control?
- Self-organisation appears to require a sort of lifting oneself by the bootstraps without having even boots at the beginning. Self-organisation thus appears to be an oxymoron, or at least a misnomer.
- I address this problem by considering the logic of individuation6 for natural systems and their properties, arguing for the unique utility of a dynamically based unity relation.
- This is followed by a discussion of the exemplary Bénard cell convection, and some other cases that diverge in important respects.
- I finish with an analysis of the requirements for self-organisation, and discuss how these requirements entail that self-organising systems are both self-producing and self-maintaining in a clear and important sense: the very process of self-organisation implies individuation7 of the entity formed.
- I conclude with some remarks on how more developed multilayered self-organising and self-interacting systems can lead towards autonomy and a fuller sense of self-control, near to, but not precisely what Maturana and Varela call autopoiesis.
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- Blue: Text by me; © Theo Todman, 2020
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