Autonomy in anticipatory systems: Significance for functionality, intentionality and meaning

Abstract Many anticipatory systems cannot in themselves act meaningfully or represent intentionally. This stems largely from the derivative nature of their functionality. All current artificial control systems, and many living systems such as organs and cellular parts of organisms derive any intentionality they might have from their designers or possessors. Derivative functionality requires reference to some external autonomously functional system, and derivative intentionality similarly requires reference to an external autonomous intentional system. The importance of autonomy can be summed up in the following slogan: No meaning without intention; no intention without function; no function without autonomy. This paper develops the role of autonomy to show how learning new tasks is facilitated by autonomy, and further by representational capacities that are functional for autonomy.
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