Historical aspects of the issue are also broached. Intuitions relative to self-organization can be found in the works of such key Western philosophical figures as Aristotle, Leibniz and Kant. Interacting with more recent authors and cybernetics, self-organization represents a notion in keeping with the modern world’s discovery of radical complexity. The themes of teleology and emergence are analyzed by philosophers of sciences with regards to the issues of modelization and scientific explanation. (publisher, edited).
In this paper we aim to show that phenomenal consciousness is realized by a particular level of brain operational organization and that understanding human consciousness requires a description of the laws of the immediately underlying neural collective phenomena, the nested hierarchy of electromagnetic fields of brain activity – operational architectonics. We argue that the subjective mental reality and the objective neurobiological reality, although seemingly worlds apart, are intimately connected along a unified metastable continuum and are both guided by the universal (...) laws of the physical world such as criticality, self-organization and emergence. (shrink)
Knowing only what is empirically knowable can't by itself entail knowledge of what consciousness "is like." But if dualism is to be avoided, the question arises: how can a process be completely empirically unobservable when all of its components are completely observable? The recently emerging theory of self-organization offers resources with which to resolve this problem: Consciousness can be an empirically unobservable process because the emotions motivating attention are experienced only from the perspective of the one whose phenomenal states (...) are executed by the self-organizing processes which themselves constitute the consciousness. I argue that a self-organizing process can differ from the sum of its (empirically observable) substrata because, rather than just being realized by them, it actively rearranges the background conditions under which alternative component causal sequences can realize the self-organizing pattern into the future. (shrink)
Over the past decades, self-assembly has attracted a lot of research attention and transformed the relations between chemistry, materials science and biology. The paper explores the impact of the current interest in self-assembly techniques on the traditional debate over the nature of life. The first section describes three different research programs of self-assembly in nanotechnology in order to characterize their metaphysical implications: (1) Hybridization (using the building blocks of living systems for making devices and machines) ; (2) Biomimetics (making artifacts (...) mimicking nature); (3) Integration (a composite of the two previous strategies). The second section focused on the elusive boundary between self-assembly and self-organization tries to map out the various positions adopted by the promoters of self-assembly on the issue of vitalism. (shrink)
Possibly the most fundamental scientific problem is the origin of time and causality. The inherent difficulty is that all scientific theories of origins and evolution consider the existence of time and causality as given. We tackle this problem by starting from the concept of self-organization, which is seen as the spontaneous emergence of order out of primordial chaos. Self-organization can be explained by the selective retention of invariant or consistent variations, implying a breaking of the initial symmetry exhibited (...) by randomness. In the case of time, we start from a random graph connecting primitive “events”. Selection on the basis of consistency eliminates cyclic parts of the graph, so that transitive closure can transform it into a partial order relation of precedence. Causality is assumed to be carried by causal “agents” which undergo a more traditional variation and selection, giving rise to causal laws that are partly contingent, partly necessary. (shrink)
'Self organization' is a popular theme in current studies of human social activity, enterprises, and information technology (IT). This document introduces one well developed theory of self organization (autopoietic theory) and discusses its application to enterprises and their management.
Recent work on self organization promises an explanation of complex order which is independent of adaptation. Self-organizing systems are complex systems of simple units, projecting order as a consequence of localized and generally nonlinear interactions between these units. Stuart Kauffman offers one variation on the theme of self-organization, offering what he calls a ``statistical mechanics'' for complex systems. This paper explores the explanatory strategies deployed in this ``statistical mechanics,'' initially focusing on the autonomy of statistical explanation as it applies (...) in evolutionary settings and then turning to Kauffman's analysis. Two primary morals emerge as a consequence of this examination: first, the view that adaptation and self-organization should be seen as competing theories or models is misleading and simplistic; and second, while we need a synthesis treating self-organization and adaptation as geared toward different problems, at different levels of organization, and deploying different methods, we do not yet have such a synthesis. (shrink)
The Darwinian concept of natural selection was conceived within a set of Newtonian background assumptions about systems dynamics. Mendelian genetics at first did not sit well with the gradualist assumptions of the Darwinian theory. Eventually, however, Mendelism and Darwinism were fused by reformulating natural selection in statistical terms. This reflected a shift to a more probabilistic set of background assumptions based upon Boltzmannian systems dynamics. Recent developments in molecular genetics and paleontology have put pressure on Darwinism once again. Current work (...) on self-organizing systems may provide a stimulus not only for increased problem solving within the Darwinian tradition, especially with respect to origins of life, developmental genetics, phylogenetic pattern, and energy-flow ecology, but for deeper understanding of the very phenomenon of natural selection itself. Since self-organizational phenomena depend deeply on stochastic processes, self-organizational systems dynamics advance the probability revolution. In our view, natural selection is an emergent phenomenon of physical and chemical selection. These developments suggest that natural selection may be grounded in physical law more deeply than is allowed by advocates of the autonomy of biology, while still making it possible to deny, with autonomists, that evolutionary explanations can be modeled in terms of a deductive relationship between laws and cases. We explore the relationship between, chance, self-organization, and selection as sources of order in biological systems in order to make these points. (shrink)
Here we discuss the challenge posed by self-organization to the Darwinian conception of evolution. As we point out, natural selection can only be the major creative agency in evolution if all or most of the adaptive complexity manifest in living organisms is built up over many generations by the cumulative selection of naturally occurring small, random mutations or variants, i.e., additive, incremental steps over an extended period of time. Biological self-organization—witnessed classically in the folding of a protein, or (...) in the formation of the cell membrane—is a fundamentally different means of generating complexity. We agree that self-organizing systems may be fine-tuned by selection and that self-organization may be therefore considered a complementary mechanism to natural selection as a causal agency in the evolution of life. But we argue that if self-organization proves to be a common mechanism for the generation of adaptive order from the molecular to the organismic level, then this will greatly undermine the Darwinian claim that natural selection is the major creative agency in evolution. We also point out that although complex self-organizing systems are easy to create in the electronic realm of cellular automata, to date translating in silico simulations into real material structures that self-organize into complex forms from local interactions between their constituents has not proved easy. This suggests that self-organizing systems analogous to those utilized by biological systems are at least rare and may indeed represent, as pre-Darwinists believed, a unique ascending hierarchy of natural forms. Such a unique adaptive hierarchy would pose another major challenge to the current Darwinian view of evolution, as it would mean the basic forms of life are necessary features of the order of nature and that the major pathways of evolution are determined by physical law, or more specifically by the self-organizing properties of biomatter, rather than natural selection. (shrink)
The intuitive difference between a system that choreographs the motion of its parts in the service of goals of its own formulation and a system composed of a collection of parts doing their own thing without coordination has been shaken by now familiar examples of self-organization. There is a broad and growing presumption in parts of philosophy and across the sciences that the appearance of centralized information-processing and control in the service of system-wide goals is mere appearance, i.e., an (...) explanatory heuristic we have evolved to predict behavior, but one that will eventually get swept away in the advancing tide of self-organization. I argue that there is a distinction of central importance here, and that no adequate science of complex systems can dispense with it. (shrink)
Three arguments are given to show that neural constructivism lacks an essential ingredient to explain cognitive development. Based on results in the theory of adaptive signal analysis, adaptive biological pattern information and self-organization in nonlinear systems of information processing, it is concluded that neural constructivism should be further extended to accommodate the occurrence of phase transitions generating qualitative development in the sense of Piaget.
Recent neurophysiological observations are giving rise to the expectation that in the near future genuine biological experiments may contribute more than will premature speculations to the understanding of global and cognitive functions. The classical reflex principle — as the basis of neural functions — has to yield to new ideas, like autopoiesis and/or self-organization, as the basic paradigm in the framework of which the essence of the neural can be better understood. Neural activity starts in the very earliest stages (...) of development well before receptors and afferent input become functional. Under suitable conditions, both in nervous tissue cultures and in embryonic tissue recombination experiments, the conditions of such initial autopoietic activity can be studied. This paper tries to generalize this elementary concept for various neural centers, notably for the spinal segmental apparatus and the cerebral cortex. (shrink)
In these notes I want to address some issues concerning self-organization that seem to me to apply generally from the micro-physical through the biological and social to the cosmological. That is, they are a part of the general theory of self-organization. I prefer to distinguish the theory of selforganization from the analysis of the concept of self-organization (which Maturana claims is oxymoronic, since there is no self that organizes1). General usage gives us something to which the term (...) 'self-organization' refers. We can set aside the question of whether or not selves can really do such a thing until we know what it is they are supposed to do.2 This approach also allows the possibility that self-organization does not pick out a single natural kind, but may refer to a range of things that are grouped together by a Wittgenstein style “family resemblance”. (shrink)
Abstract Microtubules, major elements of the cell skeleton are, most of the time, well organized in vivo, but they can also show self-organizing behaviors in time and/or space in purified solutions in vitro. Theoretical studies and models based on the concepts of collective dynamics in complex systems, reaction–diffusion processes and emergent phenomena were proposed to explain some of these behaviors. In the particular case of microtubule spatial self-organization, it has been advanced that microtubules could behave like ants, self-organizing by (...) ‘talking to each other’ by way of hypothetic (because never observed) concentrated chemical trails of tubulin that are expected to be released by their disassembling ends. Deterministic models based on this idea yielded indeed like-looking spatio-temporal self-organizing behaviors. Nevertheless the question remains of whether microscopic tubulin trails produced by individual or bundles of several microtubules are intense enough to allow microtubule self-organization at a macroscopic level. In the present work, by simulating the diffusion of tubulin in microtubule solutions at the microscopic scale, we measure the shape and intensity of tubulin trails and discuss about the assumption of microtubule self-organization due to the production of chemical trails by disassembling microtubules. We show that the tubulin trails produced by individual microtubules or small microtubule arrays are very weak and not elongated even at very high reactive rates. Although the variations of concentration due to such trails are not significant compared to natural fluctuations of the concentration of tubuline in the chemical environment, the study shows that heterogeneities of biochemical composition can form due to microtubule disassembly. They could become significant when produced by numerous microtubule ends located in the same place. Their possible formation could play a role in certain conditions of reaction. In particular, it gives a mesoscopic basis to explain the collective dynamics observed in excitable microtubule solutions showing the propagation of concentration waves of microtubules at the millimeter scale, although we doubt that individual microtubules or bundles can behave like molecular ants. Content Type Journal Article Category Regular Article Pages 1-28 DOI 10.1007/s10441-012-9149-1 Authors Nicolas Glade, AGIM Laboratory, Laboratory of AGeing Imaging and Modeling, University of Grenoble, CNRS FRE 3405, Domaine de la Merci, 38700 La Tronche, France Journal Acta Biotheoretica Online ISSN 1572-8358 Print ISSN 0001-5342. (shrink)
There are many reasons for questioning the relevance of the concepts of self-organization (SO) and emergence. By studying three types of SO, respectively related to ontogeny, phylogeny and formalized models, we show that we always have to suppose an associated hetero-organization and preconceived immergence, unconsciously present in the authors mind. In order to understand how these unusual couples are working, they must be considered as agonistic antagonistic couples. Heteroorganization and immergence put constraints on the system so that SO and (...) emergence will produce new patterns and forms, depending on these constraints. Besides, such couples (SO and heteroorganization, emergence and immergence) seem to belong to a series of couples of the same type, allowing us to define a kind of model of life.The concept of self-organization has been presented as the main concept defining systemics, and second order cybernetics. This concept has been accepted also in general Biological Theory (BT) where authors endowed the key to many phenomena until then poorly understood. (shrink)
Bering makes a good case for turning attention to an organized system that provides the self with transcendental meaning. In focusing on the evolutionary basis of this system, however, he overlooks the self-organizing properties of cognitive systems themselves. We propose that the illusory system Bering describes can be more generally and parsimoniously viewed as an emergent by-product of self-organization, with no need for specialized “illusion by design.”.
Division of labor and its associated phenomena have been viewed as prime examples of group-level adaptations. However, the adaptations are the result of the process of evolution by natural selection and thus require that groups of insects once existed and competed for reproduction, some of which had a heritable division of labor while others did not. We present models, based on those of Kauffman (1984) that demonstrate how division of labor may occur spontaneously among groups of mutually tolerant individuals. We (...) propose that division of labor itself is not a product of natural selection but instead is a "typical" outcome of self organization. (shrink)
Locus equations offer promise for an understanding of at least some aspects of perceptual invariance in speech, but they were discovered almost fortuitously. With the present availability of powerful machine learning algorithms, ignorance-based automatic discovery procedures are starting to supplant knowledge-based scientific inquiry. Principles of self-learning and self-organization are powerful tools for speech research but remain somewhat under-utilized.
Somewhat surprisingly, evolutionary economists are far from agreeing upon the economic concept of evolution. The debate revolves around the question whether the mechanisms of variation, selection and retention are general principles of evolutionary processes, also valid in economics, or if economic evolution can be described by self-organization. The paper argues that self-organization is a useful concept, but has not yet fulfilled the aspiration to describe economic evolution as an endogenous process. In self-organization models important aspects, like novelty (...) generation or the attribution of its economic quality, are introduced exogenously. In verbal descriptions however, even critics of general evolutionary principles sketch these processes in a way that is perfectly compatible with the universal principles. The paper thus argues that the controversy is mainly based on a misinterpretation of Universal Darwinism and tries to clarify the concept. It concludes that variation, selection and retention are in fact general evolutionary principles; as self-organization maybe is. (shrink)
Context: Using radical constructivism, society can be considered from the perspective of asking the question, “Who conceives of society?” In Luhmann’s social systems theory, this question itself is considered as a construct of the communication among reflexive agents. Problem: Structuration of expectations by codes operating in interhuman communications positions both communicators and communications in a multi-dimensional space in which their relations can be provided with meaning at the supra-individual level. The codes can be functionally different and symbolically generalized. Method: More (...) than Luhmann, I focus on the hypothetical status of the communication of meaning and the uncertainty involved. Meaning can be communicated because of reflexivity in interhuman communications; meaning cannot be observed. Results: The communication (and reflexive translation) of denotations between semantic domains can generate “horizons of meaning” as reflexive orders that remain structurally coupled to individual minds. This elusive order contains a trade-off between “organization” at interfaces integrating (differently coded) expectations at each moment of time, and the potential of further differentiation among symbolically generalized codes of communication in a “self-organization” over time. Implications: One can model the coding in the communication of meaning as latent variables (eigenvectors) that evolve as an implication of the interacting intentions and expectations. The structure of expectations can be visualized (at each moment) and animated (over time) using semantic maps. The self-organizing horizons of meaning operate in a multidimensional space different from the network topology, and at another pace, since meaning is provided to events from the perspective of hindsight. Constructivist content: This perspective of the radical constructedness of social reality transforms the status of agency and organization in sociological theorizing from a source of change to a resource of communicative competencies and reflexive performativity. (shrink)
Foremost among the tasks facing a semiotically-informed modeling of natural open systems is the recognition and representation of self-organization. This forces attention on process, time, and energetics to complement the conventional semiotic bias toward structure, space, and informatics. While self -organization might be captured in numerous operational idioms, we suggest that the fundamentally distinctive formal structures of (a) development (intrinsic predictability) and (b) evolution (unexpected change through change in contextual meaning) constitute thewarp and woof of virtually all observations on (...) systems undergoing change, and that, since these represent complementary orientations toward phenomena generally, interaction of these styles of change within systems can lead to generic models of enormous utility in many fields. (shrink)
An attempt to critically analyse the claims of the theory of self-organization of complex systems (synergetics) to the interdisciplinary generalizations and the universal efficacy of its models is made in the paper. The grounds for transfer of synergetic models to different disciplinary fields are under discussion. It is argued that synergetics is a mental scheme or a heuristic approach to exploring the complex behaviour of systems, rather than a universal key to solving concrete scientific problems. The prospects for development (...) and the possible future of synergetics in the coming decades are estimated. Copyright 2002 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. (shrink)
The improbability of a spontaneously generated self-assembling molecule has suggested that life began with a set of simpler, collectively replicating elements, such as an enclosed autocatalytic set of polymers (or autocell). Since replication occurs without a self-assembly code, acquired characteristics are inherited. Moreover, there is no strict distinction between alive and dead; one can only infer that an autocell was alive if it replicates. These features of early life render natural selection inapplicable to the description of its change-of-state because they (...) defy its underlying assumptions. Moreover, natural selection describes only randomly generated novelty; it cannot describe the emergence of form at the interface between organism and environment. Self-organization is also inadequate because it is restricted to interactions amongst parts; it too cannot account for context-driven change. A modified version of selection theory or self-organization would not work because the description of change-of-state through interaction with an incompletely specified context has a completely different mathematical structure, i.e. entails a non-Kolmogorovian probability model. It is proposed that the evolution of early life is appropriately described as lineage transformation through context-driven actualization of potential, with self-organized change-of-state being a special case of no contextual influence, and competitive exclusion of less fit individuals through a selection-like process possibly (but not necessarily) playing a secondary role. It is argued that natural selection played an important role in evolution only after genetically mediated replication was established. (shrink)
Four articles in this issue of topiCS (volume 4, issue 1) argue against a computational approach in cognitive science in favor of a dynamical approach. I concur that the computational approach faces some considerable explanatory challenges. Yet the dynamicists’ proposal that cognition is self-organized seems to only go so far in addressing these challenges. Take, for instance, the hypothesis that cognitive behavior emerges when brain and body (re-)configure to satisfy task and environmental constraints. It is known that for certain systems (...) of constraints, no procedure can exist (whether modular, local, centralized, or self-organized) that reliably finds the right configuration in a realistic amount of time. Hence, the dynamical approach still faces the challenge of explaining how self-organized constraint satisfaction can be achieved by human brains and bodies in real time. In this commentary, I propose a methodology that dynamicists can use to try to address this challenge. (shrink)
Self organization, or “order for free”, is an important (and expanding) area of inquiry. Self-organized structures occur in many contexts, including biology. While these structures may be intricate and impressive, there are some limitations on the kinds of structure than can self-organize, given the dynamical laws. (William Paley pointed out, for example, that a watch cannot be produced by “the laws of metallic nature”.) In this paper I will demonstrate that certain fundamental symmetries in the laws of physics constrain self (...) organization in an interesting way. Roughly speaking, structures that are both large and non-self-similar cannot self organize in any dynamical system. (shrink)
Some biochemical systems require multiple, well-matched parts in order to function, and the removal of any of the parts eliminates the function. I have previously labeled such systems "irreducibly complex," and argued that they are stumbling blocks for Darwinian theory. Instead I proposed that they are best explained as the result of deliberate intelligent design. In a recent article Shanks and Joplin analyze and find wanting the use of irreducible complexity as a marker for intelligent design. Their primary counterexample is (...) the Belousov-Zhabotinsky reaction, a self-organizing system in which competing reaction pathways result in a chemical oscillator. In place of irreducible complexity they offer the idea of "redundant complexity," meaning that biochemical pathways overlap so that a loss of one or even several components can be accommodated without complete loss of function. Here I note that complexity is a quantitative property, so that conclusions we draw will be affected by how well-matched the components of a system are. I also show that not all biochemical systems are redundant. The origin of non-redundant systems requires a different explanation than redundant ones. (shrink)
Scholars have suggested that the tendency for an individual to perceive him- or herself as more ethical than others might influence the individual''s perceptions of his or her organization''s ethics. The purpose of this study is to consider if and/or when such a relationship exists. A thorough consideration of the nature of perceptions of relative ethicality suggests that a positive self-bias would negatively influence perceptions of organizational ethicality. The results of an empirical study involving working managers and employees of a (...) hospital support that argument. Furthermore, the results indicate that organizational identification, perceived organizational cohesion, and an individual''s insulation also influence individual perceptions of relative organizational ethicality. The findings illuminate this particular phenomenon and further our understanding of the relationship between the individual and the organization, more generally. (shrink)
The understanding of emergent, self-organizing phenomena has been immensely deepened in recent years on the basis of simulation-based theoretical research. We discuss these new ideas, and illustrate them using examples from several fields. Our discussion serves to introduce equivalent self-organized phenomena in social interaction. Interaction systems appear to be structured partly by virtue of such emergents. These appear under specific conditions: When cognitive buffering is inadequate relative to the levels of stress persons are subjected to, anxiety-spreading has the potential of (...) pushing their interaction into nonlinear conditions. Arousal in these conditions produces effects on behavior arising from biological sources-indeed, behavior can come under the control of reflex patterns. When this occurs, psychological activity no longer screens off biological controls over behavior. As the direct effects of biological activity spill into interaction, attachment behavior introduced into an interaction system can produce effects that are transmitted beyond dyads to produce global social patterns. These effects illustrate how strong interactions based in biological activity can produce an architecture for social systems. (shrink)
A hypothesis of genome structural evolution is explored. Rapid and cohesive alterations in genome organization are viewed as resulting from the dynamic and constrained interactions of chromosomal subsystem components. A combination of macromolecular boundary conditions and DNA element involvement in far-from-equilibrium reactions is proposed to increase the complexity of genomic subsystems via the channelling of genome turnover; interactions between subsystems create higher-order subsystems expanding the phase space for further genetic evolution. The operation of generic constraints on structuration in genome evolution (...) is suggested by i) universal, homoplasic features of chromosome organization and ii) the metastable nature of genome structures where lower-level flux is constrained by higher-order structures. Phenomena such as genomic shock, bursts of transposable element activity, concerted evolution, etc., are hypothesized to result from constrained systemic responses to endogenous/exogenous, micro/macro perturbations. The constraints operating on genome turnover are expected to increase with chromosomal structural complexity, the number of interacting subsystems, and the degree to which interactions between genomic components are tightly ordered. (shrink)
The target article is based upon the principle that complex mental phenomena result from the interactions among some elementary entities. Connectionist nodes and ACT-R's production rules can be considered as such entities. However, before testing against Newell's macro-criteria, self-organizing models must be tested against criteria relating to the properties of their elementary entities. When such micro-criteria are considered, they separate connectionism from ACT-R and the comparison of these theories against Newell's Tests is hardly correct.
A nonlinear two-variable reaction-diffusion model of bone mineral metabolism, built from an overall self-oscillatory compartmental model of calcium metabolism in vivo, has been studied for its ability to generate spatial and spatio-temporal self-organizations in a two-dimensional space. Analytical and numerical results confirm the theoretical properties previously described for this kind of model. In particular, it is shown that, for a given set of reactional parameter values and certain values of the ratio of the two diffusion coefficients, there exists a set (...) of unstable wavenumbers leading spontaneously to the development, from the homogeneous steady state, of either different types of stationary spatial patterns (hexagonal, striped and re-entrant hexagonal patterns) or more or less complex spatio-temporal expressions. We discuss the relevance of analogies established between some spatial or spatio-temporal structures predicted by the model and some peculiar features of the primary bone trabecular architecture which appear during embryonic ossification. (shrink)
This paper proposes an initial epistemological course related to the notions of life, cognition, and culture from the fundamental elements of the complexity theory and, specifically, related to the notion of self-eco-organization. With these, we pretend to search isomorphic or transverse properties to all these notions; emphasizing the ideas of complexity, autonomy and dependence. El presente trabajo propone un derrotero epistemológico preliminar en torno a las nociones de vida, cognición y cultura, desde la base de algunos elementos de la teoría (...) de la complejidad y en específico, en torno a la noción de auto-eco-organización. Con ellos, se pretende la búsqueda de isomorfismos o propiedades transversales a todas estas nociones, centrándose en la ideas de complejidad, autonomía y dependencia. (shrink)
For Merleau-Ponty,consciousness in skillful coping is a matter of prereflective ‘I can’ and not explicit ‘I think that.’ The body unifies many domain-specific capacities. There exists a direct link between the perceived possibilities for action in the situation (‘affordances’) and the organism’s capacities. From Merleau-Ponty’s descriptions it is clear that in a flow of skillful actions, the leading ‘I can’ may change from moment to moment without explicit deliberation. How these transitions occur, however, is less clear. Given that Merleau-Ponty suggested (...) that a better understanding of the self-organization of brain and behavior is important, I will re-read his descriptions of skillful coping in the light of recent ideas on neurodynamics. Affective processes play a crucial role in evaluating the motivational significance of objects and contribute to the individual’s prereflective responsiveness to relevant affordances. (shrink)
Today a change is imperative in approaching global problems: what is needed is not arm-twisting and power politics, but searching for ways of co-evolution in the complex social and geopolitical systems of the world. The modern theory of self-organization of complex systems provides us with an understanding of the possible forms of coexistence of heterogeneous social and geopolitical structures at different stages of development regarding the different paths of their sustainable co-evolutionary development. The theory argues that the evolutionary channel (...) to the observed increasing complexity is extremely narrow and only certain discrete spectra of relatively stable self-maintained structures are feasible in complex systems. There exists a restricted set of ways of assembling a complex evolutionary whole from diverse parts. The law of nonlinear synthesis of complex structures reads: the integration of structures in more complex ones occurs due to the establishment of a common tempo of their evolution. On the basis of the theory, we can see not only desirable but also attainable futures. (shrink)
The philosophical consequences of synergetics, the interdisciplinary theory of evolution and self-organization of complex systems, are being drawn in the paper. The idea of discreteness of evolutionary paths is in the focus of attention. Although the future is open, and there are many alternative evolutionary paths for complex systems, not any arbitrary (either conceivable or desirable) evolutionary path is feasible in a given system. There are discrete spectra of possible evolutionary paths which are determined exclusively by inner properties of (...) the corresponding systems. Synergetics allows us to reveal general laws of self-organization and, therefore, certain limits of arbitrariness of nature in choosing possible paths of evolution as well as in constructing of a complex evolutionary whole. A comparative analysis between the modern synergetic notions and a few ideas of the Western philosophy (F. Nietzsche, N. Hartmann, M. Heidegger) and of the Eastern teachings (Taoism, Buddhism) is made. (shrink)
It is suggested that Charles Sanders Peirce's triadic semiotics provides a framework for a diagrammatic representation of a sign's proper structure. The action of signs is described at the logical and psychological levels. The role of (unconscious) abductive inference is analyzed, and a diagram of reasoning is offered. A series of interpretants transform brute facts into interpretable signs thereby providing human experience with value or meaning. The triadic structure helps in de-mystifying the relations between Penrose's three worlds when the latter (...) are considered as constituting a semiotic triangle. (shrink)
Owing to intensive development of the theory of self-organization of complex systems called also synergetics, profound changes in our notions of time occur. Whereas at the beginning of the 20th century, natural sciences, by picking up the general spirit of Einstein's theory of relativity, consider a geometrization as an ideal, i.e. try to represent time and force interactions through space and the changes of its properties, nowadays, at the beginning of the 21st century, time turns to be in the (...) focus of attention. It turns to be possible to represent space through time, because synergetics shows that historical and evolutionary stages of development of a complex structure can be found now, in its present spatial configuration. A whole series of paradoxical notions, such as “the influence of the future upon the present”, a “possibility of touching of a rather remote future today”, “availability of the past and the future now, in praesenti”, “irreversibility and elements of reversibility in the course of evolutionary processes in time”, “discrete unites, quanta of time”, appear in synergetics. (shrink)
In order to develop further the methods of scenario building and to facilitate the paths towards desirable and sustainable futures, we cannot do without a nonlinear evolutionary thinking. The theory of self-organization of complex systems, called also synergetics, is a scientific basis for such a thinking, the main principles of which are under consideration in the paper. Synergetics provides us with the knowledge of constructive principles of coevolution of the complex social systems, coevolution of countries and geopolitical regions being (...) at different stages of development, integration of the East and the West, the North and the South. (shrink)
I propose a neuroscience and animat research-inspired model and a thought experiment to test the hypothesis of a developmental relation between fluid and crystallized intelligence. I propose that crystallized intelligence is the result of well-defined activities and structures, whereas fluid intelligence is the physiological catalytic adaptation mechanism responsible for coordinating and regulating the crystallized structures. We can design experiments to reproduce exemplified normal and anomalous phenomena, especially disorders, and study possible cognitive treatments. (Published Online April 5 2006).
The representation of knowledge in the law has basically followed a rule-based logical-symbolic paradigm. This paper aims to show how the modeling of legal knowledge can be re-examined using connectionist models, from the perspective of the theory of the dynamics of unstable systems and chaos. We begin by showing the nature of the paradigm shift from a rule-based approach to one based on dynamic structures and by discussing how this would translate into the field of theory of law. In order (...) to show the full potential of this new approach, we start from an experiment with NEUROLEX, in which a neural network was used to model a corpus of French Council of State decisions. We examine the implications of this experiment, especially those concerning the limits of the model used, and show that other connectionist models might correspond more adequately to the nature of legal knowledge. Finally, we propose another neural model which could show not only the rules which emerge from legal qualification (NEUROLEX's goal), but also the way in which a legal qualification process evolves from one concept to another. (shrink)
This article aims to clarify the notion of a psychiatric disability. The article uses conceptual analysis, examining and applying established definitions of (general) disability to psychiatric disabilities. This analysis reveals that disability as inability to perform according to expectations or norms is related to impairment as deviation from the (statistical) norm, while disability as inability to achieve (personal) goals is related to impairment as deviation from the (personal) ideal. These two views of impairment and disability are distinct from the (...) class='Hi'>self-organization view of impairment as disrupted self-creation or disrupted self-repair and of disability as disrupted whole person self-compensation (in relation to an impairment). All these three views of disability pertain to psychiatric disability. Although there is nothing necessarily psychiatric about psychiatric disability other than the psychiatric impairment related to it, the life course and life circumstances typical of many people with (severe) psychiatric disorders may lead to disability and may thus confer some (psychiatric) specificity on this disability. This analysis may facilitate research on specific psychiatric disabilities and a broader scope for psychiatric rehabilitation. (shrink)
The term “spontaneous self-organisation” (SSO for short) is used to describe the emergence of an object or structure “by itself” within a dynamical system. While usage of the term will no doubt vary somewhat, in this paper I will take it to have three key features: 1. The appearance of the object does not require a special, “fine-tuned” initial state. 2. There is no need for interaction with an external system. 3. The object is likely to appear in a reasonably (...) short time. The first two conditions say that the object arises from the dynamics of the system alone, without any help. The third condition says that, for an object s to appear by spontaneous self-organisation, its appearance should not just a matter of dumb luck (e.g. a monkey with a typewriter just happening to produce Hamlet), nor just from waiting long enough (e.g. a monkey typing for long enough that Hamlet was likely to appear), or any combination of the two. What is “reasonably short” in this context? The time needed for spontaneous self-organisation should be much shorter than the expected time required to assemble the object purely at random from its components. Note that, for very large and intricate systems, the random-assembly time will be unimaginably vast, so that the appearance of such objects in merely billions of years will count as spontaneous self-organisation. (shrink)
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 self in self-organisation presents certain problems: 1) What is the self that organises? 2) Why is it a self? 3) What is it for a process to be inherent to the system dynamics? 4) 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. (shrink)
This article addresses the physical chemical processes underlying biological self-organisation by which a homogenous solution of reacting chemicals spontaneously self-organises. Theoreticians have predicted that self-organisation can arise from a coupling of reactive processes with molecular diffusion. In addition, the presence of an external field, such as gravity, at a critical moment early in the process may determine the morphology that subsequently develops. The formation, in-vitro, of microtubules, a constituent of the cellular skeleton, shows this type of behaviour. The preparations spontaneously (...) self-organise by reaction-diffusion and the morphology that develops depends upon the presence of gravity at a critical bifurcation time early in the process. Here, we present numerical simulations of a population of microtubules that reproduce this behaviour. Microtubules can grow from one end whilst shrinking from the other. The shrinking end leaves behind a chemical trail of high tubulin concentration. Neighbouring microtubules preferentially grow into these regions, whilst avoiding regions of low tubulin concentration. The chemical trails produced by individual microtubules thus activate and inhibit the formation of neighbouring microtubules and this progressively leads to self-organisation. Gravity acts by way of its directional interaction with the macroscopic density fluctuations present in the solution arising from microtubule disassembly. (shrink)
Neuromodelling is one of the techniques of modern neurosciences. The “at a distance” type of triadic synapse is probably the prevailing form of impulse transmission in many parts of the brain. If the genetically controlled cell-to-cell neuronal interconnections are abandoned, self-organisation may be the mechanism of structure formation in the brain. This assumption weakens the position of the reflex arc as the basic functional unit of nervous activities.
Despite recognizing the importance of developing authentic corporate social responsibility (CSR) programs, noticeably absent from the literature is consideration for how employees distinguish between authentic and inauthentic CSR programs. This is somewhat surprising given that employees are essentially the face of their organization and are largely expected to act as ambassadors for the organization’s CSR program (Collier and Esteban in Bus Ethics 16:19–33, 2007 ). The current research, by conducting depth interviews with employees, builds a better understanding of how employees (...) differentiate between authentic and inauthentic CSR programs, and how these judgments influence their perceptions of the organization. We find that employees rely on two different referent standards to form authenticity judgments—the extent to which the image put forth in the CSR program aligns with the organization’s true identity and the extent to which the CSR program itself is developmental. To assess the former, employees draw on cues about resource commitment, alignment between elements of the organization’s CSR program, emotional engagement, justice, and embeddedness. The latter assessments are based on the extent to which the organization adopts a leadership role with regards to its CSR initiatives. We also find that perceived authenticity can lead to positive outcomes such as organizational identification and employee connections. This study contributes to the broad literatures on both CSR and authenticity, as well as more specifically adding to the conversation on authenticity as a potentially valuable lens for enriching business ethics theorizing. (shrink)
Chester Barnard's classic, The Functions of the Executive, is premised on an Aristotelean conception of human nature. This reliance ramifies throughout his analysis of the cooperative basis of human organizations. Perhaps its most important manifestation appears in his definition of willing cooperation as self-abnegation. For by so removing cooperation from its utilitarian and contractarian assumptions, he avoids the well known criticisms of those assumptions while retaining his fundamental liberalism. Put positively, self-abnegation informs Barnard's liberalism with an heroic dimension. This, in (...) turn, enables him to provide an account of organizational effectiveness which is at once realistic and optimistic and which values its unique human participants. (shrink)
Concepts of space and time are widely developed in physics. However, there is a considerable lack of biologically plausible theoretical frameworks that can demonstrate how space and time dimensions are implemented in the activity of the most complex life-system – the brain with a mind. Brain activity is organized both temporally and spatially, thus representing space-time in the brain. Critical analysis of recent research on the space-time organization of the brain’s activity pointed to the existence of so-called operational space-time in (...) the brain. This space-time is limited to the execution of brain operations of differing complexity. During each such brain operation a particular short-term spatio-temporal pattern of integrated activity of different brain areas emerges within related operational space-time. At the same time, to have a fully functional human brain one needs to have a subjective mental experience. Current research on the subjective mental experience offers detailed analysis of space-time organization of the mind. According to this research, subjective mental experience (subjective virtual world) has definitive spatial and temporal properties similar to many physical phenomena. Based on systematic review of the propositions and tenets of brain and mind space-time descriptions, our aim in this review essay is to explore the relations between the two. To be precise, we would like to discuss the hypothesis that via the brain operational space-time the mind subjective space-time is connected to otherwise distant physical space-time reality. (shrink)
The heuristic value of synergetic models of evolving and self-organizing complex systems as well as their application to epistemological problems is shown in this paper. Nonlinear synergetic models turn out to be fruitful in comprehending epistemological problems such as the nature of human creativity, the functioning of human intuition and imagination, the historical development of science and culture. In the light of synergetics creative thinking can be viewed as a selforganization and self-completion of images and thoughts, filling up gaps in (...) the nets of knowledge. Insight, fast and sudden solutions of scientific problems, instabilities when “an idea is in the air” are considered as examples of blow-up regimes in the cognitive field. (shrink)
Concepts that include the participation and empowerment of workers are becoming increasingly important nowadays. In many of these concepts, the formal responsibility is delegated to teams. Does this imply that the normative responsibility for the actions of teams is also delegated? In this article we will reflect on the difference between holding a person accountable and bearing responsibility. A framework is elaborated in order to analyse the accountability and responsibility of teams. In this framework, the emergence of a collective mind, (...) and the organisational factors that influence the extent to which teams have the possibility of acting in a responsible way play an important role. It shows that teams can bear responsibilities that could never be carried by a group of individuals. The framework is used to analyse two sample cases with self-managing teams in production facilities. The authors discuss the implications for the theory and practice of self-managing teams and the allocation of responsibility between individuals, teams and the organisation. (shrink)
The article begins at the intellectual fissure between many statements coming from neuroscience and the language of faith and theology. First I show that some conclusions drawn from neuroscientific research are not as firm as they seem: neuroscientific data leave room for the interpretation that mind matters. I then take a philosophical-theological look at the notions of soul, self, and freedom, also in the light of modern scientific research (self-organization, neuronal networks), and present a view in which these theologically (...) important notions are seen in relation both to matter (brain) and to God. I show that religious insights expressed with soul and free will bear a remarkable resemblance to certain insights from neuroscience and the science of complex, self-organizing systems, including emphasis on corporeality and emphasis on organization as a form of that corporeality, and that they also show an interesting parallel --- albeit described in different terms --- concerning the crucial role of a valuation principle that generates attraction. With that, the common-sense idea that freedom simply is the same as indeterminism is refuted: freedom primarily means self-determination. I bring to the fore that the self is not a static thing but a “longing.‘ Such longing springs from something, and it is the relationship to this source that constitutes the self. The main concern is to point out the crucial role of attraction with respect to being and to life, and to draw attention not only to the astonishing parallel on this point between Thomas Aquinas and Alfred North Whitehead but also to a surprising --- albeit more implicit --- analogy between these philosophical-theological views and scientific theories of self-organization (such as those concerning neuronal networks). In short, being attracted toward what appears as “good‘ is what constitutes us as selves and what thereby signifies the primary meaning of our freedom. (shrink)
This article provides a retrospective, current and prospective overview on developments in brain research and neuroscience. Both theoretical and empirical studies are considered, with emphasis in the concept of multivariability and metastability in the brain. In this new view on the human brain, the potential multivariability of the neuronal networks appears to be far from continuous in time, but confined by the dynamics of short-term local and global metastable brain states. The article closes by suggesting some of the implications of (...) this view in future multidisciplinary brain research. (shrink)
To judge from the dust-jacket, this book has received a considerable amount of praise--and not just from the usual suspects. In particular, the publishers seem keen to promulgate the view that there is widespread support for the claim that Overman makes a clear, compelling, and well-argued case for the conclusions which he wishes to defend. However, it seems to me that those cited on the dust-jacket--Pannenberg ("lucid and sobering arguments"), Polkinghorne ("scrupulously argued"), Nicholi ("compelling logic and carefully reasoned argument"), Kaita (...) ("cogent and lucid"), Gingerich ("interesting and convincing"), Behe ("compelling case"), and McGrath ("clear and informed arguments")--cannot have been commenting on the book which I am currently in the process of reviewing. True enough, the book is well-organised and mostly easy to read; moreover, the book clearly demonstrates that Overman is thoroughly acquainted with popular presentations of recent work in a variety of scientific fields. But the crucial question is whether it makes a clear, compelling, and well-argued case for the conclusions which Overman wishes to defend. I shall claim in this review that the book fails on all three counts. (shrink)
Die philosophischen Folgerungen der Synergetik, einer interdisziplinären Theorie der Evolution und Selbstorganisation komplexer nichtlinearer Systeme, werden in diesem Artikel zur Diskussion gestellt. Das sind der weltanschauliche Sinn des Begriffs von der „Nichtlinearität“, die konstruktive Rolle des Chaos in der Evolution, eine neue Vorstellung von diskreten Spektren evolutionärer Wege in komplexen Systemen, die Prinzipien des Aufbaus von komplexem evolutionärem Ganzen, der Integration von komplexen Strukturen, die sich mit verschiedenen Geschwindigkeiten entwickeln, die Methoden des nichtlinearen Managements komplexer Systeme. Die Synergetik entdeckt allgemeingültige (...) Gesetzmäßigkeiten der Strukturbildung, der Selbstorganisation und der Evolution komplexer Systeme und gehört deswegen zu der Richtung des Universalismus. Sie nimmt eine Mittlerrolle zwischen Reduktionismus und Holismus ein. -/- . (shrink)
Jaegwon Kim, and others, have recently posed a powerful challenge to both emergentism and non-reductive physicalism by providing arguments that these positons are committed to an untenabie combination of both 'upward' and 'dounward' determination. In section 1, I illuminate how the nature of the realization relation underlies such skeptical arguments However, in section 2, I suggest that such conclusions involve a confusion between the implications of physicalism and those of a related thesis in 'Completeness of Physics' (CoP). I show tht (...) the truth of CoP poses a very serious obstacle to realized properties being efficacious in a physicalist universe and suggest that abandoning CoP offers hope for defending non-reductive physicalism. I then fornulate a schema for a physicalist metaphysics, in section 3, which rejects CoP. This scenario is one where microphysical properties have a few conditional powers that they contribute to individuals when they realize certain properties. In such a situation, I argue, though physicalism holds true there is still plausibly both `upward' and 'downward' determination, where the latter is crucially an underappreciated form of determmation I term 'non- causal'. Ultimately, I conclude that this metaphysical schema offers a coherent account of Strongly ernergent properties that preserves the truth of NRP, albeit in a form that is purged of any committment to CoP. Finally, in section 4, I carefully explore which of Kim's assumptions and arguments this metaphysics undermines. (shrink)
Dennett argues that the decentralized view of human cognitive organization finding increasing support in parts of cognitive science undermines talk of an inner self. On his view, the causal underpinnings of behavior are distributed across a collection of autonomous subsystems operating without any centralized supervision. Selves are fictions contrived to simplify description and facilitate prediction of behavior with no real correlate inside the mind. Dennett often uses an analogy with termite colonies whose behavior looks organized and purposeful to the external (...) eye, but which is actually the emergent product of uncoordinated activity of separate components marching to the beat of their individual drums. I examine the cognitive organization of a system steering by an internal model of self and environment, and argue that it provides a model that lies between the image of mind as termite colony and a naïve Cartesianism that views the self as inner substance. (shrink)
In Part I, I consider the normal contexts of assertions of belief and declarations of intentions, arguing that many action-guiding beliefs are accepted uncritically and even pre-consciously. I analyze the function of avowals as expressions of attempts at self-transformation. It is because assertions of beliefs are used to perform a wide range of speech acts besides that of speaking the truth, and because there is a large area of indeterminacy in such assertions, that self-deception is possible. In Part II, I (...) analyze the conditions of self-deception, and discuss the grounds on which it is regarded as irrational, even when particular instances may be beneficial. I consider some of the classical analyses of the motives for self-deception, and attempt to give an account of the occasions in which it is likely to occur. In the final section, I discuss the complex organization of the self that is presupposed by the phenomena of self-deception. (shrink)
This paper argues for the importance of inner speech in a proper understanding of the structure of human conscious experience. It reviews one recent attempt to build a model of inner speech based on a grammaticization model (Steels, 2003) and compares it with a self-regulation model here proposed. This latter model is located within the broader literature on the role of language in cognition and the inner voice in consciousness. I argue that this role is not limited to checking the (...) grammatical correctness of prospective utterances before they are spoken. Rather, it is a more broadly activity-structuring role, regulating and shaping the ongoing shape of human activity in the world. Through linking inner speech to the control of attention, I argue that the study of the functional role of inner speech should be a central area of analysis in our attempt to understand the development and qualitative character of human consciousness and that modelling can play a central role in that understanding. (shrink)
The objective of this work is to demonstrate how cooperative sharers and uncooperative free riders can be placed in different groups of an electronic society in a decentralised manner. We have simulated an agent-based open and decentralised P2P system which self-organises itself into different groups to avoid cooperative sharers being exploited by uncooperative free riders. This approach encourages sharers to move to better groups and restricts free riders into those groups of sharers without needing centralised control. Our approach is suitable (...) for current P2P systems that are open and distributed. Gossip is used as a social mechanism for information sharing which facilitates the formation of groups. Using multi-agent based simulations we demonstrate how the adaptive behaviour of agents lead to self-organisation. We have tested with varying the gossip level and checked its impact in the system’s behaviour. We have also investigated the impact of false gossip in this system where gossip is the medium for information sharing which leads to self-organisation. (shrink)
Recent and not so recent advances in our molecular understanding of the genome make the once prevalent view of the genome as a passive container of genetic information (i.e., genes) untenable, and emphasize the importance of the internal organization and re-organization dynamics of the genome for both development and evolution. While this conclusion is by now well accepted, the construction of a comprehensive conceptual framework for studying the genome as a dynamic system, capable of self-organization and adaptive behavior is (...) still underway. This work deals with the effect of such a conceptual shift on evolutionary thought. Specifically, I try to articulate the conceptual commitments and obligations of views that privilege explanatorily or causally the genome, its dynamics and mechanisms, over genes. I refer to this class of views as belonging to ‘the genome perspective’. (shrink)