Self-organisation, (M, R)–systems and enactive cognitive science

Tomasz Korbak

Adaptive Behavior 31(1)

The notion of self-organisation plays a major role in enactive cognitive science. In this paper, I review several formal models of self-organisation that various approaches in modern cognitive science rely upon. I then focus on Rosen’s account of self-organisation as closure to efficient cause and his argument that models of systems closed to efficient cause – (M, R) systems – are uncomputable. Despite being sometimes relied on by enactivists this argument is problematic it rests on assumptions unacceptable for enactivists: that living systems can be modelled as time-invariant and material-independent. I then argue that there exists a simple and philosophically appealing reparametrisation of (M, R)–systems that accounts for the temporal dimensions of life but renders Rosen’s argument invalid.

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