From: Vicente Berdayes <vberdaye-AT-magnus.acs.ohio-state.edu> Subject: Re: Guattari/Autopoiesis bis To: technology-AT-world.std.com Date: Tue, 31 May 94 9:58:42 EDT > > Turns out that no one was willing to give an intro to autopoiesis even on > the autopoiesis list. It is kinda tricky theory. Good intro is THE TREE > OF KNOWLEDGE by H.R. Maturana & F.J. Varela Shamballa 1992 > > Suffice it to say it is a theory of what LIFE *is* which says that it is > a machine that is self-organizing or self-producing. It includes a > cognitive aspect that says that intelligence is inseparable from life. > The main tenent is that self-organizing systems are CLOSED and that they > maintain their structure homeostatically. > Could someone maybe elaborate on the difference between open and closed systems? One sense I had - maybe mistaken - is that contemporary systems thinking recognizes intelligence to be open and oriented toward growth and development rather than homeostasis. I'm not very good with Luhmann's stuff, but it seems to me that one claim he makes is that in self-referential social systems its not possible to make a clear distinction between system and environment, so social systems shouldn't be conceptualized as distinctly bounded systems. Am I wrong here? Also, Victor Frankl refers to Bertelanffy [-spelling?] in describing human beings as creative agents, open to their environs. I think he claims that Bertelanffy had already oriented systems thought - at least as it regards living systems - away from notions of homeostasis. The standard critique of the assumption of homeostasis in social theory is that if one assumes that systems naturally tend toward stability, then social theory becomes a conservative enterprise - the theorizing of order, conceptualized naturalistically, rather than of change and revolution. Could someone expand on this, because I get the sense that contemporary systems thinking emphasizes the dynamism of systems. Vince.
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