Computing Mechanisms and Autopoietic Systems

In Vincent C. Müller (ed.), Computing and philosophy: Selected papers from IACAP 2014. Cham: Springer. pp. 17-26 (2016)
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Abstract

This chapter draws an analogy between computing mechanisms and autopoietic systems, focusing on the non-representational status of both kinds of system (computational and autopoietic). It will be argued that the role played by input and output components in a computing mechanism closely resembles the relationship between an autopoietic system and its environment, and in this sense differs from the classical understanding of inputs and outputs. The analogy helps to make sense of why we should think of computing mechanisms as non-representational, and might also facilitate reconciliation between computational and autopoietic/enactive approaches to the study of cognition.

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Joe Dewhurst
Ludwig Maximilians Universität, München

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