The Caldron of Consciousness: Motivation, Affect and Self-organization - An Anthology

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Memmert, Daniel Consciousness Research Consciousness research. Linguistics Cognition and language. Philosophy Philosophy. Psychology Cognitive psychology. Part I: The Centrality of Emotion.

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Mind, Brain, and Chaos Nicholas Georgalis. Thus, the propensity of living organisms the living systems approach in terms of the dynamical system to self-organization determines the emergence of forms of life theory. From The emergence of autonomy of a living system should be here, I will define the autonomy of a living dynamical system in understood starting from the constituent processes that are at terms of the degrees of freedom it may access.

The process of autopoiesis consists of a network of autopoietic theory, sensorimotor autonomy, which belongs of recursive processes that regenerate and preserve internal to organisms with minimal cognitive resources, and strong components of the organism and thus, sustain the network autonomy, which can be met in the case of organisms with of process that produces them. This means that what char- higher-order cognitive skills. In other words, self-organization is the consequence of the nonlinear relationship existing among the components of a system, which makes the interaction among the parts determine the emergence of some properties at the level of the whole that differ in quality.

Thus, nonlinearity means more than the simple reorganization of the elements as it allows for reaching levels of higher complexity that cannot be obtained by simply adding parts. Thus, homeostasis represents the propensi- According to later enactivist approaches, the identity of an ty of the organism to maintain some recursive patterns, which autonomous system is constituted by the recursiveness of the are to preserve the autonomy of the system.

By constituting its identity and unity a living system Boundaries facilitate the structural coupling between the gains an operational autonomy given by the dynamics of its system and the environment whereby the external structure internal operations. In ded within a certain context, trying to sustain and preserve this way, the boundary internalizes the feedback, by sending its identity and unity under the conditions of environmental to the organism signals about external perturbations, which fluctuations and perturbations.

This means that an autopoi- determines the adjustment of its internal reactions in com- etic system is an open and homeostatic system, which op- pliance with the environmental modifications. It follows erates under precarious conditions. Thus, it is a dissipative structure that, ity is adapted to external changes, making the organism an through its interaction with the environment, gets the energy open system with different possibilities for interacting with required for its preservation; but it also consumes energy in the environment. Such a system is characterized by thermodynamic equilibrium, meaning that it never reaches an operational autonomy, which represents a weak form of equilibrium with the environment except by losing its iden- self-governance, to the extent that even if it is produced by tity, which occurs only by ceasing its activity.

As an organ- the system and makes self-preservation its goal Collier, , ism characterized by non-equilibrium, the living system has p. From this perspective, operational autonomy con- sis, which, as a feature of living systems, entails the regulariza- sists in generating identity and the minimal unity of a system, tion of their internal variables with a view to constantly pre- as a consequence of the self-production of the internal com- serving both the relationships among them and the response ponents and processes of the organism, self-regulation of its patterns determined by the relationship of the organism with internal variables, and self-sustaining of its internal resources.

This means that these dissipative structures are characterised by an exogenous autonomy, which requires an external control of boundary conditions, and not by an endogenous autonomy, which is the exclusive result of their internal processes. A system with proper- ties such as self-monitoring, control of internal regulation, and control of external exchanges Di Paolo, , p. The configuration of the system in a steady certain moment, constraining the degrees of freedom of the state is the result of the emergence of a self-organizing pat- components to join them in a functional whole, giving up tern as an order parameter or collective variable, which takes some of their possibilities to act.

The emergent organization over control and coordinates the variables of the system at of the system is a result of its multi-causal character Thel- a certain moment, determining the reduction of the degrees en and Smith, , p. Structurally speaking, An order parameter determines the system to set- self-organization is the consequence of the circular causality tle into one or a few patterns of behaviour Thelen and relationship of the system Lewis, , p. Circular causality shows that self-organization is states of the system that could be occupied at a given mo- an on-going process, where the higher and bottom levels of ment.

This means that the system comes to be guided by the system generate and influence one another, determining an attractor, which corresponds to the trajectory a pattern the stability of the system as a whole as a result of the in- of behaviour describes in the state space, which determines ternal dynamics of the components. This circular dynamics the position of the system as a response to the external per- is at the origin of the constitution of organism identity and turbations.

Depending ments of instability with stability. The variables of the system have an on-going representing the degrees of freedom of the system. Such ematical equations. Periodic attractors belong to the same category, the system. State space is a representation, in a system of co- having a cyclic trajectory and taking the shape of a periodic ordinates, of all the acting and responding possibilities that loop Juarrero, , p. Due to the influence of parameters on the internal vari- Other attractors, such as chaotic or strange attrac- ables, the system exhibits moments of instability, depending tors, have an irregular trajectory, but not non-coherent, on the external fluctuations that threaten its internal orga- which does not pass through the same points in the state nization.

In phase transition, which is the transition from space but occupies convergent positions against the previ- 7 Equations represent rules of evolution Van Gelder and Port, , p. Consequently, a dynamical system operates according to certain deterministic sequences where each state of the system is a consequence of a previous state. Unlike point or periodic higher-order self-organization to the system.

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In this case, the consequence represented by state space, attractors, depending on their di- of cohesion is the interdependence of elementary parti- mensionality, instantiate these degrees of freedom, which de- cles, whose behaviour undergoes qualitative modifications pend on the number of variables that are affected by the par- within the newly created ensemble. Thus, context-sensitive ticular situation in which the system is embedded. Strange attractors characterizing , p.

First, one can speak of first-order contextual constraints, some self-sustaining operational patterns that can maintain which operate toward synchronising and correlating the par- the identity of the system in spite of external perturbations. By coupling the These operational patterns define the degrees of freedom of components, first-order contextual constraints determine the system from whose association the autonomy of the sys- the emergence of a new operational space of the system, with tem results.

The cohesion of the parts and their coordination its components so that they can behave in certain way. Thus, with a view to adopting a unitary behaviour is due to the second-order contextual constraints represent the closing constraints within the system, which, by means of a dou- loop of the circularity relation among the levels of the system, ble dynamics, i.

Thus, new and higher-order degrees of context-sensitive constraints. Constraints imposed on the freedom emerge in the system. The new structure operates glob- cancels the others. If there are no new options for response, ally on the ensemble of particles, conveying on them a differ- 8 Attractors have a basin of attraction, which includes the sum of the possible states to be occupied that are determined by that order pattern. In the case of strange attractors, due to their unpredictable character it is difficult to know, even in probabilistic terms, what position in the basin of attraction is to be occupied by the system.

This means that their multidimensionality is fractal in the sense that it can be expressed by fractions and not as an integer Kauffman, , p. In other words, self-organiza- parts, the system creates its degrees of freedom as a whole. This gent whole. Whereas second-order constraints determine means that the processes underlying self-organization and second-order degrees of freedom, which are a consequence autonomy should be understood from the perspective of the of the complexity of the patterns that are configured in the production of degrees of freedom of the system.

Thus, in multidimensional state space of the system. Thus, second-or- terms of dynamical systems theory the autonomy of a living der contextual constraints correspond to the order parame- system means the self-production autopoiesis of its degrees ters that, as organizing patterns, compress or enslave Thel- of freedom, the self-regulation of the degrees of freedom of en, , p. Consequently, the emergence of identity and uni- system have separately. The depth of these basins of attrac- ty of the system is inseparable from generating its degrees of tion, which give dimensionality to attractors, is given by the freedom, whose level of complexity, given by the multidimen- number of system coordinates, which represent the variables sional patterns instancing them, offer varied alternatives for that contribute to the generation of this pattern.

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Thus, the responding to environmental perturbations. This means that self-organization involves tonomy of a living system is a consequence of the way it reg- generating and re-generating constraints that modulate the ulates and modulates its internal processes in order to adapt flow of energy and contribute to the recursive maintenance to environmental conditions. For highly organized organisms, of the organism Ruiz-Mirazo and Moreno, , p.

As a result the tem self-regulates the degrees of freedom of its components. The system, owing to the emergent properties, has degrees of freedom that provide a higher degree of autonomy than that of its parts. From this perspective, self-organization as a consequence faces not just the limitation of the degrees of freedom of the system components, but also the increasing complexity of the degrees of freedom of the system and in this way its autonomy.

These levels, which are interconnected, provide increasingly developed degrees of autonomy so that the lower levels e. Owing to its sensitivity to changes in the system environment, it provides a basic form of coupling and inter- action between organism and the environment in which it is Minimal autonomy embedded, so that the living system can preserve its identity and unity. Constitutive autonomy of the system Froese et al.

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Such organisms respond to external ing system. This minimal identity does not involve complex changes only at a metabolic level, determining the activa- biological structures that would offer self-awareness to the or- tion of some adapting processes with a view to preserving ganism, rather it is a consequence of the internal recursive the biological integrity of the system Moreno et al. This means that systems with minimal autonomy constitutive processes. In stituting process in order to prevent its disintegration Froese this case, one can speak of a metabolic agency Moreno and Di Paolo, , p.

The basic type of biolog- erly and preserve its basic functions.

Membrane internal biological processes of a living system with a basic demarcates the space necessary to the system so that its basic structure that generates minimal forms of identity and uni- processes, which regulate its internal responses and through ty. In terms of the dynamical system theo- brane is a boundary with selective permeability and with ry, minimal autonomy is constituted by simple recursive pat- channels of interaction with the environment, as the result of terns, existing at the level of the system, which generate an local and global constraints Ruiz-Mirazo and Moreno, , order parameter with lower complexity instantiating simple p.

This means, degrees of freedom. In other words, a minimal or biological agent is not only the passive receiver of changes in the world but also has the possibility of regulating the flow of information coming from the world, which means that it uses the information received from the environment for its own adaptation Di Paolo, , p. Therefore, it is also called an adaptive agent, its aims being to adapt to the environment, which entails maintaining some recursive interactions with the environment Froese and Di Paolo, , p.

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