Friday, November 29, 2013

maturana and varela: the biology of cognition


enologaia | Living systems exhibit a sort of circularity in their form and structure. This is evident when we examine the way organisms are constituted by their components. These components are interconnected so as to make up a single whole structure. No single component is either a starting or ending point for this set of structural connections, because this set cannot be reasonably described as a linear series of dependencies. Instead, it is a web of interdependencies in which each component is mutually dependent on all the others in 'adding up' to the entirety of a viable structure. If you were to start with any given component and trace its structural dependencies on neighboring components, then trace the dependencies of those neighbors to their neighbors, etc., you would eventually come back to the first component as something upon which one or more other components are themselves reliant. Because this brings you back to the original point, the structure evidences 'circularity' with respect to its structural constitution.

Living systems are not just static structures. We ascribe 'life' to them because they're dynamic. We can find another sort of circularity in their internal operations. These internal operations are 'circularly' interconnected in the same sense that the components are. There is something about the identity and unity of a living system which is maintained by these internal operations -- something which can be influenced by events in the living system's environment, but which is specific to the living system itself. You can move the living system to another environment, but (so long as it can successfully survive) this circularly-interconnected network of internal operations will persist. These operations evidences no intrinsic 'purpose' beyond maintenance of the living system's constitutional and configurational integrity.

The course of actions ('responses') observed for a given living system exhibits a sort of circularity in the sense it is (at least partially) repetitive. The exact trajectory of these courses of action is mediated 'internally' by the organism's capacities for action. In other words, what the organism will do (and remain living) will be circumscribed by the range of things the organism can do. Because these capacities are in turn qualified by the living system's circularities of form, configuration and internal operations, similar circumstances will result in similar actions.

Correspondingly, the course of situational transitions affecting the organism ('stimuli') is mediated 'externally' by those potentials the world affords. Even though it is the organism's own configuration which determines its capacities for action (and hence its specific actions), the 'environment' influences the overall course or trajectory of the situations encountered, and hence the series of resulting actions. As such, there is a 'circularity' in the reciprocal interplay between the living system and its 'environment'.

The 'circle' of this interplay cannot be reasonably said to have a starting point (except the point at which the living system originates). It cannot be said to have an ending point (except the point at which the living system ceases to be living). As such, we cannot predict the living system's course of activities based on 'first' or 'last' causes.

Because of this, the course or trajectory of reciprocal engagement between a living system and its observed 'environment' is not reducible to exclusive determination by one or the other.

17 comments:

CNu said...

The link to brain structure and cognitive abilities and how neural
circuits produce language - is downstream from cause and effect that is
supported by experimental evidence. I am not, however, surprised to see it reported as
a connection between genes and human behavior.



As we all know, the only experimentally, evidence-supported connection - involves the thermodynamics of inter-cellular signaling and organism-level control of thermo-regulation. Epigenetic linkage between the sensory response to the nutrient environment is the only connection to the physical landscape of the DNA. Everything else is merely conversation pregnant with a quite specific agenda....,

BigDonOne said...

All dogs are one species: Canis Familiaris. Any dog breeder can confirm that behavioral *tendencies* are genetic, you can selectively breed for them For example, trainability/intelligence. Police K-9 units like IQ-160 German Shepherds because once trained, it sticks and they follow commands reliably. Otherwise they might use physically superior IQ-75 pitbulls but which frequently tend to do WhaterverTF they want, regardless of training. There is, of course, a human analogy...........

BigDonOne said...

All dogs are one species: Canis Familiaris. Any dog breeder can confirm that behavioral *tendencies* are genetic, you can selectively breed for them For example, trainability/intelligence. Police K-9 units like IQ-160 German Shepherds because once trained, it sticks and they follow commands reliably. Otherwise they might use physically superior IQ-75 pitbulls but which frequently tend to do WhaterverTF they want, regardless of training. There is, of course, a human analogy...........

BigDonOne said...

The Disqus comment 'DELETE' command works about as well as HealthCare.gov and the various state Obamacare exchanges....it apparently preserves the comment and renames the commenter as 'Guest'

CNu said...

lol, IQ-75 struggles are real....,

BigDonOne said...

Here's another good one....

CNu said...

lol, is the above a biological exploration of white folks incomparable crimes of violence? http://youtu.be/gTrbVf6SrCc Notwithstanding your undeniably unique demonstrated capacity for crime and violence within the human species, I wouldn't entertain a biological explanation for what you do and how you do it.

CNu said...

The psychopathocracy is a social (rather than biological) construct. http://phys.org/news/2013-11-social-interactions-extremism.html - though I suppose it's possible that I could be mistaken, I doubt it - no matter how far you take the framework into and across the many and sundry realms of personal cognitive and interpersonal social infiltration http://greyfalcon.us/

makheru bradley said...

The United States of America is constructed on a foundation of theft and genocide. Without these monstrous crimes against humanity there is no United States of America.

[As John Toland notes in his book Adolf Hitler (pg. 202):

Hitler's concept of concentration camps as well as the practicality of genocide owed much, so he claimed, to his studies of English and United States history. He admired the camps for Boer prisoners in South Africa and for the Indians in the wild west; and often praised to his inner circle the efficiency of America's extermination—by starvation and uneven combat—of the red savages who could not be tamed by captivity. He was very interested in the way the Indian population had rapidly declined due to epidemics and starvation when the United States government forced them to live on the reservations. He thought the American government's forced migrations of the Indians over great distances to barren reservation land was a deliberate policy of extermination. Just how much Hitler took from the American example of the destruction of the Indian nations is hard to say; however, frightening parallels can be drawn. For some time Hitler considered deporting the Jews to a large 'reservation' in the Lubin area where their numbers would be reduced through starvation and disease.]

The Massacre at Sand Creek: http://to.pbs.org/1ao4yls

makheru bradley said...

Speaking of the psychopathocracy or the oligarchic psychopathocracy (my term) are we getting any closer to the "Twilight of Psychopaths?"

http://bit.ly/1ir5iQL

makheru bradley said...

Joseph Paul Franklin was executed in Missouri on Nov. 20, 2013.

http://wapo.st/1ir78kN

CNu said...

Bro. Makheru, I have no faith in any such twilight. The past few weeks disclosures concerning what's afoot at Fukushima have me convinced that the cull is now underway in earnest.

CNu said...

BD's breed theory turns out to be just so much populist nonsense...., http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/12/131202082414.htm

BigDonOne said...

BD will see your questionable self-serving puny poll of 160 dog owners, and raise you the hard facts on aggressive dogs from insurance companies who have extensive Real Data and don't want to lose money.... http://www.journalgazette.net/article/20130924/NEWS07/130929695/1067
"...There were 16,459 dog bite claims last year. The average cost of settling those claims was $29,752...." Owning Pit Bulls and/or Rottweilers will get you raised homeowner rates or cancellations....

CNu said...

lol, I must've missed the Real Data you're crowing about BD. (or none was offered)



It appears that dogs bite and claims are made in consequence of that fact. It also appears that insurance companies decide what dogs are dangerous on the basis of populist notions rather than empirical data. I'll now commence breath-holding in anticipation of the Real Data to which you alluded....,

Dale Asberry said...

Lol, and the study also pointed out that the dog behavior was more reflective of the owner's encouragement of behavior.

CNu said...

You noticed that too (^;



Fascinating as always how our boy's ventral cortical axis reworks data to suit his own special faith-based predilections.

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