Category Archives: Autopoiesis

The Viable System Model as a Framework for Understanding Organizations

The Viable System Model (VSM) is not a new idea. Created by Stafford Beer over twenty years ago, it has been used extensively as a conceptual tool for understanding organizations, redesigning them (where appropriate) and supporting the management of change. Despite its successful application … Continue reading

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Autopoietic Viable System Model

This article considers the Viable System Model (VSM) from the viewpoint of autopoiesis. Looking at the lowest recursion level, a VSM prototype can be found; namely, people’s interactivities are the source of viability and produce the system. I call the … Continue reading

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Information Measures of Complexity, Emergence, Self-organization, Homeostasis, and Autopoiesis

In this chapter review measures of emergence, self-organization, complexity, homeostasis, and autopoiesis based on information theory. These measures are derived from proposed axioms and tested in two case studies: random Boolean networks and an Arctic lake ecosystem. Emergence is defined as the information produced … Continue reading

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Autopoiesis and Spirituality

The term “autopoiesis” was introduced by Maturana and Varela around 1972 by combining the Greek words auto (self-) and poiesis (creation, production) to refer to the mechanism by which living systems continually produce themselves as autonomous unities. “When we speak … Continue reading

Posted in Autopoiesis, Autopoietic organization, Autopoietic systems, Complexity & change, Complexity theory, Evolution, Evolutionary complexity, Spirituality | Tagged , , , , , , ,

Designing Research Autopoietically

How is autopoiesis relevant to designing research? I have found that using the concept of autopoiesis enables me to describe and explain theoretically a way of designing research that I engage in with graduate students. I begin my work with … Continue reading

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Constructing Autopoiesis

This essay attempts to explain through an analysis of the limitations of the Lakoff, Johnson and Turner school of cognition and meaning-making, why exactly Arakawa and Gins’ analogical relations with the cognitive science of Maturana and Varela and the philosophy … Continue reading

Posted in Art, Autopoiesis, Cognitive science, Deleuze, Ethics, Maturana, Philosophy of mind, Varela | Tagged , , , , , , ,

From Complexity to Creativity: Explorations in Evolutionary, Autopoietic, and Cognitive Dynamics

Cybernetic pioneer Warren McCullough asked: “What is a man, that he may know a number; and what is a number, that a man may know it?” Thinking along much the same lines, my question here is: “What is a creative … Continue reading

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Autopoiesis and Critical Social Systems Theory

Maturana and Varela provided the following definition of autopoiesis: “An autopoietic machine is a machine organized (defined as a unity) as a network of processes of production (transformation and destruction) of components that produces the components which: (i) through their … Continue reading

Posted in Autopoiesis, Critical theory, Fuchs, Maturana, Social systems, Varela | Tagged , , , , ,

Modern Society – A Complex, Evolutionary, Self-Organising, Antagonistic System

The aim of this paper is to outline some foundational aspects of a theory of self-organising social change. Synchronous social self-organisation is based on a contradiction between structures and actors that produces emergent results. The cycle of expanded reproduction of … Continue reading

Posted in Autopoiesis, Capitalism, Dialectics, Fuchs, Self-organization, Society | Tagged , , , , ,

The Systems View of Life: A Unifying Vision

Over the past thirty years, a new systemic conception of life has emerged at the forefront of science. New emphasis has been given to complexity, networks, and patterns of organisation leading to a novel kind of ‘systemic’ thinking. This volume … Continue reading

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