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Posts Tagged ‘autopoiesis

A cuarenta años de la Autopoiesis

El alcance de éste se estudia en medicina, educación, f ilosof ía y psicología cognitiva. Maturana partió con la biología molecular, pasó al sistema nervioso y luego siguió con la biología del conocimiento y el lenguaje. Hoy, afirma que los humanos somos seres donde la biología y la cultura son “autopoiéticas“. Durante los últimos 50 años el biólogo sistémico ha dedicado su tiempo a comprender el conocimiento y el entendimiento humano.

Hace más de 50 años, Humberto Maturana era un joven biólogo que comenzaba a hacer clases en el ex Instituto de Ciencias, hoy Facultad de Ciencias de la Universidad de Chile. Entonces tenía poco más de 30 años y ya lo obsesionaba intentar dar respuesta a preguntas imposibles, o imposibles para quienes no buscan af anosamente encontrar respuestas. En sus propias palabras recuerda: “Yo me creía capaz de responder todas las preguntas, pero hubo una que me hizo un alumno en 1960 que no supe responder”. En esa clase Maturana estaba hablando de los primeros seres vivos en el mundo y calculó que la vida había comenzado hacía 2.800 millones de años. Entonces el alumno preguntó: “¿Que comienza hace 2.800 millones de años, de modo que usted me dice ahora que los seres vivos comenzaron entonces? Maturana se quedó en silencio, después de unos segundos respondió: “No lo sé, pero si usted vuelve a mi clase el próximo año le voy a proponer una respuesta”.

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Written by learningchange

27/11/2013 at 16:24

Posted in Autopoiesis, Maturana

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Emergence and the new intelligence leadership

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Emergence, a vital phenomenon of evolution, has been the primary focus of numerous pioneer complexity researchers. In this study, the complexity-intelligence and emergence-intelligence linkages are scrutinised. Encompassing and exploring spaces of high complexity by human organisations requires a better comprehension of emergence and the new intelligence leadership strategy. As humanity is encountering edges of chaos more frequently, and interacting agents in human organisations are also becoming more intelligent entities, a transformation in leadership mindset and management strategy is inevitable. This analysis confirms that leadership can be rendered more effective if intelligence, complexity, emergence, autopoiesis and self-organisation are concurrently exploited.

In this respects, the effective self-organising ability of the human organisations is a new critical success factor. Thus, being able to nurture the deliberate-emergence ‘auto-switch’ and achieving a higher level of strategic complexity-competitiveness and sustainability is a new challenge. In this case, the effective leaders are those that channel a significant amount of time and resources into exploring and exploiting the complexity-emergence-intelligence relationships more holistically at all time. Thus, in summary, an intelligence leader is one that possesses the intelligence mindset, concentrates on third-order mental stability, makes preparation for edges of chaos, exploits spaces of high complexity, recognises the space-time interdependent  criticality and also focuses on longer-term survival and sustainability.

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Leadership in a Networked World – The Case of Massive Multiplayer Online Environments

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MMOGs (Massive Multiplayer Online Games) and MMORPGs (Massive Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Games) are considered to be complex, ever increasing systems with a full range of social and material practices, where true mastery of the game can only be achieved by working collaboratively with other players. In situated learning theory, it is argued that learning, thinking and knowing emerge from a world that is socially constructed. Just as in a real world community, when newcomers enter a MMOG, they are gradually introduced to a complex social framework through the tutelage of other community member. They learn to make sense of new areas, especially by engaging with others, discussing, reflecting, and sharing. In order for players to succeed in these games, they have to self-organize and collaborate in order to form guilds; constantly improve to remain competitive, visioning the enemy’s and guild’s reaction. Nevertheless, these are important leadership skills for the real world as well, revealing multiple similarities that link the gaming world and the real world. In this sense, it is imperative to understand how these virtual environments can develop or enhance skills that are important for a person’s life and work in the 21st century. This realization stresses the need for researching and analyzing the social structures that players create through their interactions with other players. However, despite the significant amount of educational research and the growing interest of the scientific community in MMOGs, there is a lack of empirical research considering cognitive and social aspects of these games. This paper outlines the theoretical rationale behind a doctoral research project currently in progress, which examines the leadership skills that can be developed in a self-organized community in MMOGs. In order to address these issues, this paper presents a theoretical framework for analyzing the social interactions in Multiplayer Serious Games, within the context of community of practice, activity theory, connectivism, self-organization and autopoietic theory.

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Written by learningchange

06/06/2013 at 14:39

First-line leadership as autopoietic system

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Complex adaptive organization is simultaneously open and closed. It must have a natural order and structure to embody high scale processes that are defined and understood, while at the same time being open to signals (or data) from the environment . These openings and closures to environmental signals and data do not occur at random or in predictable response patterns to environmental stimuli. They are the product of managed processes which nonetheless do not produce predictable responses because the social actors in these positions have the experience, responsiveness and authority to adapt to the specific situation. Certain roles have the responsibility for maintaining both the structural aspects that guarantee survival in the short-term, and to enable what van Krogh and Roos call “advancement activities”. These advancement activities fall into the categories of organisational process identified by Maturana and Varela as autopoietic. Access to the choices which constitute these autopoietic elements is central to the modalities which permit organisations to recreate themselves in order to face new and unknown challenges. This access is located at the level of operational leadership or first line management. It is at the level of operational leadership that confrontations between different versions of organisational and social reality most decisively occur and where the conditions for autopoetic transformation are most clearly met.

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Written by learningchange

06/06/2013 at 14:16

Developing new alliances in higher education leadership & governance – Autopoietic application of the “arts” creative capacities

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Based on Maturana and Varela’s neurobiological research, reality is a product created by us. Thus this paper is iterative in emphasising that we consider tempering policy, training, development, environment, leadership and management to recognise the presence of our various realities, including multiple meanings of creativity, innovation and finally entrepreneurialism. The benefit for all is a gain in diversity, so long as the actions are both observed and acted out in a narrative of constraint reflecting biologically based domains, rather than a narrative of an independent control world ‘out there’.

This paper suggests we do not need to demystify the creative process; we already live it. Rather we do need, and have made an effort here, to demystify the focus on structures that enhance creativity, and the focus on topologies of creative behaviour that generate ‘useful’ and ‘valuable’ innovations. Facilitating learning, and providing new knowledge regarding creative acts and ‘habits’, as well as developing highly flexible “learning scaffolds”, all offer spaces of adjacent possibility (and not as rewards) where humans might work with “unproven assumptions, practice in different but related scenarios, using known tools in an unknown area”, and even using unknown tools in a known area.

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Written by learningchange

06/06/2013 at 13:42

Posted in Autopoiesis, Creativity

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Leadership in Team Based Knowledge Management – An Autopoietic Information System’s Perspective

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In this paper we show how team work between participants can be facilitated through the use of principles from autopoietic theory and modern Web2.0 technologies like social networks, forums, semantic wiki systems, podcasting,  as well as social tagging in order to provide a suitable environment for knowledge management. We argue that leadership is an important factor for autopoiesis emergence as well as project success. Results form an experiment conducted on 160 students show that teams that were able to find a leader during the first week of collaboration were successful while teams who didn’t had problems in establishing creative collaboration. In the end we argue that by providing facilities for a dynamic leadership role one indirectly can facilitate the emergence of autopoiesis in such an environment.

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Written by learningchange

06/06/2013 at 13:04

Autopoiesis and Life

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Life is defined by Maturana and Varela as a type of self-organization: autopoiesis in the physical space. This resembles the concept of metabolism, which itself is typically included in definitions of life. Three senses of  metabolism are distinguished. If  life depends on either autopoiesis or metabolism (in the third sense), then strong A-Life is impossible. The theory of autopoiesis challenges concepts familiar in biology and cognitive science. While its use of informational language is too restrictive, its use of cognitive language is too liberal: life does not imply cognition.

The autopoietic approach is unusual also in its choice of theoretical vocabulary for describing behaviour. Orthodox biologists, neuroscientists, and most cognitive scientists are happy to speak in terms of function, information processing (including input, output, computation, instruction, translation, execution, and code), representation, and learning. Maturana and Varela use autopoietic arguments to criticize each of these concepts. Although admitting that they can be useful metaphors, they also see them as potentially misleading. They prefer to speak in literal terms of intimately coupled  dynamical systems, connected in a continuous process of mutual perturbation.

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Written by learningchange

04/06/2013 at 13:25

Posted in Autopoiesis, Life

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An Autopoietic Systems Theory for Creativity

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In this paper, a new, non-psychological and non-sociological approach to understanding creativity is proposed. The approach is based on autopoietic system theory, where an autopoietic system is defined as a unity whose organization is defined by a particular network of production processes of  elements. While the theory was originally proposed in biology and then applied to sociology, I have applied it to understand the nature of creation, and called it “Creative Systems Theory“.  A creative system is an autopoietic system whose element is “discovery“, which emerges only when a synthesis of three selections has occurred: “idea“, “association“, and “consequence“. With using these concepts, we open the way to understand creation itself separated from psychic and social aspects of creativity. On this basis, the coupling between creative, psychic, and social systems is discussed. I suggest, in this paper, the future of creativity studies, re-defining a discipline “Creatology” for inquiring creative systems and propose an interdisciplinary field as “Creative Sciences” for interdisciplinary connections among creatology, psychology, and so on.

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Written by learningchange

04/06/2013 at 13:04

Autopoiesis: a review and a reappraisal

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The aim of the paper is to review critically the notion of autopoiesis as presented by Maturana and Varela. In particular, recognizing that there are difficulties in obtaining a complete and clear picture from the primary literature, an effort is made to present a coherent view – also based on many years of personal contact with Francisco Varela. The paper begins with a few historical notes to highlight the cultural background from which the notion of autopoiesis arose. The basic principles of autopoiesis as a theory of cellular life are then described, emphasizing also what autopoiesis is not: not an abstract theory, not a concept of artificial life, not a theory about the origin of life – but rather a pragmatic blueprint of life based on cellular life. It shown how this view leads to a conceptually clear definition of minimal life and to a logical link with related notions, such as self-organization, emergence, biological autonomy, auto-referentiality, and interactions with the environment. The perturbations brought about by the environment are seen as changes selected and triggered by the inner organization of the living. These selective coupling interactions impart meaning to the minimal life and are thus defined by Maturana and Varela with the arguable term of “cognition”. This particular view on the mutual interactions between living organism and environment leads these authors to the notion of “enaction”, and to the surprising view that autopoiesis and cognition are two complementary, and in a way equivalent, aspects of life. It is then shown how cognition, so defined, permits us to build a bridge between biology and cognitive science. Autopoiesis also allows one to conceive chemical models of minimal cellular life that can be implemented experimentally. The corresponding work on “chemical autopoiesis” is then reviewed. The surprising impact of autopoiesis in the social sciences (“social autopoiesis”) is also briefly discussed. This review also comments on why the theory of autopoiesis had, and still has, a difficult time being accepted into the  mainstream of life-science research. Finally, it is pointed out that the new  interest in system biology and complexity theories may lead to a reappraisal of  autopoiesis and related notions, as outlined also by other authors, such as  Tibor Ganti and Stuart Kauffmann.

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Written by learningchange

03/06/2013 at 13:22

Posted in Autopoiesis

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Beyond autopoiesis: Inflections of emergence and politics in the work of Francisco Varela

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Francisco Varela’s work is a monumental achievement in 20th century biological and biophilosophical thought. After his early collaboration in neo-cybernetics with Humberto Maturana (“autopoiesis”), Varela made fundamental contributions to immunology (“network theory”), Artificial Life (“cellular automata”), cognitive science (“enaction”), philosophy of mind (“neurophenomenology”), brain studies (“the brainweb”), and East-West dialogue (the Mind and Life conferences). In the course of his career, Varela influenced many important collaborators and interlocutors, formed a generation of excellent students, and touched the lives of many with the intensity of his mind, the sharpness of his wit, and the strength of his spirit. In this essay, I will trace some of the key turning points in his thought, with special focus on the concept of emergence, which was always central to his work, and on questions of politics, which operate at the margins of his thought. I will divide Varela’s work into three periods – autopoiesis, enaction, and radical embodiment – each of which is marked by a guiding concept; a specific methodology; a research focus; an inflection in the notion of emergence; and a characteristic political question which specifies a scale of what I will call “political physiology,” that is, the formation of “bodies politic” at the civic, somatic, and “evental” scales. These terms refer to, respectively, the formation of political states, of politically constituted individuals, and their intersection in political encounters.

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Written by learningchange

03/06/2013 at 12:56

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