Living Systems: Autonomy, Autopoiesis and Enaction

Philosophy and Technology 28 (2):225-239 (2015)
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The autopoietic theory and the enactive approach are two theoretical streams that, in spite of their historical link and conceptual affinities, offer very different views on the nature of living beings. In this paper, we compare these views and evaluate, in an exploratory way, their respective degrees of internal coherence. Focusing the analyses on certain key notions such as autonomy and organizational closure, we argue that while the autopoietic theory manages to elaborate an internally consistent conception of living beings, the enactive approach presents an internal tension regarding its characterization of living beings as intentional systems directed at the environment



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