Biological Autonomy: A Philosophical and Theoretical Enquiry by Alvaro Moreno, Matteo Mossio

By Alvaro Moreno, Matteo Mossio

Since Darwin, Biology has been framed at the notion of evolution through normal choice, which has profoundly encouraged the clinical and philosophical comprehension of organic phenomena and of our position in Nature. This e-book argues that modern biology may still development in the direction of and revolve round an excellent extra basic concept, that of autonomy. organic autonomy describes residing organisms as organised platforms, that are in a position to self-produce and self-maintain as built-in entities, to set up their very own ambitions and norms, and to advertise the stipulations in their life via their interactions with the environment.

Topics lined during this publication contain business enterprise and organic emergence, organisms, business enterprise, degrees of autonomy, cognition, and a glance on the ancient measurement of autonomy. the present improvement of medical investigations on independent agency demands a theoretical and philosophical research. this may give a contribution to the elaboration of an unique realizing of existence - together with human lifestyles - on the earth, commencing new views and allowing fecund interactions with different present theories and methods. This booklet takes up the challenge.

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Accordingly, the work-constraint cycle explicitly constitutes a thermodynamically grounded self-determination, through which a system is able to self-constrain by exploiting part of the flow of energy and matter to generate work. Of course, the system is still thermodynamically open, and is by no means independent: it dissipates energy and matter, and has “to take in from a source” and “give away into a sink” in order to stay away from equilibrium (Morowitz 1968). At least two implications of Kauffman’s account should be emphasised.

By framing the issue of cognition in these terms, we think that it can be better handled in naturalised terms, without underestimating the formidable difficulties that any satisfactory account of cognition has to face to understand its complex nature and phenomenological novelty. Accordingly, Chap. 7 is possibly the most ambitious and yet incomplete, since it sketches in a preliminary way many problems for which much more work will be required. Autonomy, as conceived in this book, lies at the intersection between different dimensions, and specifically the constitutive and interactive ones, on which we put strong emphasis in the previous pages.

Of course, definitions are not a goal in themselves, and the degree of accuracy which is required may depend on the role played in the general framework. In the case of closure, in our view, the lack of precision does indeed constitute an obstacle for the further development of the autonomous perspective, since closure is a fundamental pillar of the whole account, on which many (or even most) other aspects rely either directly or indirectly, as we will discuss at length in the following chapters.

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