In my understanding it is as follows......but don't forget this is
Sunday morning, so my opinion might be a little sloppy.....
There is organisational closure, and there is the observer.
Organisational closure (and all it entails) is an explanatory
principle for how such phenomena as the observer may (scientifically-
Maturana shows how, through a simple recursive mechanism
(coordinations of coordinations of actions/behaviours), the human
being with all its human attributes (emotions, the spiritual, reason,
language and so on) can be explained to emerge from a biological
fabric. His criticism for most of the human sciences is that they make
no attempt to consistently bed human higher attributes in such a
biological fabric, but talks as if language, mind, spirit etc somehow
appear from nothing. His critique of 'objectivist' physics would be
similar. And he is saying that such hard' sciences (as physics,
chemistry etc) should take account of the fact that the observer (the
one who practices them) is a biological being. This is the same
consistent message from McCulloch and Bateson onwards.
This is not about decision making. Human decisions are in the domain
of the observer, and include all the conventional aspects such as
intentionality. The 'decisions' of other organisms may be said to
exist, but the observer (ourselves) must take account of the scale of
different orders of recursive operations. For example, a flagellum (is
that correct?) has two degrees of freedom - right rotation or left
rotation. A slug has rather more ..........And these are functions of
the structural coupling of an organisationally closed nervous system
with a molecular fabric in a phenomenal world, the complexity of that
nervous system, and the richness of the motor-sensory architecture.
The observer should bear this in mind, and - for instance - be
cautious in attributing the term 'decision' to the behaviour of a
A decision (as is he case for William Powers) emerges in the domain of
behaviour, rather than in the domain of information. Artificial
Intelligence fell into the trap of believing that such things as
decision might be considered relevant for an isolated brain - that
information was somehow, mysteriously a function of brain activity and
some sort of external, physical data. Hence its limited achievements.
As is the case for Stafford (and VSM), information is grounded in the
coupling of nervous system, the molecular organism and phenomenal
environment along a dynamic trajectory of cyclical recurrences which
contain no singularities (no data). Singularities are abstracted from
this patterning through the higher human attributes (reflection,
experimentation, language, thought, social exchange etc). An 'item' (a
datum) must be something denoted, else does not exist as 'a datum'.
Organisms of all sorts, abstract phenomena that they connote as data,
that they treat as if denoted, but which are determined in their
significance for the particular organism through recurrent behavioural
interactions. Human are no exception. We point to 'that tree there'
and in our languaging interactions assume that an item (a datum) has
been indicated. What has actually occurred is that a convention of
language has been attached to a behavioural interaction, and a general
term ('tree') has been treated as if it might particularise or specify
a singularity. A singularity might indeed have been indicated but
language cannot deal with it.....and hence the whole of the scientific
To repeat, our languaging interactions do not and cannot accommodate
singularities. Languaging interactions generate and depend upon
meaning (cyclical recurrences).
A decision exists as part of this process of languaging. Mistakes are
liable to arise when things such as decisions, are treated as existing
outside this process - as if they have a privileged place over such a
process. This doesn't lessen the significance of such things as
decisions, but brackets any claims that either decisions or
information 'leading to' decisions are somehow to do with objectivity.
On 21 Mar 2010, at 10:07, Alfredo Moscardini wrote:
> I have been following the exchanges on Information closure very
> carefully and wish to know if my thoughts below are correct.
> 1 Organisationally closed means that all decision making is internal.
> 2 Autopoetic entities are structurally coupled with their
> environment in the sense that changes in the environemnt can ( or
> may) trigger changes in the entity and vice versa
> 3 To enable this to happen, an autopoetic entity has sensors that
> pck up parameter changes in the environment
> 4 these are simply data sensors and what is passed from the
> environment to the entity is simply facts or data - it is not
> 5 information is data that has been embued with meaning or purpose
> which is not needed by the entity - only data
> 6 So there is information closure but exchange of data
> Is this a correct interpretation of what has been said - I am
> particularly interested to know if it fits with Lucs interpretation
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