Thursday, March 1, 2012

Autopoetic as the New Homeostasis?

Perhaps my readers might inform me if there is something to my suspicion about the difference between "autopoetic" and "homeostatic" as philosophical concepts.  Is there a significant difference?

I ask because I realized that I have been using "homeostatic," as has my tradition for at least a century, in ways that compatible with the more recent notion of "autopoetic."  My suspicion is that the concept might not be as novel as some make it out to be, but then, I might be wrong.  If it is not that novel, then there can be even more of a rapprochement between classical and neoclassical pragmatism and other traditions.


  1. Autopoietic systems maintain homeostasis as one of their characteristics, but have other important characteristics, as well. A thermostat, for example, could be described as a homeostatic system; but it is not autopoietic since it is not composed of parts that reciprocally produce one another and the system as a bounded whole. Autopoiesis is meant to define the self-production of living systems, and not just their capacity to maintain relatively constant internal parameters.

  2. Thanks, Matt.

    Your explanation is how the term is used in pragmatist literature, as it is applied only to biological organisms. I suppose that highlights one difference; the restricted scope of one and relatively unrestricted scope of the other. Although homeostatic is not entirely an inward-pointing notion.

    Scoping is definitely one of the big differences.


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