What is Autonomy?

Collier, John (2002) What is Autonomy? [Journal (Paginated)]

Full text available as:

[img] PDF


A system is autonomous if it uses its own information to modify itself and its environment to enhance its survival, responding to both environmental and internal stimuli to modify its basic functions to increase its viability. Autonomy is the foundation of functionality, intentionality and meaning. Autonomous systems accommodate the unexpected through self-organizing processes, together with some constraints that maintain autonomy. Early versions of autonomy, such as autopoiesis and closure to efficient cause, made autonomous systems dynamically closed to information. This contrasts with recent work on open systems and information dynamics. On our account, autonomy is a matter of degree depending on the relative organization of the system and system environment interactions. A choice between third person openness and first person closure is not required.

Item Type:Journal (Paginated)
Keywords:autonomous systems, self-organization, function, consciousness, closure
Subjects:Biology > Theoretical Biology
Psychology > Cognitive Psychology
Philosophy > Philosophy of Mind
ID Code:2289
Deposited By: Collier, Prof John
Deposited On:21 Jun 2002
Last Modified:11 Mar 2011 08:54

References in Article

Select the SEEK icon to attempt to find the referenced article. If it does not appear to be in cogprints you will be forwarded to the paracite service. Poorly formated references will probably not work.

Auyang, Sunny (2000) Mind in Everyday Life and Cognitive Science. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

Bickhard, M.H. (1993) Representational Content in Humans and Machines. Journal of Experimental and Theoretical Artificial Intelligence 5: 285-333.

Christensen, W.D. and Mark Bickhard (submitted) The Process Dynamics of Normative Function, Mind.

Collier, John (1999) Autonomy in anticipatory systems: significance for functionality, intentionality and meaning. In: Computing Anticipatory Systems, CASYS'98 - Second International Conference, edited by D. M. Dubois, American Institute of Physics, Woodbury, New York, AIP Conference Proceedings 465, pp. 75-81,

Collier, John (2000) Autonomy and Process Closure as the Basis for Functionality. Closure: Emergent Organizations and their Dynamics, edited by Jerry L.R. Chandler and Gertrudis van de Vijver, Volume 901of the Annals of the New York Academy of Science: 280-291, /papers/casys98.pdf.

Collier, John (forthcoming 2004) Self-organization, Individuation and Identity. Revue Internationale de Philosophie.

Collier, John and C.A. Hooker (1999) Complexly Organised Dynamical Systems. Open Systems and Information Dynamics, 6: 241-302, department/pl/compsys/publications/Cods.pdf

Maturana, H.R. (1988) Reality: the Search for Objectivity Or the Quest for A Compelling Argument. The Irish Journal of Psychology: 25-82.

Maturana, H.R. and F. Varela (1980) Autopoiesis and Cognition. Dordrecht: Reidel.

Rosen, R. (1991) Life Itself. New York: Columbia University Press.

Varela, F.J. (1979) The Principles of Biological Autonomy. New York: North Holland.

Varela, F.J (1996a) The Specious Present: A Neurophenomenology of Time Consciousness. Naturalizing Phenomenology: Issues in Contemporary Phenomenology and Cognitive Science. Edited by Jean, Petitot, Francisco J. Varela, Bernard Pachoud and Jean-Michel Roy. Stanford: Stanford University Press, Chapter 9, pp.266-329.

Varela, F.J (1996b). Neurophenomenology : A Methodological Remedy for the Hard Problem, Journal of Consciousness Studies, J.Shear (Ed.) Special Issues on the Hard Problems.

Varela, F. J., Thompson, E., and Rosch, E. (1991) The Embodied Mind: Cognitive Science and Human Experience, Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.


Repository Staff Only: item control page