Comparative enactivism: A set theoretic analysis to detect different forms of causal closure in self-maintaining systems
Dobromir Dotov and Tom Froese
Among the charges associated with addressing the biological foundations of enactivism is the need to ground the notion of autonomy on observable physical phenomena. What are the physics of the self-maintenance that biological systems exhibit? Are there physical principles that distinguish self-maintaining from maintained systems, especially in light of the thermodynamic requirements of biological systems? We revisit here one such proposed principle, namely that a fundamental physical drive towards increasing biological complexity is the tendency for a system to restructure its internal organization so as to increase the rate at which energy from the surrounding environment (heat bath) is dissipated by the system. In doing so we also propose to use the tools of nonwellfounded set theory as a method for what we call comparative enactivism. Motivation for this proposal comes from the realization that the field at large is driven by several shared intuitions such as several different vaguely congruent notions of self-organization and circular causality that, however, need formal comparison in order to make more systematic the various influences of enactivism.