Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences

, Volume 4, Issue 4, pp 429–452 | Cite as

Autopoiesis, Adaptivity, Teleology, Agency

  • Ezequiel A. Di PaoloEmail author


A proposal for the biological grounding of intrinsic teleology and sense-making through the theory of autopoiesis is critically evaluated. Autopoiesis provides a systemic language for speaking about intrinsic teleology but its original formulation needs to be elaborated further in order to explain sense-making. This is done by introducing adaptivity, a many-layered property that allows organisms to regulate themselves with respect to their conditions of viability. Adaptivity leads to more articulated concepts of behaviour, agency, sense-construction, health, and temporality than those given so far by autopoiesis and enaction. These and other implications for understanding the organismic generation of values are explored.


Adaptive Process Structural Coupling Negative Tendency Autopoietic System Enactive Approach 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.COGS, CCNR, Department of InformaticsUniversity of SussexBrightonUK

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