Autonomy means that there is a self (auto-) capable of creating the rules (-nomos) by which it behaves. Such systems are not purely determined by external forces. Often this is associated with goal-directedness, specifically, in the sense of a system that can maintain itself despite perturbations. However, we also feel autonomous when change is possible, such as breaking bad habits, escaping unfavourable circumstances, or creating social change. Our environment is not just an arena of perturbations from which we should shield ourselves, but also a place full of possibilities. Additionally, goals may be temporal, and we may discard them once they are reached.
In this seminar, Evo Busseniers will present a model that demonstrates how a system can transform through its internal dynamics, rather than being changed by external forces. To start, he will discuss the limitations of the current model, which portrays a goal-directed system as a resilient organization in the context of Chemical Organization Theory. Specifically, this model assumes that the system's primary objective is to maintain its current state. During the seminar, together with the participants, Evo will explore the concept of autonomous change through a game that provides a first-hand experience. After the game, they will delve into the details of a model that demonstrates how a system can change itself by creating new constraints that influence its behaviour. Finally, the seminar participants will apply these concepts to concrete cases in smaller groups. While online participation is possible, in-person attendance is encouraged.
About the speaker
Evo Busseniers is a mathematical anarchist who is currently working as a postdoctoral researcher on the project "The origin of goal-directedness" in CLEA. He researches what autonomy is, how it can emerge, and how systems can self-organize. He further loves making abstractions to imagine new worlds, and to create and play games.
The CLEA seminars are taking place simultaneously at the VUB campus in Etterbeek, Brussels, and online (via Zoom) and are open to everyone interested!
When. Friday May 12, 2023 from 14:00 until 16:00h
Where. VUB campus Etterbeek, room D.1.07.
Online. You can follow the seminar online via Zoom. You may need a Meeting ID and passcode to enter.
Zoom link: https://us06web.zoom.us/j/82757798426?pwd=em9sQlJDVjJYTEFRNk01dEJLWGxGUT09 Meeting ID: 827 5779 8426Passcode: 122127
Mailing list. If you want to be notified of our next seminars, you can register here to join the CLEA mailinglist.
Video of the seminar
This seminar was supported by the John Templeton Foundation through the grant ID61733 The Origins of Goal-Directedness.