Reminds me of Maturana's ideas.... It's the First IEEE International Conference on Self-Adaptive and Self-Organizing Systems, Boston, Mass., USA, July 9-11, 2007.
Self-adaptive systems work in a top-down manner. They evaluate their own global behavior and change it when the evaluation indicates that they are not accomplishing what they were intended to do, or when better functionality or performance is possible. Such systems typically operate with an explicit internal representation of themselves and their global goals.
Self-organizing systems work bottom-up. They are composed of a large number of components that interact according to simple and local rules. The global behavior of the system emerges from these local interactions, and it is difficult to deduce properties of the global system by studying only the local properties of its parts. Such systems do not use internal representations of global properties or goals; they are often inspired by biological or sociological phenomena.
.... and this led me to an interesting quote from Heinz von Foerster on "disciplines"...
I would recommend to drop disciplinarity wherever one can. Disciplines are an outgrowth of academia. In academia you appoint somebody and then in order to give him a name he must be a historian, a physicist, a chemist, a biologist, a biophysicist; he has to have a name. Here is a human being: Joe Smith -- he suddenly has a label around the neck: biophysicist. Now he has to live up to that label and push away everything that is not biophysics; otherwise people will doubt that he is a biophysicist. If he's talking to somebody about astronomy, they will say "I don't know, you are not talking about your area of competence, you're talking about astronomy, and there is the department of astronomy, those are the people over there," and things of that sort. Disciplines are an aftereffect of the institutional situation.
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