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Open peer commentary on the article “Homeostats for the 21st Century? Simulating Ashby Simulating the Brain” by Stefano Franchi. Upshot: Franchi argues that Ashby’s homeostat can be usefully understood as a thought experiment to explore the theory that life is fundamentally heteronomous. While I share Franchi’s interpretation, I disagree that this theory of life is a promising alternative that is at odds with most of the Western philosophical tradition. On the contrary, heteronomy lies at the very core of computationalism, and this is precisely what explains its persistent failure to construct life-like agents.
Froese T. (2013) Ashby’s passive contingent machines are not alive: Living beings are actively goal-directed. Constructivist Foundations 9(1): 108–109. http://constructivist.info/9/1/108
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