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Upshot: The target article suggested that Ashby’s device, the homeostat, embodies and illustrates a conception of life as a passive-contingent phenomenon. It advocated renewed experiments with updated and extended versions of his device that would allow us to understand better what passive-contingent life “would be like.” In assessing the proposal, we should be particularly careful when dealing with the concept of “passivity,” and we should not mistake the proposed theoretical exploration for a substantial metaphysical thesis about life in general.
Franchi S. (2013) Author’s response: Is the homeostat a passive machine? Is life a passive phenomenon? Constructivist Foundations 9(1): 115–124. http://constructivist.info/9/1/115
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