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ALLOPOIESIS 1)2)

The production by a network of interrelated component-producing processes of a system, which does not however becomes able to thereafter reproduce its components and processes. Adapted after M. ZELENY and N. PIERRE, 1976, p.150)

According to these authors: "� the actual realization of such systems is determined by processes which do not enter into their (own) organization. They are non-autonomous, since their realization and longevity as unities are not related to their operation" (Ibid)

In another paper, ZELENY states: "Allopoietic systems are organizationally open. They produce something different from themselves" (1977, p.14)

Allopoiesis is of course the opposite of autopoieisis, which implies organizational closure and thus, self-reproduction.

ZELENY and PIERRE give as examples of allopoietic systems "crystals, formal hierarchies and concentration camps" (Ibid)

Complex artifacts as for example cars or planes or machine-tools seem still more allopoietic: they are not self-created and are controlled from outside.

However, if the allopoietic system is to be really a system, it must at the same time be autopoietic in order to maintain its identity and coherence. This would be possible if we admit that the boundaries or other subsystems transform inputs into internally fitting elements, i.e. integrates them into the organizational closure cycle, while producing outputs by an inverse transformation. Some of J.G. MILLER 20 critical subsystems do just that.

According to H. MATURANA, an observer may treat an autopoietic system as if it were allopoietic by considering the perturbating agent as an input and the modifications undergone by the organism (which maintain its autopoiesis) as the output (1974, p.425). This is, for example, the way of traditional psychiatry.

However, this treatment does not reveal the autopoietic organization of the system.

1) general information

2) methodology or model

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