Autopoiesis and Transaction
- Transactions of the Charles S. Peirce Society: A Quarterly Journal in American Philosophy
- Indiana University Press
- Volume 53, Number 2, Spring 2017
- pp. 312-334
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- Additional Information
In this paper I argue that aspects of Deweyan pragmatism can and should be reconstructed in light of work in biological systems research. My claim is that Maturana and Varela's concept of autopoiesis captures better than Dewey and Bentley's characterization of transaction those phenomena that Dewey highlighted in systems that exhibit growth, including but not limited to living organisms. I argue that this reconstruction can help us to think more clearly about some poorly understood aspects of classical pragmatism, to better address contemporary problems involving boundaries, communities, and the relations of parts to wholes, and that this is a less problematic alternative than the linguistic pragmatism offered by neo-pragmatists.