The Open Cybernetics & Systemics Journal




(Discontinued)

ISSN: 1874-110X ― Volume 12, 2018

Constraints vs Controls


The Open Cybernetics & Systemics Journal , 2010, 4: 14-27

David L. Abel

Department of ProtoBioCybernetics/ProtoBioSemiotics, Director, The Gene Emergence Project, The Origin-of-Life Science Foundation, Inc., 113 Hedgewood Dr. Greenbelt, MD 20770-1610 USA.

Electronic publication date 23/6/2010
[DOI: 10.2174/1874110X01004010014]

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Abstract:

The terms constraints and controls should not be used interchangeably. Constraints refer to the cause-and-effect deterministic orderliness of nature, to local initial conditions, and to the stochastic combinatorial boundaries that limit possible outcomes. Bits, bifurcation points and nodes represent “choice opportunities”, not choices. Controls require deliberate selection from among real options. Controls alone steer events toward formal pragmatic ends. Inanimacy is blind to and does not pursue utility. Constraints produce no integrative or organizational effects. Only the purposeful choice of constraints, not the constraints themselves, can generate bona fide controls. Configurable switch-settings allow the instantiation of formal choice contingency into physicality. While configurable switches are themselves physical, the setting of these switches to achieve formal function is physicodynamically indeterminate—decoupled from and incoherent with physicodynamic causation. The mental choice of tokens (physical symbol vehicles) in a material symbol system also instantiates non physical formal Prescriptive Information (PI) into physicality.


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