Phenomenal Segregation

Behaviour and function

  • See Rosenblueth (1943) for behavioural and functional approaches and hierarchy of behaviours.
  • In two different (non-intersecting) phenomenal domains – Function is internal while Behaviour is external (observable)
  • Function maintains behaviour?? (inside -> out). Prediction of future states of the environment, compared with actual sensory inputs.
  • Black box vs. White (transparent) box approach. BB approach not interested in the inner structure of the machine just the inherent logic of the behaviour (i.e. psychology). WB approach based on the observed (or assumed) internal structure of the machine (“subsystems”)

Maturana’s simple vs. composite unities:

A simple unity is a unity brought forth (by an observer) in an operation of distinction that constitutes it as a whole by specifying its properties as a collection of dimensions of interactions in the medium in which it is distinguished.

A composite unity is a unity distinguished as a simple unity that through further operations of distinction is decomposed by the observer into components that through their composition would constitute the original simple unity in the domain in which it is distinguished.
  • Structures such as a clock have functions but not behaviour. Only dynamical systems with memory exhibit behaviours.
  • Autopoiesis and internal (closed) circularity. Even a simple vending machine has internal closed circularity but there is no self-production (-maintenance) or evolution (growth).


  • Survival in a changing environment