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Self-Organization in Relation to Several Similar Concepts: Are the Boundaries

Summary: Self-Organization in Relation to Several
Similar Concepts: Are the Boundaries
to Self-Organization Indistinct?
LS Biologie I, Universitašt Regensburg, Universitaštsstrasse 31, D-93040 Regensburg, Germany
Abstract. Self-organization is a concept and phenomenon
whereby system-level patterns spontaneously arise solely
from interactions among subunits of the system. Focusing
on self-organization at the organismal level, I ask the ques-
tion: are the boundaries to self-organization indistinct? Af-
ter reviewing a number of published definitions of self-
organization, I explore the conceptual boundaries among
self-organization and two similar concepts, stigmergy and
self-assembly. I highlight borderline cases that may blur the
distinction among these and suggest that they may indeed be
conceptually indistinct and difficult to separate in practice.
Consequently, I propose a classification scheme based upon
three aspects: whether the stimuli to which individuals
respond are quantitative or qualitative, whether positive
feedback is involved, and whether interindividual interac-


Source: Anderson, Carl - Synthetic Intelligence, Qbit, LLC, Bethesda, MD


Collections: Environmental Sciences and Ecology; Engineering; Mathematics