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Self-Steered Self-Organization

(2003) Keijzer, Fred

Self-organization has become a well-established phenomenon in physics. It is
now also propagated as an important phenomenon in psychology. What is the
difference between these two forms of self-organization? One important way
in which these two forms are distinguished is by the additional presence of
some internal guiding force in the psychological case. Kelso in particular
defends such a two-component view on self-organization. I will refer to this
addition to mere physical self-organization as self-steering. This chapter
attempts to conceptualize the idea of self-steering. Kelso’s interpretation of
self-steering as intentional and informational forcing will be criticized. This
interpretation amounts to the invocation of an unexplained intentional force
that falls victim to many of the problems related to regular representationbased
cognitive science. Instead, I argue that the notion of self-steering is
wider and needs to be developed in its own right rather than being forced into
existing intentional or representational molds.


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