Extremal properties and self-preserving behavior

Autores: Barrett, Nathaniel
Título de la revista: ADAPTIVE BEHAVIOR
ISSN: 1059-7123
Volumen: 28
Número: 2
Páginas: 113 - 118
Fecha de publicación: 2020
In this reply to the commentaries of Lyon and Swenson, I clarify the arguments of my article, ¿On the nature and origins of cognition as a form of motivated activity.¿ In particular, I focus on the nature of self-preserving behavior, considered not only as a basic and universal form of cognitive behavior but also as a key example of cognition as form of motivated activity. I clarify that my approach affirms the importance of self-preserving behavior but questions the widespread assumption that this and other varieties of motivated behavior can be explained as the product of homeostatic mechanisms. I suggest that extremal properties can not only do a better job of explaining homeostasis-like behaviors, but they can also be extended to other kinds of motivated behavior that are not homeostasis-like. Finally, I emphasize the explanatory promise of extremal properties with respect to fundamental questions about the emergence of order in living and nonliving systems.