Article published in:Mechanicism and Autonomy: What Can Robotics Teach Us About Human Cognition and Action?
Edited by Maria Eunice Quilici Gonzalez, Willem F.G. Haselager and Itiel E. Dror
[Pragmatics & Cognition 15:3] 2007
► pp. 547–571
Aristotle, autonomy and the explanation of behaviour
This paper examines Aristotle’s notion of autonomy and its implication for the mechanicism/autonomy debate. We introduce the basic principles of Aristotle’s scientific framework, including his theory of four causes for the explanation of nature. We draw parallels between these notions of autonomy and causation and autopoietic theory, dynamical systems and robotics, suggesting that they may be compatible with Aristotle’s framework. We argue that understanding the problem of design of autonomous robots may benefit from the consideration of integration of Aristotle’s causes, while robotics, in turn, may contribute to the debate providing a common ground for epistemological and ontological notions of autonomy.
Published online: 13 December 2007