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Swenson, R. and Turvey, M.T. (1991). Thermodynamic Reasons for Perception-Action Cycles. Ecological Psychology, 3(4), 317-348. (Also in Japanese: Translated and reprinted in Perspectives on Affordances, M. Sasaki (ed.). Tokyo: University of Tokyo Press, 1998 )
Abstract - An argument is developed to show that the origin and evolution of the perceptual guidance of movements and the movement enhancement of opportunities to perceive, that is, perception-action cycles, have a direct and deep connection with thermodynamic principles. The cornerstones of the argument are: (a) maximum entropy production as a physical selection principle (thermodynamic fileds will behave in such a fashion as to get to the final state - minimize the field potential or maximize the entropy - at the fastest possible rate given the constraints); (b) the inexorability of order production (order production is inexorable because ordered flow produces entropy faster than disordered); (c) evolution as a global phenonomenon (the Earth system at its highest level evolves as a single global entity); and (d) information in Gibson's law-based, specificational sense (invariant relations exist between higher order properties of structured energy distributions and their environmental sources). In the coordination of self-organizing dynamics with information in the specificational sense, access is provided to otherwise inaccessible opportunities to produce ordered flow and to dissipate, thereby, the geo-cosmic potential at faster rates. The progressive emergence of perception-action cycles in the evolution of the Earth as a global entity is the lawful product of opportunistic physics: There was no other way to produce the collecitve (ordered) states that would engender these higher levels of dissipation. Perception-action cycles express higher order symmetries of the world itself, in its own becoming. Perception-action cycles is the physics at these higher levels.

 

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