The basic autopoietic phenomenon predicted for this system is the possibility of realising dynamic cell-like structures which, on an ongoing basis, produce the conditions for their own maintenance. Such a system would consist of a closed chain (membrane) of L particles enclosing one or more K particles. Because S particles can permeate through the membrane, there can be ongoing production of L particles. Since these cannot escape from the membrane, this will result in the build up of a relatively high concentration of L particles. On an ongoing basis, the membrane will rupture as a result of disintegration of component L particles. Because of the high concentration of L particles inside the membrane, there should be a high probability that one of these will drift to the rupture site and effect a repair, before the K particle(s) escape, thus re-establishing precisely the conditions allowing the build up of that high concentration of L particles.
A secondary phenomenon which may arise is the spontaneous establishment of an autopoietic system from a randomised initial arrangement of the particles.
Clearly, the issue of spontaneous formation does not arise unless the system actually supports autopoietic organisation. In this sense the phenomenon of autopoietic organisation is logically prior to spontaneous formation (though chronologically following from it). For this reason, the phenomenon of spontaneous formation will not be considered further in this paper. Instead, in all the experiments reported, a putatively autopoietic entity will be artificially introduced into the system; the question at issue will be whether this entity succeeds in realising the autopoietic reaction network already described.
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Timestamp: Tue Apr 22 22:10:03 GMT 1997