The concepts of autopoiesis and evolution are difficult to connect in a satisfactory way. Various critical angles must be considered.
1) The autopoiesis of individuals: Autopoiesis seems to preclude any acquisition of new characters by individuals, as it implies organizational closure. Such is at least the case immediately after the creation of a new individual. However, impacts from the environment may still be received, which will potentially modify some characters, in very exceptional cases transmissible to the descendants. If otherwise, no evolution (nor genetic engineering) should be possible.
2) Variability of a population: Genetic recombination allows populations variability, but then only within the limits of the global genetic stock in existence. However, this stock may have been potentially impoverished or, on the contrary increased by the effects of inheritance by some individuals of mutations undergone under impacts from the environment, received by individuals of a former generation.
3) Effects of mutations: Lethal mutations are those which destroy the viability of new individuals for not being compatible with their basic control subsystem. Acceptable ones are those compatible with the constraints proper to the species and, as such, "written" in the control subsystem of the individuals (See the concept of "Stellar system" of A. MALINOWSKY).
4) Radiative evolution: If acceptable mutations are to become registered within the control subsystem and in accordance with the already existing constraints proper to the species, then every species may become the origin of a wide variety of new species. However, as the species control subsystem (partially represented in every individual) is autopoietic (i.e. organizationally closed), it will never – at least in natural conditions – be possible, starting from the present type, to regress to former types.
5) Mega-innovation by association : It seems that, at some very infrequent times in the process of evolution, the association of numerous similar individuals, grouped within different functional units, produced the emergence of heterogeneous systems of a higher degree of complexity. In such systems a higher order central control subsystem is needed and it seems to surge spontaneously (i.e., through a process still not yet quite well understood). The present global transformation of mankind into a hypercomplex global system is, possibly, an example.
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Bertalanffy Center for the Study of Systems Science (2020). Title of the entry. In Charles François (Ed.), International Encyclopedia of Systems and Cybernetics (2). Retrieved from www.systemspedia.org/[full/url]
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