Self-organisation is a process by which larger scale order is formed in a system through the promotion of fluctuations at a smaller scale via processes inherent in the system dynamics, modulated by interactions between the system and its surroundings. The self in self-organisation presents certain problems: 1) What is the self that organises? 2) Why is it a self? 3) What is it for a process to be inherent to the system dynamics? 4) What does it mean for interactions with the surroundings to modulate rather than determine or control? Self-organisation appears to require a sort of lifting oneself by the bootstraps without having even boots at the beginning. Self-organisation thus appears to be an oxymoron, or at least a misnomer.
I address this problem by considering the logic of individuation for natural systems and their properties, arguing for the unique utility of a dynamically based unity relation. This is followed by a discussion of the exemplary Bénard cell convection, and some other cases that diverge in important respects. I finish with an analysis of the requirements for self organisation, and discuss how these requirements entail that self-organising systems are both self-producing and self-maintaining in a clear and important sense: the very process of self organisation implies individuation of the entity formed. I conclude with some remarks on how more developed multilayered self-organising and self-interacting systems can lead towards autonomy and a fuller sense of self control, near to, but not precisely what Maturana and Varela call autopoiesis.