Open peer commentary on the target article “From Objects to Processes: A Proposal to Rewrite Radical Constructivism” by Siegfried J. Schmidt. Upshot: Interested in the practical side of philosophy, I tell a story as an example of the never-ending process of life and add some questions: which stories can we tell that undermine and complement our traditions, emotions, abstract rationality, and mainstream ideologies?
Purpose: This paper aims to introduce the reader to investigation of some aspects of investment decision making from a constructivist perspective. Approach: The constructivist perspective is introduced in its dual nature of epistemology and of modelization. From constructivist epistemology, the paper mentions the corollaries of theoretical pluralism and cognitive pragmatism. From Kruglanski and Ajzen’s lay epistemology theory, the paper presents in more detail a constructivist modelization for the study and improvement of formal processes of investment decision making. Findings: Beginning from the proposed framework, the paper indicates the lines for the development of a critical (or reflective) investment decision-making attitude. This is an investment decision making which is able to reflect on its own constructs and cognitive processes in order to develop investment processes with a higher “constructivist awareness” and efficacy. Value: The proposed modelization can contribute to the work of those dedicated to the development of better formal processes of investment. The paper presents three examples of possible applications potentially useful for the improvement of the processes of asset valuation of value investors. Relevance: This paper aims to introduce the reader to investigation of some aspects of investment decision making from a constructivist perspective.
Upshot: Massumi innovatively interlinks poststructuralist theory with ideas from cognitive psychology and Luhmann’s systems theory to deconstruct rational choice as the founding myth of the liberal economy. His politically charged constructivism explores socio-economic reproduction as a process of constant re-stabilization between the openness of affective response and the closure of rationality. Defying social determination, Massumi shows how affect can constitute a source of potential change when modulated trans-individually in response to political events.
Using the updated Google Book corpus dataset generated in July 2012, we analyze the largest available corpus of digitalized books to review social macro trends such as the secularization, politicization, economization, and mediatization of society. These familiar trend statements are tested through a comparative analysis of word frequency time-series plots for the English, French, and German language area produced by means of the enhanced Google Ngram Viewer, the online graphing tool that charts annual word counts as found in the Google Book corpus. The results: a) confirm that the importance of the political system, religion, economy, and mass media features significant change in time and considerable regional differences and b) suggest that visions of economized or capitalist societies are intellectual artifacts rather than appropriate descriptions of society. Relevance: Social systems, functional differentiation, Niklas Luhmann, Google Ngram Viewer Using the updated Google Book corpus dataset generated in July 2012, we analyze the largest available corpus of digitalized books to review social macro trends such as the secularization, politicization, economization, and mediatization of society. These familiar trend statements are tested through a comparative analysis of word frequency time-series plots for the English, French, and German language area produced by means of the enhanced Google Ngram Viewer, the online graphing tool that charts annual word counts as found in the Google Book corpus. The results: a) confirm that the importance of the political system, religion, economy, and mass media features significant change in time and considerable regional differences and b) suggest that visions of economized or capitalist societies are intellectual artifacts rather than appropriate descriptions of society.
George Soros’s reflexivity theory is quite compatible with second order cybernetics. Indeed his work shows how to apply ideas in second order cybernetics to economics, finance, and political science. This paper briefly reviews three theories of reflexivity in cybernetics. It provides an introduction to Soros’s version of reflexivity theory and reviews applications in economics and finance. Soros’s approach to economics is based on different assumptions about information and about human behavior. His approach to finance is more holistic than most current work in finance. He does not emphasize mathematical models but rather sees finance as a human player game with himself as a participant. The paper concludes that Soros’s work is a very important contribution to and expansion of contemporary social science.
Heinz von Foerster proposed that the observer should be included in the domain of observation. He suggested that this approach to cybernetics be called second-order cybernetics. Heinz was primarily interested in understanding cognition, based on neurophysiology and mathematics. But there has also been strong interest in cybernetics as a theory of social systems. Using the “second order” idea for existing social science fields would focus attention on the role of the observer and on reflexive phenomena such as the effect of theories on what is being studied. This article considers how the field of economics might adopt the second order idea. Relevance: Second-order cybernetics, by interpreting self-reference as occurring in time, can serve as a guide to the social sciences for how to include reflexive phenomena in their theories.
Context: Due to its grounding in a simplistic core model, mainstream theoretical work in economics is heavily conditioned by a realist epistemic framework that may be viewed as the “paradogma” – sensu Mitterer – of economics. Problem: The contribution delineates theoretical developments on the basis of a realist epistemology and their problem-laden consequences for the economic sciences. The subsequent critical discussion seeks to clarify whether economic theory formation is a suitable field for the application of Mitterer’s non-dualist ideas. Method: In the context of a review of their historical background, the paper will explore the possibilities and limits of an application of Mitterer’s non-dualist argumentation to the economic sciences, and present a diagnosis of compatibility and a characterisation of necessary steps towards amplification. Results: It can be shown that the economic sciences would gain in expert knowledge and applicability by adopting the alternative of non-dualism, whose potential has been little appreciated so far. The solution to the meta-scientific problems caused by the pre-structuring of economics in terms of a realist epistemology seems at hand. To take up this new meta-scientific perspective, however, theoretical progress in both non-dualism and economics is required, particularly by paying more serious attention to the theoretical component of communication. Implications: Non-dualism can certainly be utilised by the economic sciences to induce radical innovations and conceptional revisions involving higher meta-scientific consistency. In future, pragmatic gaps will increasingly have to be filled conceptually in order to develop more highly-reflected economic theory formation and corresponding scientific practice. Hence the main idea is that economic actions are inevitably, but not exclusively, based on communication. Constructivist content: Theoretical approaches embracing epistemic relativism in the economic sciences will be properly assessed and developed further along the lines of a non-dualist conceptual revision on the basis of an ontology-free understanding of reality.
A newly emerging organizational mode shifts our thinking from the traditional vertical hierarchy of command to horizontal patterns of market-oriented networks of autonomous agents. This organizational mode is characterized by self-management, autonomy and self-sustainability, the trio of prerequisites for a successful and self-sustainable enterprise. Self-sustainable systems must be autopoietic, i.e., self-producing. They must be capable of producing themselves, not only of producing something else. Employees, managers and community stakeholders are striving to create a self-sustaining organizational milieu by pursuing decisional autonomy, self-management and shared participatory ownership. Like biological “amoebas,” they should adapt to the ever changing circumstances in terms of size, shape, function and interaction. Relevance: This paper builds on the theory of autopoietic systems based on the work of Maturana, Varela and Uribe.
The free-market economy is being continually challenged – by governments, monopolies, “too big to fail” enterprises, global banks and social experimentation. Crisis is still considered to be a failure of the capitalistic system rather than a failure of the politicized state and governmental institutions unable to abstain from interfering with free-market fundamentals. Crisis represents a necessary catharsis which periodically renews and regenerates prevailing business ecology. At the same time, especially with the current crisis, the system is undergoing fundamental transformation, change of paradigm and change of dominant business models. Transformations get naturally confounded with crises. Man’s failure and challenge is that we repeatedly fail to do the catharsis of crisis – without the crisis. Disentangling the phenomena of crisis from those of transformation is the main aim of this paper. We address the issues of unemployment in the post-crisis environment, especially in the U.S. We trace the difficulties to treating the economy as a deterministic machine while it behaves as an adaptive organism. Relevance: It is claimed that the theory of autopoiesis is applicable to social, business and management systems because they are mostly natural, spontaneous, self-organizing and self-equilibrating organisms, not mechanistic contrivances.
Advanced and mature societies are undergoing a fundamental transformation of their economic, political, technological and social lives. Developing countries are rapidly catching on and accelerating their participation in the transformation, which is equally rapidly becoming global. Yet, at the same time, the process of globalization itself is exhibiting signs of a reversal towards relocalization, i.e., rebounding after the strong global outbound of the past fifty years. The change of paradigms and change of dominant business models accompany such transformations. Yet transformations get naturally confounded with ongoing recessions and crises. Disentangling the phenomena of crisis from those of transformation remains a challenge, especially for politicians. In this paper we primarily address the issues of unemployment and the changing nature of employment in mature economies. Relevance: It is claimed that the autopoietic cycle of self-production or self-renewal forms the organization of all living and self-sustaining systems.