Minimalism is a useful element in the constructivist arsenal against objectivism. By reducing actions and sensory feedback to a bare minimum, it becomes possible to obtain a complete description of the sensory-motor dynamics; and this in turn reveals that the object of perception does not pre-exist in itself, but is actually constituted during the process of observation. In this paper, this minimalist approach is deployed for the case of the recognition of “the Other.” It is shown that the perception of another intentional subject is based on properties that are intrinsic to the joint perceptual activity itself.
Purpose: This is an attempt to define constructivism in a pluralistic way. It categorizes constructivist work within a three-dimensional space rather than along one dimension only. Practical implications: The interdisciplinary definition makes it possible to perceive the rather heterogeneous constructivist community as a coherent and largely consistent scientific effort to provide answers to demanding complex problems. Furthermore it gives authors of Constructivist Foundation the opportunity to locate their own position within the community. Conclusion: I offer a catalogue of ten points that outline the constructivist program. Each of these aspects invites authors to extensively reflect on it and to approach it from their disciplinary background to do work in any of the types of investigations the journal covers.
Excerpt: Ich beginne diese Erläuterungen mit wahrnehmungs- und erkenntnistheoretischen Überlegungen, die als (empirisch gestützte) kognitionstheoretische Grundlage des Radikalen Konstruktivismus angesehen werden können. Danach stelle ich die philosophischen Konsequenzen dieser Modelle dar und wende mich abschließend der Aufnahme und Verarbeitung radikal konstruktivistischer Vorstellungen in verschiedenen Forschungsdisziplinen zu, um die interdisziplinäre Fruchtbarkeit konstruktivistischen Denkens exemplarisch zu illustrieren.
In the last two decades an intellectual movement associated with the term “second order cybernetics” has taken shape within the systems theory and cybernetics community. The ideas associated with this movement promise to have an important impact on the philosophy of science. However, the ideas have spread slowly. This paper reviews the strategies that have so far been employed in attempts to win acceptance for second order cybernetics. Four strategies are discussed: develop the new point of view; develop applications of the new ideas to show their usefulness; reconstruct the philosophy of science incorporating the new ideas; and contrast the philosophical origins of cybernetics with that of the dominant scientific world view.
In recent years the field of cybernetics has been described as consisting of two bodies of work created in two time periods: first order cybernetics from the late 1940s until about 1975, and second order cybernetics from the mid 1970s to the present. Each period lasted about 25 years. What comes next? I shall describe here what I think comes next and how the new point of view emerged, at least in my own thinking. Relevance: Second order cybernetics was in part an effort to reform science itself by adding attention to the observer. What comes after second order cybernetics is related to the evolution of science and the evolution of constructivism.
From time to time, a small group of people makes an effort to transform society by promoting a set of ideas. Examples include any revolutionary or liberation movement, a new theory within the social sciences, or a new political or social program. This paper argues that in order for an intellectual movement to be successful, both the ideas and the tactics used to promote it must be suited to the society in which the movement occurs. Ideas that are rapidly and widely adopted in one society may have little impact in another society. To be accepted a new message must fit the local culture. Furthermore, the way that ideas are presented and advocated may be quite different in different societies. The intent of this paper is to add a consideration to the philosophy of science. At least in the social sciences theories should fit not only the phenomenon described but also the way the receiving society changes itself. Relevance: Second order cybernetics and constructivism are quite similar. The article describes second order cybernetics as an intellectual movement that has struggled for acceptance. The basic ideas of this intellectual movement are compared with the movement for communitarianism advocated by Amitai Etzioni.