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Glasersfeld E. von (1974) Jean Piaget and the radical constructivist epistemology
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Ceci n’est pas Heinz von Foerster.
Fulltext at http://cepa.info/3
In 1995, the Leo Apostel Centre in Brussels, Belgium, organised an international conference called “Einstein meets Magritte”. Nobel prize winner Ilya Prigogine held the opening lecture at the conference, and Heinz von Foerster’s lecture was scheduled last… Heinz von Foerster was enchanted by the conference theme and – in the spirit of surrealist Belgian painter René Magritte – had chosen an appropriate title for his talk: “Ceci n’est pas Albert Einstein”. … [H]e was delighted to grant the organisers the following interview, in which he tells us about an even longer journey – that of his remarkable life and scientific career.
Heinz von Foerster
Heinz von foerster in the art department: A collide-oscope in four parts.
Fulltext at http://cepa.info/1011
To provide illumination of how systems tend to produce an output nobody expected. It is in these moments that observers may learn something about their own expectations. Design/methodology/approach – The paper discusses two cases in the history of art: faked Vermeer paintings and a test Heinz von Foerster did in the art department at the University of Illinois.
McLuhan’s notion of the “collide-oscope” is applied to the way Heinz von Foerster (ab)uses images in his own texts; furthermore it is applied to the way the BCL was organized. The formal structure of the “collide-oscope” offers a model of perception. Originality/value – Provides a discussion of a fundamental message of cybernetics – that we cannot escape collisions and disturbances. They are its essence.
This paper relates to the second-order cybernetics of Heinz von Foerster.
Bishop J. M.
Nasuto S. J.
Second-order cybernetics and enactive perception.
Fulltext at http://cepa.info/835
To present an account of cognition integrating second-order cybernetics (SOC) together with enactive perception and dynamic systems theory. Methodology – The paper presents a brief critique of classical models of cognition then outlines how integration of SOC, enactive perception and dynamic systems theory can overcome some weaknesses of the classical paradigm.
Presents the critique of evolutionary robotics showing how the issues of teleology and autonomy are left unresolved by this paradigm although their solution ﬁts within the proposed framework.
The paper highlights the importance of genuine autonomy in the development of artiﬁcial cognitive systems. It sets out a framework within which the robotic research of cognitive systems could succeed.
There are no immediate practical implications but see research implications. Originality/value – It joins the discussion on the fundamental nature of cognitive systems and emphasises the importance of autonomy and embodiment.
This paper draws explicit links between second order cybernetics, enactivism and dynamic systems accounts of cognition.
The construction of information and communication: A cybersemiotic reentry into Heinz von Foerster’s metaphysical construction of second-order cybernetics.
This article praises the development of second order cybernetics by von Foerster, Maturana, and Varela as an important step in deepening our un- derstanding of the bio-psychological foundation of the dynamics of information, cognition, and communication. Luhmann’s development of the theory into the realm of social communication is seen as a necessary and important move. The triple autopoietic differentiation between biological, psychologi- cal, and social-communicative autopoiesis and the introduction of a technical concept of meaning is central. Finally, the paper shows that second order cybernetics lacks explicit and ontological concepts of emotion, meaning, and a concept of signs. C. S. Peirce’s theory is introduced for this purpose. It is then shown, through Varela’s development of Spencer Brown’s ‘Laws of Form’ from a dual to a dynamic triadic categorical structure, that both theories are triadic and second order, and therefore can be fruitfully fused to a Cybersemiotics.
The use of the concept autopoiesis in the theory of viable systems.
Systems Research and Behavioral Science
Fulltext at http://cepa.info/2808
This paper examines the application and usage of the idea of autopoiesis – a theory of living systems – within the context of viable systems theory. In recent years the term autopoiesis has extended beyond the domain of cellular biology where it originated and is now used extensively across a range of different disciplines, fields of enquiry, and professional practice. The paper seeks to provide clarification of a distinction between viable and autopoietic systems that appears to have become somewhat clouded as a result of the transfer of ideas and terminology from one domain to another.
Dash D. P.
Improving traffic behaviour: Exploring a self-guided learning approach.
Indian Journal of Transport Management
The paper departs from conventional wisdom in traffic engineering to address the issue of traffic safety from a behavioural and social science perspective. It demonstrates how traffic users can learn to improve their own understanding and behaviour, through a well-designed small-group intervention process. The approach relies on the capacity of traffic users to support each other in improving their appreciation of traffic complexities and cope with it better through a process of self-guided learning. The process involved exposing five different groups of traffic users to different versions of a multi-stage group exercise and assessing the effects over a period of time. The main findings were the following: (i) The very fact of going through one of the group exercises seems to produce some self-reported goal-fulfilment and behavioural improvement, irrespective of the actual design of the process; (ii) Group processes promoting appreciation of traffic complexity and goal setting appear to trigger self-guided learning and behavioural change. The experience strongly indicates the potential of well-designed processes in bringing about desirable improvements in traffic behaviour. However, in order to achieve any significant effect at the larger social scale, the process needs to be replicated at multiple centres, on a regular basis.
The article adopts the stance of second-order cybernetics in recognising the capacity of traffic users to support each other in improving their appreciation of traffic complexities and eventually create a safe traffic environment through a process of self-guided learning. It draws attention to a notion of “improvement” from the viewpoint of the traffic users themselves, rather than one determined externally.
de Waal F.
Primates, Monks, and the Mind: The Case of Empathy.
Journal of Consciousness Studies
Fulltext at http://cepa.info/2360
Di Paolo E.
Autopoiesis, adaptivity, teleology, agency.
Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences
Fulltext at http://cepa.info/2269
A proposal for the biological grounding of intrinsic teleology and sense-making through the theory of autopoiesis is critically evaluated. Autopoiesis provides a systemic language for speaking about intrinsic teleology but its original formulation needs to be elaborated further in order to explain sense-making. This is done by introducing adaptivity, a many-layered property that allows organisms to regulate themselves with respect to their conditions of viability. Adaptivity leads to more articulated concepts of behaviour, agency, sense-construction, health, and temporality than those given so far by autopoiesis and enaction. These and other implications for understanding the organismic generation of values are explored.
Di Paolo E. A.
“The phenomenon of life” by Hans Jonas.
Journal of the British Society for Phenomenology
Fulltext at http://cepa.info/4352
Value and emotion, which have been part and parcel of phenomenological thought, are now beginning to make headway in cognitive science. Their roots in organismic activity are in need of clarification, as is the connection between what an organism does and what it is. All of this makes it the right time to publish a new edition of Hans Jonas’s 1966 book The Phenomenon of Life and let the clarity of his single-stroke treatment of these questions illuminate current debates.
Dykstra Jr. D.
Against Realist Instruction.
Fulltext at http://cepa.info/6
Often radical constructivists are confronted with arguments why radical constructivism is wrong. The present work presents a radical constructivist alternative to such arguments: a comparison of the results of two instructional practices, the standard, realist-based instruction and a radical constructivist-based instruction, both in physics courses.
Evidence from many studies of student conceptions in standard instruction (Duit 2004) is taken into account. In addition, diagnostic data, pre and post instruction, were collected from over 1,000 students in multiple institutions across the U. S. over a period of about 15 years via an established diagnostic of conceptual understanding of motion and force.
Evidence from many studies of student conceptions in standard instruction (Duit, 2004) is that little or no change in student conceptions happens in standard instruction. About half the students in the particular study reported, all science and engineering majors, experienced standard, realist-based instruction and show an average effect size of 0.6 standard deviations and an average normalized gain of 15%. The other half of the students, none of whom were science and engineering majors, experienced radical constructivist-based instruction and show an average effect size over 2.5 standard deviations and an average normalized gain over 60%. Diagnostic pre scores were nearly the same for both groups.
The outcome, that students, neither science nor engineering majors, made changes in understanding foundational topics in physics far greater than science and engineering students, poses (1) an ethical challenge to the continued adherence to standard, realist-based instructional practices and (2) an intellectual challenge to the usefulness and appropriateness of the elitist-realist paradigm on which such standard instruction is based.
This radical constructivist argument uses the effect of paradigms to judge their pragmatic value, not their truth-value. Based on pragmatic value, radical constructivism results in superior outcomes when applied to physics instruction. The approach to instruction can be applied generally in education.
Page 52, Column 2, Line 33: The first sentence should read: “Persons who appear to use the pots view do not generally make much conceptual distinction between motion and changing motion; that is…”
On page 52, middle column, at the beginning of the third paragraph the following words are missing: "Persons who appear to use the pots…"
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