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Glasersfeld E. von (1974) Jean Piaget and the radical constructivist epistemology
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Notes towards Uniting Actor-Network Theory and Josef Mitterer’s Non-dualizing Philosophy.
Fulltext at http://cepa.info/98
To show the convergences between Josef Mitterer’s non-dualizing way of speaking and actor-network theory.
Comparative analysis of Mitterer’s non-dualizing philosophy and actor-network philosophy.
Profound convergences between the two accounts may lead to a unified account that could redefine traditional philosophical problems.
The paper extends the range of Mitterer’s non-dualizing philosophy and actor-network theory enabling both to face new problems. Among them, extended non-dualizing philosophy may undergo empirical investigations.
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Promoting scientific dialogue as a lifelong learning process.
In: F. Darbellay, M. Cockell, J. Billotte & F. Waldvogel (ed.) A vision of transdisciplinarity; Laying foundations for a world knowledge dialogue. Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Press / CRC Press, Lausanne: 94–102.
The aim of this paper is to reconsider some of the stakes involved in the dialogue between sciences and between scientists, considering it as a complex and critical learning process. Dialogue – as conversation, expression, performance and negotiation – can be conceived in several ways. It carries both an epistemic and an experiential side. It involves simultaneously heterogeneous theories and identities. Because it involves fragmented scientific languages, it also requires a shared vision. But above all, what seems critical to acknowledge is that dialogue is a matter of transformation. And because transformation is also a matter of learning, the promotion of dialogue between sciences should be perceived as a virtuous spiral involving: instrumental learning (to dialogue), communicational learning (what we mean by dialoguing) and emancipatory learning (to challenge our core assumptions about dialogue and sciences). Considering the evolution of sciences as a double process embedded in the production of knowledge and the self-development of researchers raises the question of how to conceive simultaneously the relationships between these two major stakes. From a practical point of view, considering scientific dialogue as a lifelong learning process would finally suggest the management of forums like the World Knowledge Dialogue (WKD) as a privileged educational opportunity to be designed following what is known about science as a social practice and about researchers as adult learners. Based on the first edition of this forum, four suggestions are finally considered: favoring heterogeneity; valorizing formal knowledge as well as lived experience; acknowledging the learning dimension involved in the process of sharing; and confronting professional experience with knowledge produced about sciences. Inspired by Edgar Morin’s constructivist and non-dualistic position, this paper explores its practical stakes by revisiting the practice of transdisciplinary research and by considering the relationships between the process of knowledge construction and researchers’ self-development as a lifelong learning process.
Three generations of complexity theories: Nuances and ambiguities.
Educational Philosophy and Theory 40(1): 66–82.
Fulltext at http://cepa.info/330
The contemporary use of the term ‘complexity’ frequently indicates that it is considered a uniﬁed concept. This may lead to a neglect of the range of different theories that deal with the implications related to the notion of complexity. This paper, integrating both the English and the Latin traditions of research associated with this notion, suggests a more nuanced use of the term, thereby avoiding simpliﬁcation of the concept to some of its dominant expressions only. The paper further explores the etymology of ‘complexity’ and offers a chronological presentation of three generations of theories that have shaped its uses; the epistemic and socio-cultural roots of these theories are also introduced. From an epistemological point of view, this reﬂection sheds light on the competing interpretations underlying the deﬁnition of what is considered as complex. Also, from an anthropological perspective it considers both the emancipatory as well as the alienating dimensions of complexity. Based on the highlighted ambiguities, the paper suggests in conclusion that contributions grounded in contemporary theories related to complexity, as well as critical appraisals of their epistemological and ethical legitimacy, need to follow the recursive feedback loops and dynamics that they constitute. In doing so, researchers and practitioners in education should consider their own practice as a learning process that does not require the reduction of the antagonisms and the complementarities that shape its own complexity.
Emergence and Downward Causation in Contemporary Artificial Agents: Implications for their Autonomy and Some Design Guidelines.
Cybernetics & Human Knowing
Fulltext at http://cepa.info/3298
Contemporary research in artificial environments has marked the need for autonomy in artificial agents. Autonomy has many interpretations in terms of the field within which it is being used and analyzed, but the majority of the researchers in artificial environments are arguing in favor of a strong and life-like notion of autonomy. Departing from this point the main aim of this paper is to examine the possibility of the emergence of autonomy in contemporary artificial agents. The theoretical findings of research in the areas of living and cognitive systems, suggests that the study of autonomous agents should adopt a systemic and emergent perspective for the analysis of the evolutionary development of the notions/properties of autonomy, functionality, intentionality and meaning, as the fundamental and characteristic properties of a natural agent. An analytic indication of the functional emergence of these concepts and properties is provided, based on the characteristics of the more general systemic framework of second-order cybernetic and of the interactivist framework. The notion of emergence is a key concept in such an analysis which in turn provides the ground for the theoretical evaluation of the autonomy of contemporary artificial agents with respect to the functional emergence of their capacities. The fundamental problems for the emergence of genuine autonomy in artificial agents are critically discussed and some design guidelines are provided.
Computer als Modelle des Geistes. Über Simulation und das Gehirn als Modell des Designs von Computern.
Österreichische Zeitschrift für Geschichtswissenschaften
Fulltext at http://cepa.info/2310
The article considers the complexities of thinking about the computer as a model of the mind. It examines the computer as being a model of the brain in several very different senses of “model‘. On the one hand the basic architecture of the first modern stored-program computers was „modeled on“ the brain by John von Neumann. Von Neumann also sought to build a mathematical model of the biological brain as a complex system. A similar but different approach to modeling the brain was taken by Alan Turing, who on the one hand believed that the mind simply was a universal computer, and who sought to show how brain-like networks could self-organize into Universal Turing Machines. And on the other hand, Turing saw the computer as the universal machine that could simulate any other machine, and thus any particular human skill and thereby could simulate human intelligence. This leads to a discussion of the nature of “simulation” and its relation to models and modeling. The article applies this analysis to a written correspondence between Ashby and Turing in which Turing urges Ashby to simulate his cybernetic Homeostat device on the ACE computer, rather than build a special machine.
From mechanisms of adaptation to intelligence amplifiers: the philosophy of W. Ross Ashby.
In: Husbands P., Holland O. & Wheeler M. (eds.)
The mechanical mind in history
. MIT Press, Cambridge MA: 149–184.
Fulltext at http://cepa.info/2329
This chapter sketches an intellectual portrait of W. Ross Ashby’s thought from his earliest work on the mechanisms of intelligence in 1940 through the birth of what is now called artificial intelligence (AI), around 1956, and to the end of his career in 1972. It begins by examining his earliest published works on adaptation and equilibrium, and the conceptual structure of his notions of the mechanisms of control in biological systems. In particular, it assesses his conceptions of mechanism, equilibrium, stability, and the role of breakdown in achieving equilibrium. It then proceeds to his work on refining the concept of “intelligence,” on the possibility of the mechanical augmentation and amplification of human intelligence, and on how machines might be built that surpass human understanding in their capabilities. Finally, the chapter considers the significance of his philosophy and its role in cybernetic thought.
Obey Society, and Note Your Resistance.
Fulltext at http://cepa.info/81
Open peer commentary on the target article “Who Conceives of Society?” by Ernst von Glasersfeld.
The question I am most interested in is the question raised by von Glasersfeld as to whether Luhmann’s talk of “eigen-values” of society actually is, or is not, just a loose metaphor as von Glaserfeld maintains by emphasizing that in the society of human beings “the recursion of operations of observation or description is not governed by fixed rules, unlike the recursion of functions that produce mathematical eigenwerte” (§44, Fn. 4). Indeed, how are we to conceive of the possible eigen-values of society? And who are we to possibly be able to conceive of possible eigen-values?
The Network Synthesis of Social Action II: Understanding Catjects.
Cybernetics & Human Knowing
Fulltext at http://cepa.info/3366
This is the second paper of a pair of two, the first one of which looked at a sociological theory of a computer-based future society distinct from earlier language-based ‘primitive’ society, writing-based ancient society, and printing press-based modern society. If the form of the next society’s culture will be the Spencer-Brownian form as we suggest, then sociological theory will have to reformulate itself in terms of an analysis of network synthesis. We look at possible reasons to do so, stemming above all from demands to be able to describe and understand how social actors are able to frame indeterminacy, present a possible model of social action, and advance the idea that it may be useful to base social analysis neither on subjects nor on objects but on a hypokeimon which we here propose to christen ‘catjects’. Catjects describe how a network synthesis comes about.
Adaptivity: From metabolism to behavior.
Fulltext at http://cepa.info/4514
In this article, we propose some fundamental requirements for the appearance of adaptivity. We argue that a basic metabolic organization, taken in its minimal sense, may provide the conceptual framework for naturalizing the origin of teleology and normative functionality as it appears in living systems. However, adaptivity also requires the emergence of a regulatory subsystem, which implies a certain form of dynamic decoupling within a globally integrated, autonomous system. Thus, we analyze several forms of minimal adaptivity, including the special case of motility. We go on to explain how an open-ended complexity growth of motility-based adaptive agency, namely, behavior, requires the appearance of the nervous system. Finally, we discuss some implications of these ideas for embodied robotics.
naturalist approach to normativity
decoupling of the nervous system
definition of adaptive behavior
Modelling autonomy: Simulating the essence of life and cognition.
Fulltext at http://cepa.info/3859
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