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Glasersfeld E. von (1974) Jean Piaget and the radical constructivist epistemology
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Complexity, methodology and method: Crafting a critical process of research.
Complicity: An International Journal of Complexity and Education
Fulltext at http://cepa.info/920
This paper defines a theoretical framework aiming to support the actions and reflections of researchers looking for a “method” in order to critically conceive the complexity of a scientific process of research. First, it starts with a brief overview of the core assumptions framing Morin’s “paradigm of complexity” and Le Moigne’s “general system theory.” Distinguishing “methodology” and “method,” the framework is conceived based on three moments, which represent recurring stages of the spiraling development of research. The first moment focuses on the definition of the research process and its sub-systems (author, system of ideas, object of study and method) understood as a complex form of organization finalized in a specific environment. The second moment introduces a matrix aiming to model the research process and nine core methodological issues, according to a programmatic and critical approach. Using the matrix previously modeled, the third moment suggests conceiving of the research process following a strategic mindset that focuses on contingencies, in order to locate, share and communicate the path followed throughout the inquiry.
This paper provides the readers with a constructivist methodology of research inspired by Morin’s paradigm of complexity and Le Moigne’s general system theory.
Cybernetics of cybernetics competition the winning entry: Structure, environment, purpose, and a grand challenge for the ASC.
Cybernetics & Human Knowing
Fulltext at http://cepa.info/3579
This proposal is based on a view of the ASC as a system that consists of an organism that exists in, and operates purposefully on an environment. We propose changes to the organism and its environment. Our first proposal changes the structure of the ASC organism to make it explicitly and functionally second-order cybernetic. The second proposal changes the environment of influence of the ASC organism.
Aristotle and George Spencer-Brown.
Cybernetics & Human Knowing
Fulltext at http://cepa.info/3310
The paper deals with Aristotelian logic as the special case of more general epistemology and sociology of both science and common sense. The Aristotelian principles of identity, of noncontradiction, and of excluded middle are to be supplemented by the secondorder cybernetic, or cybernEthic principles of paradox, of ambivalence, and of control. In this paper we collect some ideas on how to evaluate the scope of Aristotelian logic with respect to the laws of thought they tried to determine and to do so within the historical moment of the impact of the invention of writing possibly triggering this determination. We look at some modern doubts concerning these laws and discovering an understanding of complexity that is not to be resumed under any principle of identity. The invention of sociology, epistemology, and the mathematics of communication follow suit in focusing not only on the observer but more importantly on the distinction between observers to further contextualize any talk of identities and operationalize both talk and fact of contradiction, paradox, and ambivalence.
Foreword: A mathematics of form, a sociology of observers.
Cybernetics & Human Knowing
Fulltext at http://cepa.info/3275
Constructivism contested: Implications of a genetic perspective in psychology.
Integrative Psychological and Behavioral Science
Constructivism is an approach to knowledge and learning that focuses on the active role of knowers. Sanchez and Loredo propose a classification of constructivist thinkers and address what they perceive to be internal problems of present-day constructivism. The remedy they propose is a return to the genetic constructivism of James Mark Baldwin, Jean Piaget and Lev Vygotsky. In this article we first raise the question of whether thinkers like Baldwin, Vygotsky, Maturana and Varela are adequately depicted as constructivists, and subsequently argue that constructivism is caught in an overly epistemic version of the subject/object dichotomy. We then introduce a genetic logic that is not based on the Hegelian dialectics of negation and mediation, but rather on the idea of the recursive consensual coordination of actions that give rise to stylized cultural practices. We argue that a genuinely genetic and generative psychology should be concerned with the multifarious and ever-changing nature of human “life” and not merely with the construction of knowledge about life.
The article deals with perceived “internal” problems of constructivist approaches and proposes a genetic and generative psychology that is centrally concerned with human life-as-lived and not merely with life-as-known. The article furthermore raises the question whether key thinkers like Vygotsky, Maturana and Varela and are adequately depicted as constructivists.
The epistemological meaning of Luhmann's critique of classical ontology.
Systema. Connecting matter, life, culture and technology
Fulltext at http://cepa.info/1126
This paper is a discussion of the sustainability of a concept of “world” compatible with the “operative constructivism” and the operative conception of observation of systems theory of according to Niklas Luhmann. The paper scrutinizes the concepts of observation of H. von Foerster, H. Maturana, G. Günther and N. Luhmann, providing the general framework of “operative constructivism.” Particularly, the paper will focus on N. Luhmann’s understanding of the role of observation in the constitution of the self-reference of the social systems of the modern society. The case of the “systems of art” will be briefly inspected. What place shall we concede to the idea of an “objective” world, according to the systems theory? Are systems “objective”? According to N. Luhmann, for the description of systems only operations are “objective.” However, an operation is not an entity, which means that we need to depict a new kind of “objects,” very different from the ’thing-objectivity” of the ancient metaphysics and different from the Cartesian concept of “res.” What does objectivity mean according to systems theory? This question was at stake in the formulation of N. Luhmann’s Die Gesellschaft der Gesellschaft: Society is “weder Subjekt noch Objekt.” This paper attempts to address this formula.
The paper deals with the epistemological explanation of second-order observations in social systems according to Niklas Luhmann’s systems theory. It clarifies the world vision of the constructivism movement.
A Conversation with My “Friend” Technology.
Cybernetics & Human Knowing
Fulltext at http://cepa.info/3525
ICT does not have the ability to integrate into the daily life of its users owing to its lack of both consensual communication commands and social skill. The daily use of multiple ICTs imposes dysfunctional communications on its users. This paper highlights the limits and dangers of ICT and focuses on its non-neutral nature. A first-order change is presented in the form of a communications secretary by introducing a top down approach to ICT centered on the end user’s needs. This change is required for humans to take responsibility for their place in the ICT link instead of passively being conditioned by the goals of technology, thus enabling a second-order shift to occur by changing the rules of ICT and hence the system itself.
Phenomenology and Embodied Action.
Fulltext at http://cepa.info/907
The enactivist tradition, out of which neurophenomenology arose, rejects various internalisms – including the representationalist and information-processing metaphors – but remains wedded to one further internalism: the claim that the structure of perceptual experience is directly, constitutively linked only to internal, brain-based dynamics.
I aim to reject this internalism and defend an alternative analysis.
The paper presents a direct-realist, externalist, sensorimotor account of perceptual experience. It uses the concept of counterfactual meaningful action to defend this view against various objections.
This account of experience matches certain first-person features of experience better than an internalist account could. It is fully tractable as “normal science.”
The neuroscientific conception of brain function should change from that of internal representation or modelling to that of enabling meaningful, embodied action in ways that constitutively involve the world. Neurophenomenology should aim to match the structure of first-person experience with the structure of meaningful agent-world interactions, not with that of brain dynamics.
The sensorimotor approach shows us what external objects are, such that we may enact them, and what experience is, such that it may present us with those enacted objects.
sensorimotor contingency theory
Neurophenomenology – A Special Issue.
Fulltext at http://cepa.info/903
Seventeen years ago Francisco Varela introduced neurophenomenology. He proposed the integration of phenomenological approaches to first-person experience – in the tradition of Husserl, Heidegger and Merleau-Ponty – with a neuro-dynamical, scientific approach to the study of the situated brain and body.
It is time for a re-appraisal of this field. Has neurophenomenology already contributed to the sciences of the mind? If so, how? How should it best do so in future? Additionally, can neurophenomenology really help to resolve or dissolve the “hard problem” of the relation between mind and body, as Varela claimed?
The papers in this special issue arose out of a conference organised by the Consciousness and Experiential Psychology Section of the British Psychological Society in Bristol, UK, in September 2012. We have invited a representative sample of the speakers at that conference to present their work here.
Various papers argue that the first-person methods of phenomenology are distinct from, and more robust than, the failed “introspectionist” methods of early modern psychology. The “elicitation interview” emerges as a successful and widely adopted method to have emerged from this field. Phenomenological techniques are already being successfully applied to neuroscientific problems. Various specific proposals for new techniques and applications are made.
It is time to take neurophenomenology seriously. It has proven its worth, and it is ripe with the potential for further immediate, successful applications.
Varela’s key aim was to develop a non-dualising approach to the science of consciousness. The papers in this special issue look at the philosophical and practical details of successfully putting such an approach into practice.
the elicitation interview
A brief introduction to Niklas Luhmann’s “Theory of Autopoietic Social Systems” and “Theory of Functional Social-Autopoietic Systems”.
Intersticios. Revista sociológica de pensamiento crítico
Fulltext at http://cepa.info/932
The aim of this paper is to present synthetically the central concepts and fundamental laws of Niklas Luhmann’s “Theory of Autopoietic Social Systems” and “Theory of Functional Social-Autopoietic Systems.” To do this we outline the conceptualization of notions like time, communications, observations, elements, relationships, complexity, connection, operation, environment, function, code, program, generalized symbolic media and their interrelationships and place within the laws of the theory. The guiding questions of this paper are: What entities do Luhmannian theory tell us about? How do these entities behave within the laws of the theory? And finally, the practical evaluation over the aims and goals of Luhmann’s theoretical program:, for which purposes?
The document presents, in a clear way, the central concepts of Luhmann’s theory of autopoiesis and its relevance to the study of social phenomena.
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