Publication 2294

Glanville R. (2004) The purpose of second-order cybernetics. Kybernetes 33(9/10): 1379–1386. Fulltext at http://cepa.info/2294
In this paper, the origins of second-order Cybernetics are sketched, and are particularly identified with circularity: a quality that was at the basis of the studies that lead to the creation of the field of Cybernetics. The implications of the new analysis that second-order Cybernetics (Cybernetics treated cybernetically: that is, Cybernetics when circularity is taken seriously) gives rise to are considered in terms of the two qualities that Wiener gave to Cybernetics in his eponymous book – control and communication. Finally, the analysis is applied to that other proto-cybernetic concept, purpose. It is shown that (and in consequence how) the notion of goal and purpose must be radically reconsidered in second-order Cybernetic systems.

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