Publication 5654

Livet P. (1992) Second cybernetics: A double strategy for representing cognition. In: Van de Vijver G. (ed.) New Perspectives on cybernetics: Self-organization, autonomy and connectionism. Kluwer, Dordrecht: 147–156. Fulltext at http://cepa.info/5654
The fact that the programme of second order cybernetics (which was called by Von Foerster the theory of the observing systems), failed to come up to expectations on the one hand, and the simultaneous success of Artificial Intelligence (AI) on the other hand, are our starting points to inquire into the problem of the modelling of cognition. Why didn’t cybernetics consider AI as a prolongation of itself? Why did Von Foerster see first cybernetics as inadequate to model cognition? Why have Von Foerster’s tessellations of ‘cognitive tiles’ passed into oblivion, whereas connectionist models are considered to be serious propositions to get at a model of cognitive abilities? On the basis of Von Foerster’s criticism of first cybernetics and his interpretation of memory, we inquire into the particular view on cognition in cybernetics of second order. The concept of ‘inverted reductionism’ is meant to give expression to the specificity and the inadequacies of this view.
This article was first published in Communication & Cognition 23(2-3).

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