Publication 7845

Powers W. T. (1974) Applied epistemology. In: Smock C. D. & Glasersfeld E. (eds.) Epistemology and education. Follow Through Publications, Athens GA: 84–98. Fulltext at
Excerpt: It may be that Piaget has for several decades suffered an extreme of misunderstanding of his position – or it may be that in his direct approach to the growth of perceptual organization, he has been applying new principles without having organized them into an “official” statement. The subject of this chapter is another approach that has converged to the same general conclusions from a totally different starting point: cybernetics. In this case the epistemological principles have emerged in an explicit form simply as a consequence of following out the logic of a behavioral model. The model on which I have been working is an offshoot of cybernetics using almost the oldest and least sophisticated of cybernetic concepts: feedback of behavioral outputs to sensory inputs, through the environment. Through a rigorous, and some might say obsessive, application of a simple control-system unit of behavioral organization, I have constructed what seems on first inspection to be a purely hardware model of how behavior works, the kind of model that would make any engineer feel secure.

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