The theory of autopoiesis, that is systems that are self-producing or selfconstructing, was originally developed to explain the particular nature of living as opposed to non-living entities. It was subsequently enlarged to encompass cognition and language leading to what is known as second-order cybernetics. However, as with earlier biological theories, many authors have tried to extend the domain of the theory to encompass social systems, the most notable being Luhmann. The purpose of this article is to consider critically the extent to which the theory of autopoiesis, as originally defined, can be applied to social systems – that is, whether social systems are autopoietic. And, if it cannot, whether some weaker version might be appropriate.
Mingers J. (2003) Observing organizations: An evaluation of Luhmanns organization theory. In: In: Bakken T. & Hernes T. (eds.) Autopoietic organization theory. Liber Abstrakt, Oslo: 103–122.
Luciano Floridi has been very active in helping to develop both the philosophy of information as a discipline and an actual theory of the nature of semantic information. This paper has three purposes. First, to demonstrate that Floridi’s information theory was largely prefigured by work carried out by Mingers and published some ten years earlier. This is simply a matter of setting the record straight, although the degree of commonality may provide some support for the theory. Second, to point out that there appears to be a degree of equivocation, or even contradiction, within Floridi’s theory concerning the ontological status of information – is it objective, independent of the receiver, or is it subjective, constructed by the receiver from the data they access? The paper argues strongly for an objective interpretation. Third, to point out extensions to Mingers’ theory in terms of the social and pragmatic aspects of language, the processing of information into meaning through embodied cognition, and the relation between information and different forms of knowledge
Brown (and later commentators) also claimed that it could represent Aristotelian syllogistic logic although, as he showed in his book, at least one invalid syllogism appeared to be valid. This paper explores the extent to which the laws of form can correctly deal with all syllogisms. There are in fact 256 possible syllogisms and only fifteen of them are uncontroversially valid (a further nine are valid if certain existence assumptions are made). Using truth tables implemented in a spread sheet, all 256 syllogisms were evaluated and it was discovered that, in fact, 83 invalid syllogisms appear to be valid when simply represented in laws of form notation (in the primary algebra) and ignoring Spencer-Brown’s interpretative theorem 2, an issue that will be explored in detail in the paper. This is clearly a significant number. Further investigation show that the problem might be caused by the way that ‘some/some not’ propositions are conventionally represented and a variety of alternative are explored, some related to free logic. One particular interpretation reduces the number of wrongly categorised syllogisms to only seventeen and, surprisingly, fifteen of the seventeen are mirror images of the fifteen valid ones.