Abrahamson D., Dutton E. & Bakker A. (2021) Towards an enactivist mathematics pedagogy. In: Stolz S. A. (ed.) The body, embodiment, and education: An interdisciplinary approach. Routledge, London: 156–182. https://cepa.info/7085
Enactivism theorizes thinking as situated doing. Mathematical thinking, specifically, is handling imaginary objects, and learning is coming to perceive objects and reflecting on this activity. Putting theory to practice, Abrahamson’s embodied-design collaborative interdisciplinary research program has been designing and evaluating interactive tablet applications centered on motor-control tasks whose perceptual solutions then form the basis for understanding mathematical ideas (e.g., proportion). Analysis of multimodal data of students’ handand eyemovement as well as their linguistic and gestural expressions has pointed to the key role of emergent perceptual structures that form the developmental interface between motor coordination and conceptual articulation. Through timely tutorial intervention or peer interaction, these perceptual structures rise to the students’ discursive consciousness as “things” they can describe, measure, analyze, model, and symbolize with culturally accepted words, diagrams, and signs – they become mathematical entities with enactive meanings. We explain the theoretical background of enactivist mathematics pedagogy, demonstrate its technological implementation, list its principles, and then present a case study of a mathematics teacher who applied her graduate-school experiences in enactivist inquiry to create spontaneous classroom activities promoting student insight into challenging concepts. Students’ enactment of coordinated movement forms gave rise to new perceptual structures modeled as mathematical content.
Alroe H. F. (2000) Science as systems learning: Some reflections on the cognitive and communicational aspects of science. Cybernetics & Human Knowing 7(4): 57–78. https://cepa.info/3160
This paper undertakes a theoretical investigation of the “learning” aspect of science as opposed to the “knowledge” aspect. The practical background of the paper is in agricultural systems research – an area of science that can be characterised as “systemic” because it is involved in the development of its own subject area, agriculture. And the practical purpose of the theoretical investigation is to contribute to a more adequate understanding of science in such areas, which can form a basis for developing and evaluating systemic research methods, and for determining appropriate criteria of scientific quality. Two main perspectives on science as a learning process are explored: research as the learning process of a cognitive system, and science as a social, communicational system. A simple model of a cognitive system is suggested, which integrates both semiotic and cybernetic aspects, as well as a model of self-reflective learning in research, which entails moving from an inside “actor” stance to an outside “observer” stance, and back. This leads to a view of scientific knowledge as inherently contextual and to the suggestion of reflexive objectivity and relevance as two related key criteria of good science.
Purpose: Attention is drawn to a principle of “significance feedback” in neural nets that was devised in the encouraging ambience of the Biological Computer Laboratory and is arguably fundamental to much of the subsequent practical application of artificial neural nets. Design/methodology/approach – The background against which the innovation was made is reviewed, as well as subsequent developments. It is emphasised that Heinz von Foerster and BCL made important contributions prior to their focus on second-order cybernetics. Findings: The version of “significance feedback” denoted by “backpropagation of error” has found numerous applications, but in a restricted field, and the relevance to biology is uncertain. Practical implications: Ways in which the principle might be extended are discussed, including attention to structural changes in networks, and extension of the field of application to include conceptual processing. Originality/value – The original work was 40 years ago, but indications are given of questions that are still unanswered and avenues yet to be explored, some of them indicated by reference to intelligence as “fractal.”
Although constructivism is a concept that has been embraced my many teachers over the past 1 5 years, the meanings that are attached to this term are varied and often inadequately understood. Teachers need to have a sound understanding of what constructivism means to evaluate its promise and to use it knowledgeably and effectively This paper explicates some of the theoretical background of constructivism and then presents a detailed example in which a traditional classroom lesson and a constructivist version of the same lesson are described and analyzed. Also discussed are pervasive myths and important instructional issues of this widely advocated and increasingly popular philosophical framework for teaching across the entire K-12 curriculum.
Arístegui R. (2017) Enaction and neurophenomenology in language. In: Ibáñez A., Lucas Sedeño L. & García A. M. (eds.) Neuroscience and social science: The missing link. Springer, New York: 471–500. https://cepa.info/5711
This chapter situates the conception of language (and communication) in enaction in the context of the research program of the cognitive sciences. It focuses on the formulation of the synthesis of hermeneutics and speech acts and the vision of language according to the metaphor of structural coupling. The exclusion of expressive speech acts in this design is problematized. An examination is offered of the critical steps to the theory of language as a reflection and the linguistic correspondence of cognitivism. We examine the foundations of the proposal in the line of language and social enaction as emergent phenomena which are not reducible to autopoiesis but which constitute a new neurophenomenological position in the pragmatic language dimension. A proposal is made for the integration of hermeneutic phenomenology with genetic and generative phenomenology in social semiotics. The inclusion of expressive speech acts based on the functions of language in the Habermas–Bühler line is also addressed. An opening is proposed of enaction to the expressive dimension of language and meaning holism with the referential use of language.
Sensory substitution constitutes an interesting domain of study to consider the philosopher’s classical question of distal attribution: how we can distinguish between a sensation and the perception of an object that causes this sensation. We tested the hypothesis that distal attribution consists of three distinct components: an object, a perceptual space, and a coupling between subjects’ movements and stimulation. We equipped sixty participants with a visual-to-auditory substitution device, without any information about it. The device converts the video stream produced by a head-mounted camera into a sound stream. We investigated several experimental conditions: the existence or not of a correlation between movements and resulting stimulation, the direct or indirect manipulation of an object, and the presence of a background environment. Participants were asked to describe their impressions by rating their experiences in terms of seven possible “scenarios”. These scenarios were carefully chosen to distinguish the degree to which the participants attributed their sensations to a distal cause. Participants rated the scenarios both before and after they were given the possibility to interrupt the stimulation with an obstacle. We were interested in several questions. Did participants extract laws of co-variation between their movements and resulting stimulation? Did they deduce the existence of a perceptual space originating from this coupling? Did they individuate objects that caused the sensations? Whatever the experimental conditions, participants were able to establish that there was a link between their movements and the resulting auditory stimulation. Detection of the existence of a coupling was more frequent than the inferences of distal space and object.
Barton A. C. & Osborne M. D. (1999) Re-examining lived experiences: Radical constructivism and gender (Special issue \Radical Constructivism in education\ edited by Marie Larochelle). Cybernetics & Human Knowing 6(1): 47–59. https://cepa.info/3122
Radical constructivism grows out of the belief that knowledge is constructed and legitimated by individuals as they make sense of their experiences in particular contexts and drawing on their own histories. Extending this understanding of learning and ways of knowing to girls as they work in the terrain of science, we argue that honoring student experience as the starting place for science instruction fundamentally alters the nature of science, the purpose of teaching and learning science, and the focus of relationships in science class. The implications for this position are extensive: they suggest that the dynamic relationships between language and cultural background of students and teachers alter the ways in which science education historically has enacted discipline, curriculum and pedagogy. We argue that this is particularly important to understand, for science and science education have historically operated within the masculine domain and working with girls in science in ways that respect their (gendered and cultural) construction of knowledge and their experiences, fundamentally alters the enterprise of science – an idea contradictory to most visions of the purposes of education and current reform efforts in science education, even the most liberal.
Bausch K. C. (2015) Luhmann’s social systems: Meaning, autopoiesis, and interpenetration. In: International Encyclopedia of the Social & Behavioral Sciences, Second edition, Volume 14: 390–395. https://cepa.info/7870
The problem of double contingency and its accompanying parable of the black boxes informs Luhmann’s conception of meaning and frequently provides illustration at critical junctures. In life, (we) ‘psychic systems’ and (societies) ‘social systems’ are constantly faced with situations that require choices. Our meanings develop from those choices. Each choice that we make is an element of our meaning. Autopoiesis forms the background of Luhmann’s theory. Psychic and social autopoietic systems live by constantly maintaining their reproduction as a closed system. At the same time, they constantly interact with their environment by incorporating elements from it and releasing unneeded elements back into it. In this process, what remains the same is the reproductive process, which incorporates those elements that foster its life and evolution. Interpenetration describes how closed autopoietic systems come to share meaning and come to cooperatre and understand each other.
Bissell C. C. (2011) Hermann Schmidt and German “proto-cybernetics”. Information , Communication & Society 14(1): 156–171. https://cepa.info/2921
Histories of cybernetics, at least those in the English language, concentrate almost exclusively on its origins in the United States and UK, associated primarily with Norbert Wiener and colleagues, and in particular with the series of Macy conferences from 1946 onwards. Independent work was, however, carried out elsewhere. In Germany, Hermann Schmidt introduced the notion of Allgemeine Regelungskunde [general control theory] in the early 1940s, which bore many similarities to the almost exactly contemporary work of Wiener and colleagues. Schmidt’s work was subsequently largely neglected during the rapid post-war dissemination of cybernetics ideas until it was, to a certain extent, rediscovered in Germany in the 1960s. There Schmidt is often credited, alongside Wiener, as one of the two fathers’ of cybernetics. This article presents the nature and background of Schmidt’s contributions and assesses their significance.