The paper compares social systems theory and social network theory in terms of what it is they respectively seek to elucidate. Whereas systems theory focuses on problems of difference and reproduction, network theory deals with problems of identity and control, the former privileging communication and the latter action. To understand their different foci, it may help to keep in mind that systems theory is a child of computing’s formative years, whereas the more recent success of network theory, despite its roots in a far older tradition, accompanies the advent of the Internet. The paper goes on to compare the two theories with respect to questions of mathematical modeling, culture, and self-reference, which interestingly are closely related. It proposes a mathematical modeling of culture, which uses Spencer-Brown’s notion of form to combine variables of communication, consciousness, and life into one network relying on three systems capable of reproducing themselves. The paper is relevant for constructivist approaches because it shows how systems are constructed relying on networks within their own interpretation as culture.
Baecker D. (2012) What is holding societies together? Criticism: A Quarterly for Literature and the Arts 53 (1): 1–22. https://cepa.info/490
In the paper we maintain that one way to phrase the title question is to look for the introduction of new media for the distribution of communication as chocks forcing society to develop new structures to both reject and accept possible communication. We develop a kind of media archeology by checking this thesis in the four cases of language, writing, the printing press, and the computer, respectively. We show that four models, the ethnological, the ontological, the functional, and the ecological, help to hold society together by precisely asking the question of how it holds together. The paper is relevant for constructivist approaches because it shows the culture forms that different societies rely on to construct themselves.
Baerveldt C. & Verheggen T. (2012) Enactivism. In: Valsiner J. (ed.) Oxford handbook of culture and psychology. Oxford University Press, New York: 165–190. https://cepa.info/479
Enactivism is an emerging perspective both in cognitive science and in cultural psychology. Whereas the enactive approach in general has focused on sense-making as an embodied and situated activity, enactive cultural psychology emphasizes the expressive and dynamically enacted nature of cultural meaning. This chapter first situates enactivism within a tradition of expressivist thinking that has historical roots both in radical Enlightenment thought and Romantic reactions against the rationalization of human nature. It will then offer a view of our human biology that can be reconciled with an account of meaning as irreducibly normative. By emphasizing the consensual rather than the supposedly shared nature of meaningful conduct, enactivism avoids some of the classical pitfalls in thinking about culture. In the conclusion a genetic enactive psychology will be presented, which understands sense-making not as a mediated activity, but as a competence acquired through cultural training and personal stylization.
Baerveldt C., Verheggen T. & Voestermans P. (2001) Human experience and the enigma of culture: Towards an enactive account of cultural practice. In: Morss J. R., Stepehnson N. & Van Rappard H. (eds.) Theoretical issues in psychology. Kluwer Academic Publishers, Norwell MA: 49–58. https://cepa.info/5678
This paper deals with the way cultural psychology should deal with human experience. The common view about the relation between culture and experience holds that experience becomes “cultural” when people internalize or appropriate ready made cultural meanings. We contend that cultural forms themselves need to be dealt with in experiential terms. To this end we propose an “enactive” approach to cultural psychology. A central claim of enactivism is that experience is rooted within the organizational and operational autonomy of an acting system. Enactivism considers human experience to be constitutive for social and cultural phenomena. The main question of an enactive cultural psychology relates to the way human action becomes consensually coordinated. Both social psychologists who stress “sharedness” as the distinct mark of the social, and evolutionary psychologists who consider culture to derive from a uniform human mind, are criticized for overlooking the ongoing mutual tuning processes that give rise to socially and culturally patterned conduct.
Balint T. S. & Pangaro P. (2017) The emerging roles of the observer on human space missions: Curated autonomy through boundary objects. In: Proceedings of the 68th International Astronautical Congress (IAC 2017), Volume 18. International Astronautical Federation, Paris: 12309–12324. https://cepa.info/7369
The roles of art, design, and architecture on long-duration human space missions could have deep, significant impact on the functional capabilities of human environments in space, far beyond mere form and aesthetics. Yet, today’s technology-driven paradigm of space design pays limited attention to “soft” disciplines that relate to artistic and designerly modes of operations. This current worldview is governed by engineers and project managers. “Soft” considerations are looked at as nice-to-have add-ons at the end of the project, dependent on resource availability. While sufficient for short missions, this unnecessarily constrained view of artistic and designerly modes must change for long-duration missions, as the crew spends nearly 100% of their time inside a severely limited volume, in virtual isolation. Thus, it becomes necessary for all the systems, usable objects, and artistic artifacts inside the habitat to be connected to the goal of facilitating engaging interactions with the crew. Artifacts – as boundary objects in the intersection of various disciplines – facilitate circular conversations between an observer (crew member) and the environment of the spacecraft, and have many important functions. They provide emotional connections and comfort, promote well-being, support autonomy, help thinking to evolve novel ideas, and aid discovery and entertainment. When designing for experiences and interactions in space, artists, designers, and architects are able to look at artifacts from the perspective of the crew as observers, and imagine a rich set of interactions through various aspects and stages of the spaceflight. As a result, these artifacts support the higher-level needs of the observer, beyond basic physiological, psychological, and safety needs. They are designed for the well-being of the crew members, while sustainably utilizing the habitat volume and resources. In this paper we systematically show how human-centered roles and circular conversations between the observers and their environments can be incorporated into the culture of designing for space travel through the involvement of artists, designers and architects, from an early stage of designing the mission and its elements. This process is inclusive of the people who envision and create the environments and user experiences, and those who experience, use, and evolve them. Making the case about the importance of these considerations may help artists, designers, and architects to reframe the discourse of their contributions to space exploration and, in effect, find a stronger acceptance from the decision makers of a technology-driven human space exploration paradigm.
Biosemiotics is the synthesis of biology and semiotics, and its main purpose is to show that semiosis is a fundamental component of life, i.e., that signs and meaning exist in all living systems. This idea started circulating in the 1960s and was proposed independently from enquires taking place at both ends of the Scala Naturae. At the molecular end it was expressed by Howard Pattee’s analysis of the genetic code, whereas at the human end it took the form of Thomas Sebeok’s investigation into the biological roots of culture. Other proposals appeared in the years that followed and gave origin to different theoretical frameworks, or different schools, of biosemiotics. They are: (1) the physical biosemiotics of Howard Pattee and its extension in Darwinian biosemiotics by Howard Pattee and by Terrence Deacon, (2) the zoosemiotics proposed by Thomas Sebeok and its extension in sign biosemiotics developed by Thomas Sebeok and by Jesper Hoffmeyer, (3) the code biosemiotics of Marcello Barbieri and (4) the hermeneutic biosemiotics of Anton Markoš. The differences that exist between the schools are a consequence of their different models of semiosis, but that is only the tip of the iceberg. In reality they go much deeper and concern the very nature of the new discipline. Is biosemiotics only a new way of looking at the known facts of biology or does it predict new facts? Does biosemiotics consist of testable hypotheses? Does it add anything to the history of life and to our understanding of evolution? These are the major issues of the young discipline, and the purpose of the present paper is to illustrate them by describing the origin and the historical development of its main schools.
Open peer commentary on the article “Constructivism as a Key Towards Further Understanding of Communication, Culture and Society” by Raivo Palmaru. Upshot: In my response to Palmaru, I press for a reflexive, accountable and, most of all, practical construction of radical constructivism as participatory communication.
Bauersfeld H. (1998) Remarks on the education of elementary teachers. In: Larochelle M., Bednarz N. & Garrison J. (eds.) Constructivism and education. Cambridge University Press, New York NY: 213–232.
Excerpt: The main thesis of this chapter is that the culture of teacher education must share the core characteristics of the desired mathematics classroom culture. In particular, this relationship must hold if teacher education is to exercise a reforming influence on in-service teachers and create a break in the circle of reproduction by which the weaknesses of the existing school system are perpetuated. It follows that more attention should be devoted to the relation between alternative classroom experiences and theoretical instruction, to the fundamental role of everyday language for the understanding of mathematics, the balance of self-directed work and the negotiation of meanings in seminars and tutorials, and to the development of reflection and self-monitoring.
Bergthaller H. & Schinko C. (2011) Addressing modernity. Social systems theory and U.S cultures. Rodopi, Amsterdam.
Gathering essays from a group of cultural and literary scholars, sociologists, and philosophers, Addressing Modernity reassesses the claims of American exceptionalism by setting them in the context of Luhmann’s conception of modernity, and explores how social systems theory can generate new perspectives on what has often been described as the first thoroughly modern nation. As a study of American society and culture from a Luhmannian vantage point, the book is of interest to scholars from both American Studies and social systems theory in general.
Bilalov M. (2016) Радикальный конструктивизм в контексте современны� субъект-объектны� отношений [Radical constructivism in the context of modern subject-object relations]. Scientific Thought Caucasus 85(1): 15–20. https://cepa.info/8068
The article considers peculiarities of modern subject-object relation son the basis of radical constructivism and their key question – the problem of verity. It reveals that the vector of a new definition of subjectivity through epistemology of radical constructivism is risky for false subject-object relations picture, due to the loss of differences between real and virtual reality, limitation of postmodern tendencies to stop the gap between the reality and the world of simulacris. Ourvisionofpeculiaritiesofsubjectivenatureofcognitionandaman’ssubjectivityfromthepointofviewof subjective and objective dialectics in the verity as well as their criteria, suggests the reasoning of introducing the term “criteria of mistaking” into epistemology. As we see the problem, radical constructivism uses just on criteria of versions of mistaking, though it rejects the problem of grounds of cognition. Moreover, it is clear that radical constructivism stands for general line of modern social epistemologies, it revealed the vector of postmodernist culture as a tendency for cognition to alter into pure game with its constant and changing simulacris – rules, ideas, signs, reflecting the reality in a distorted way, without any connection with it, and even hiding the reality, sometimes.…