Abramov P. V. (2022) Аутопоэзис и рекурсия в Поэзии и Правде И: В. Гёте [Autopoiesis and recursion in Dichtung und Wahrheit by J. W. Goethe]. Русская германистика: Ежегодник российского союза германистов 19: 354–366.
The article discusses the theoretical possibility of revealing the properties of autopoiesis and recursion in the canonical text of J. W. Goethe’s autobiography Dichtung und Wahrheit (“Poetry and Truth”), determines the formative role of autopoiesis in the development of autobiographical narration and interaction with the genre canon of autobiography.
Ackermann E. K. (2015) Author’s Response: Impenetrable Minds, Delusion of Shared Experience: Let’s Pretend (“dicciamo che io ero la mamma”). Constructivist Foundations 10(3): 418–421. https://cepa.info/2169
Upshot: In view of Kenny’s clinical insights, Hug’s notes on the intricacies of rational vs. a-rational “knowing” in the design sciences, and Chronaki & Kynigos’s notice of mathematics teachers’ meta-communication on experiences of change, this response reframes the heuristic power of bisociation and suspension of disbelief in the light of Kelly’s notion of “as-if-ism” (constructive alternativism. Doing as-if and playing what-if, I reiterate, are critical to mitigating intra-and inter-personal relations, or meta-communicating. Their epistemic status within the radical constructivist framework is cast in the context of mutually enriching conversational techniques, or language-games, inspired by Maturana’s concepts of “objectivity in parenthesis” and the multiverse.
Aizawa K. (2015) What is this cognition that is supposed to be embodied? Philosophical Psychology 28(6): 755–775. https://cepa.info/3949
Many cognitive scientists have recently championed the thesis that cognition is embodied. In principle, explicating this thesis should be relatively simple. There are, essentially, only two concepts involved: cognition and embodiment. After articulating what will here be meant by ‘embodiment’, this paper will draw attention to cases in which some advocates of embodied cognition apparently do not mean by ‘cognition’ what has typically been meant by ‘cognition’. Some advocates apparently mean to use ‘cognition’ not as a term for one, among many, causes of behavior, but for what has more often been called “behavior.” Some consequences for this proposal are considered.
Context: Society is faced with “wicked” problems of environmental sustainability, which are inherently multiperspectival, and there is a need for explicitly constructivist and perspectivist theories to address them. Problem: However, different constructivist theories construe the environment in different ways. The aim of this paper is to clarify the conceptions of environment in constructivist approaches, and thereby to assist the sciences of complex systems and complex environmental problems. Method: We describe the terms used for “the environment” in von Uexküll, Maturana & Varela, and Luhmann, and analyse how their conceptions of environment are connected to differences of perspective and observation. Results: We show the need to distinguish between inside and outside perspectives on the environment, and identify two very different and complementary logics of observation, the logic of distinction and the logic of representation, in the three constructivist theories. Implications: Luhmann’s theory of social systems can be a helpful perspective on the wicked environmental problems of society if we consider carefully the theory’s own blind spots: that it confines itself to systems of communication, and that it is based fully on the conception of observation as indication by means of distinction.
Context: The problems that are most in need of interdisciplinary collaboration are “wicked problems,” such as food crises, climate change mitigation, and sustainable development, with many relevant aspects, disagreement on what the problem is, and contradicting solutions. Such complex problems both require and challenge interdisciplinarity. Problem: The conventional methods of interdisciplinary research fall short in the case of wicked problems because they remain first-order science. Our aim is to present workable methods and research designs for doing second-order science in domains where there are many different scientific knowledges on any complex problem. Method: We synthesize and elaborate a framework for second-order science in interdisciplinary research based on a number of earlier publications, experiences from large interdisciplinary research projects, and a perspectivist theory of science. Results: The second-order polyocular framework for interdisciplinary research is characterized by five principles. Second-order science of interdisciplinary research must: 1. draw on the observations of first-order perspectives, 2. address a shared dynamical object, 3. establish a shared problem, 4. rely on first-order perspectives to see themselves as perspectives, and 5. be based on other rules than first-order research. Implications: The perspectivist insights of second-order science provide a new way of understanding interdisciplinary research that leads to new polyocular methods and research designs. It also points to more reflexive ways of dealing with scientific expertise in democratic processes. The main challenge is that this is a paradigmatic shift, which demands that the involved disciplines, at least to some degree, subscribe to a perspectivist view. Constructivist content: Our perspectivist approach to science is based on the second-order cybernetics and systems theories of von Foerster, Maruyama, Maturana & Varela, and Luhmann, coupled with embodied theories of cognition and semiotics as a general theory of meaning from von Uexküll and Peirce.
Álvarez-Vázquez J. Y. (2016) Animated machines, organic souls: Maturana and Aristotle on the nature of life. International Journal of Novel Research in Humanity and Social Sciences 3(1): 67–78. https://cepa.info/7842
The emergence of mind is a central issue in cognitive philosophy. The main working assumption of the present paper is that several important insights in answering this question might be provided by the nature of life itself. It is in this line of thinking that this paper compares two major philosophical conceptualizations of the living in the history of theoretical biology, namely those of Maturana and Aristotle. The present paper shows how both thinkers describe the most fundamental properties of the living as autonomous sustenance. The paper also shows how these theoretical insights might have a consequence upon our understanding of a specific constructiveness of human cognition, here referred to as enarrativity, if this can be considered in a structural as well as evolutionary connection with the structure of life as such. The paper finally suggests that the structural connection made here can be traced from the fundamental organization of self-preservation to survival behaviors to constructive orientation and action.
Already in the romantic it has been assumed, that there is an existential interrelation between nature, human being and mind. According to this idea, there is a narrow interrelation of creation between literature, science, dream and reality, which should be expressed in a progressive universal poetry. Gestalt theory and the concept of autopoiesis, developed by Maturana and Varela, could be regarded as a scientific enhancement of this approach and are united in that sense. By analyses of dreams, it becomes evident, that neurobiological and mental processes are determined by the same principles of self-constitution and gestalt production. They are attending in equal measures to homeostatic conditions. The interaction of living systems with their environment as well as their evolution base on recursive reorganisation. Following this principle, imagination, speech and self-reflection are developed. The observer comes to existence by his own distinctions. Phenomenal appearance and real existence, poetry and scientific findings are results of the autopoietic organisation of living, of which we form a part.
Baecker D. (2013) A calculus for autopoiesis [Maturana and education as a multivocal and transforming daily experience]. In: Baecker D. & Priddat B. P. (eds.) Ökonomie der Werte: Festschrift zum 65. Geburtstag von Michael Hutter. Metropolis, Marburg: 249–226. https://cepa.info/7679
The paper looks once more at the understanding and definition of autopoiesis as developed by Humberto R. Maturana, Francisco J. Varela, and Ricardo Uribe. We will focus on the question whether George Spencer-Brown’s Laws of Form presents us with a possibility of translating Maturana’s definition into a kind of a calculus. We look at Maturana’s emphasis on components, networks, and boundaries and try to figure out how this emphasis can translate into an understanding of form that knows about self-reference, paradox, and play.
Baerveldt C. & Verheggen T. (1999) Enactivism and the experiential reality of culture: Rethinking the epistemological basis of cultural psychology. Culture & Psychology 5(2): 183–206. https://cepa.info/2414
The key problem of cultural psychology comprises a paradox: while people believe they act on the basis of their own authentic experience, cultural psychologists observe their behavior to be socially patterned. It is argued that, in order to account for those patterns, cultural psychology should take human experience as its analytical starting point. Nevertheless, there is a tendency within cultural psychology to either neglect human experience, by focusing exclusively on discourse, or to consider the structure of this experience to originate in an already produced cultural order. For an alternative approach, we turn to the enactive view of cognition developed by Humberto Maturana and Francisco Varela. Their theory of autonomy can provide the epistemological basis for a cultural psychology that explains how experience can become socially patterned in the first place. Cultural life forms are then considered as consensually coordinated, embodied practices.
Constructivism is an approach to knowledge and learning that focuses on the active role of knowers. Sanchez and Loredo propose a classification of constructivist thinkers and address what they perceive to be internal problems of present-day constructivism. The remedy they propose is a return to the genetic constructivism of James Mark Baldwin, Jean Piaget and Lev Vygotsky. In this article we first raise the question of whether thinkers like Baldwin, Vygotsky, Maturana and Varela are adequately depicted as constructivists, and subsequently argue that constructivism is caught in an overly epistemic version of the subject/object dichotomy. We then introduce a genetic logic that is not based on the Hegelian dialectics of negation and mediation, but rather on the idea of the recursive consensual coordination of actions that give rise to stylized cultural practices. We argue that a genuinely genetic and generative psychology should be concerned with the multifarious and ever-changing nature of human “life” and not merely with the construction of knowledge about life. Relevance: The article deals with perceived “internal” problems of constructivist approaches and proposes a genetic and generative psychology that is centrally concerned with human life-as-lived and not merely with life-as-known. The article furthermore raises the question whether key thinkers like Vygotsky, Maturana and Varela and are adequately depicted as constructivists.