Arinin E., Lyutaeva M. & Markova N. (2022) Аутопойезис религии как социальной субсистемы: Рецепция идей Н. Лумана российскими исследователями религии [Autopoiesis of religion as a social subsystem: Reception of N. Luhmann’s ideas by Russian researchers of religion]. Религиоведение 1: 72–81.
The article offers an analysis of a number of Russian studies of the work of Niklas Luhmann (1927–1998), focusing on the understanding of religion as a special autopoietic subsystem of society. The authors describe the formation of “differences” in the religious sphere of social life and their “autopoiesis.” The first ideas about religion as the “faith” (“вѣра”) of the prince and the court elite are implicitly recorded from the 10th – 11th centuries in the context of “theological,” reflections on “true piety,” which, like “truth” and “law,” opposed “lie” and “lawlessness.” The term “religion,” generally accepted today, has been fixed in texts in Russian since the beginning of the 18th century, remaining rare until the second half of the 60s of the 19th century. By the beginning of the 20th century, it acquires about 20 meanings in a spectrum of connotations from the extremely sublime (“saving truth”) to the extremely profane (“opium for the people”) in the “atheistic” publications of the Soviet period, when the authorities begin to construct “communism” as a global perspective “universe of truth,” in which “atheism” must be established, and all religions must “die off.” Modern Russian religious studies “academically” describe the phenomenon of religion in a number of specialized research areas with its own distinctions of “true/false,” including understanding it as an “autopoiesis” of the beliefs of our fellow citizens and their communities as “actors” of communication processes that are part of the social subsystems of science, rights, media, etc. with its “atheistic/religious” distinctions. The publications of the 21st century discuss the variety of meanings of the Latin word “religio” and its derivatives, denoting both the infinitely complex and indescribable “extra-linguistic reality” of a person’s existence in the world, and local forms of “observing of the unknown,” reducing everything “unmastered” to the languages of the confessional “piety” and individual or group “vernacular religiosity,” which today can be understood “theologically,” “atheistically” or “academically.”
This paper is a discussion of the sustainability of a concept of “world” compatible with the “operative constructivism” and the operative conception of observation of systems theory of according to Niklas Luhmann. The paper scrutinizes the concepts of observation of H. von Foerster, H. Maturana, G. Günther and N. Luhmann, providing the general framework of “operative constructivism.” Particularly, the paper will focus on N. Luhmann’s understanding of the role of observation in the constitution of the self-reference of the social systems of the modern society. The case of the “systems of art” will be briefly inspected. What place shall we concede to the idea of an “objective” world, according to the systems theory? Are systems “objective”? According to N. Luhmann, for the description of systems only operations are “objective.” However, an operation is not an entity, which means that we need to depict a new kind of “objects,” very different from the ’thing-objectivity” of the ancient metaphysics and different from the Cartesian concept of “res.” What does objectivity mean according to systems theory? This question was at stake in the formulation of N. Luhmann’s Die Gesellschaft der Gesellschaft: Society is “weder Subjekt noch Objekt.” This paper attempts to address this formula. Relevance: The paper deals with the epistemological explanation of second-order observations in social systems according to Niklas Luhmann’s systems theory. It clarifies the world vision of the constructivism movement.
Balsemão Pires E., Nonnenmacher B. & Büttner-von Stülpnagel S. (2010) Relations of the Self. Imprensa da Universidade de Coimbra, Coimbra.
The publication deals with the concept of self-reference across its multidisciplinary applications. The authors and themes scrutinized go from Plato and the Stoics to G. Günther and N. Luhmann; from paradoxes in Metamathematics to Artificial Intelligence.
Brier S. (1993) A cybernetic and semiotic view on a Galilean theory of psychology. Cybernetics and Human Knowing 2(2): 31–33. https://cepa.info/3983
From the perspective of second order cybernetics this paper examines in which respects psychology can claim to be a science. It focuses on the limits of mechanistic description in the behavioral sciences. Through the Danish psychologist Iven Reventlow’s works, the article analyzes the use of the Galilean concepts of law in psychology. Reventlow attempts to create basic methods and concepts for a Galilean (law determined) psychology in the tradition of Kurt Lewin through work with animal models in the tradition of ethology. His standard experimental model is the male Stickleback guarding its nest – a small fish in its partly self-created world. Reventlow’s aim is to describe the “behavioral personality” of the organism keeping description and causal analysis and explanation on the behavioural level. To this end he works with a statistical model which do not hide the individuals characteristics by rolling them into an average. In this process, however, he finds that he cannot make a final separation of the organism and the environment. It is not possible to carry through either the mechanistic or the dualistic point of view. This finding is discussed in the light of von Foerster’s and Maturana’s second order cybernetic positions on the observer, observation, autopoiesis and the multiverse. The limitations of these theories carries the analysis further. A realistic, non-reductionistic and constructivistic viewpoint is developed from some of N. Luhmann’s formulations.
Brier S. (2011) Cybersemiotics: A new foundation for transdisciplinary theory of information, cognition, meaning, communication and consciousness. Signs 5: 75–120. https://cepa.info/798
We need to realize that a paradigm based on the view of the universe that makes irreversible time and evolution fundamental forces us to view man as a product of evolution and therefore an observer from inside the universe. The theories of the phenomenological life world and the hermeneutics of communication and understanding seem to defy classical scientific explanations. The humanities therefore send another insight the opposite way down the evolutionary ladder, with questions like: What is the role of consciousness, signs and meaning in evolution? These are matters that the exact sciences are not constructed to answer in their present state. Phenomenology and hermeneutics point out to the sciences that they have prerequisite conditions in embodied living as a conscious being imbued with meaningful language and a culture. One can see the world view that emerges from the work of the sciences as a reconstruction back into time of our present ecological and evolutionary self-understanding as semiotic intersubjective conscious cultural historical creatures, but unable to handle the aspects of meaning and conscious awareness. How can we integrate these two directions of explanatory efforts? The problem is that the scientific one is without concepts of qualia and meaning, and the phenomenological-hermeneutic “sciences of meaning” do not have a foundation in material evolution. Relevance: A modern interpretation of C.S. Peirce’s pragmaticistic evolutionary and phaneroscopic semiosis in the form of a biosemiotics is used and integrated with N. Luhmann’s evolutionary autopoietic system theory of social communication. This framework, which integrates cybernetics and semiotics, is called Cybersemiotics.
Buchinger E. (2006) The sociological concept of autopoiesis: Biological and philosophical basics and governance relevance. Kybernetes 35(3/4): 360–374.
Purpose: To explore the sociological concept of autopoiesis (N. Luhmann), investigate its interdisciplinary roots and demonstrate its practical relevance. Design/methodology/approach – The biological concept of autopoiesis (H. Maturana/F. Varela) and the philosophical concept of meaning (E. Husserl) are first discussed with respect to their contribution to the development of the sociological concept of autopoiesis. The autopoietic mechanism of three different social systems is then described, and the practical relevance of the sociological concept of autopoiesis demonstrated using the example of governance. Findings: The scientific positioning of the sociological approach to autopoiesis is two‐fold. On the one hand, it is firmly rooted in the scientific tradition and, on the other, its originality is determined by the adaptation and new combination of existing concepts. Although this adaptation‐combination process has provoked some criticism, the result does matter because it enriches the theoretical and empirical analysis which we use to explain the dynamics of modern societies. Practical implications: The application of the sociological concept of autopoiesis to politics gives new insights into the opportunities and barriers of governance processes. Originality/value – Positioning of the sociological concept of autopoiesis within the scientific tradition and its application (beyond metaphorical usage) as an analytical tool.
Danielyan N. (2013) Subject’s rational cognitive activity in the theory of self-organization and epistemological constructivism. International Journal of Philosophy 1(4): 51–56. https://cepa.info/8227
The author provides a comparative analysis of the approach to cognition in the theory of self-organization and radical constructivism from the position of synergy between man and nature. It is advanced the idea on the basis of radical constructivism representatives’ concepts by such authors as H. von Foerster, H. Maturana, F. Varela, N. Luhmann, F. Wallner that epistemological subject should be considered as a complex self-organizing object. Its cognitive activity takes place according to the logics of synergetic models. The author proves that cognition based on the constructive realism is the most appropriate to the modern stage of epistemology development as it cancels the opposition of constructivism and realism to some extent as the cognition process from synergetic point of view is an act of projective and constructive thinking which is open for further criticism.
In the second half of the last century different variations of systemic and constructivist thinking emerged that not only have been important for the development and differentiation of systemic therapy but are increasingly becoming attractive for other psychotherapeutic approaches. This article explains some essential notions of all the theoretical models presented (complexness, self-organization, context sensitivity, and process orientation, as well as pattern generation and detection). Subsequently, basic ideas of the following theory models are presented: first order cybernetics, theory of autopoietic systems, theory of social systems (N. Luhmann), theory of problem determined systems, social constructionism, theory of self-organized systems (synergetics), and person-centered systems theory.
Schmidt S. J. (1994) \System\ and \observer\: Two key concepts in (future) literary studies. LUMIS-Schriften 39. https://cepa.info/5137
General systems theory (since L. von Bertalanffy) has offered various options how to conceptualise systems. Opposing N. Luhmann’s narrow conception of system I propose to combine systemsand actor-theoretical approaches in order to model social systems (including literature) as non-linearly interrelated complexes of systems where causal structures depend – among others – upon the decision of goal-oriented subsystems, viz. actors whose sociality is introduced into the system via culture. The second part of this paper is devoted to some consequences arriving from the observer problem; e.g. the mutual construction of system and environment, the relation observer: meaning vis a vis the operational closure of cognitive systems, and a constructivist reading of the concept ‘empirical’.