This paper compares the enactive approach to perception, which has recently emerged in cognitive science, with the phenomenological approach. Inspired by Husserl and Merleau-Ponty, the enactive theorists Alva Noë and Evan Thompson take perception to be a result of the interaction between the brain, the body and the environment. Their argument turns mostly on the role of self-motion and sensorimotor knowledge in perceptual experience. It was said to be entirely consistent with phenomenology, indeed its revival. However, this issue is under debate. To show this, I begin with analyzing the enactive conception as a physicalist attempt to overcome the challenge of dualism and representationalism. I then turn to Husserl’s transcendental method and argue that Noë’s solution, unlike Husserl’s, remains naturalistic, as it does not take the phenomenon of intersubjectivity and the constitution of the “cultural world” into account. Afterwards I turn to Merleau-Ponty and demonstrate that there is some certain common ground with Noë, but also major differences. I conclude that the enactive approach is not completely refuted by the phenomenological one, insofar as the latter partly contains the first. Yet the enactivists deal merely with the necessary physiological conditions of perception qua animal perception, not with the sufficient sociocultural conditions for the understanding of human perception, like the inquiry into the historical and linguistic circumstances under which the understanding of human mind is made possible. The reason why the recent transformation of phenomenology into neurophenomenology is perceived as a revival is virtually inherent to the specific scientific ethos of enactivism and reveals a certain oblivion of the objectives of philosophical phenomenology.
Benally J., Palatnik A., Ryokai K. & Abrahamson D. (2022) Charting our embodied territories: Learning geometry as negotiating perspectival complementarities. For the Learning of Mathematics 42(3): 34–41.
We introduce, motivate, and exemplify a proposed theoretical construct guiding the design and facilitation of collaborative geometry activities, conceptually generative perspectival complementarity (CGPC). Participants in CGPC activities learn content by negotiating their respective perceptions of situated features they manipulate to accomplish task objectives. We first ground our framework in sociocultural positions on disciplinary learning as educated perception. Next, we present and analyze empirical findings from three pilot studies of CGPC designs, where participants’ multimodal discursive efforts to coordinate their actions resulted in cognitively productive outcomes that we characterize as revealing either substitution, mutuality, or synergy of perceptions.
Bersini H. & Varela F. J. (1991) Hints for adaptive problem solving gleaned from immune networks. In: Schwefel H.-P. & Männer R. (eds.) Parallel Problem Solving from Nature, Lecture Notes in Computer Science Volume 496. Springer Verlag, Berlin: 343–354. https://cepa.info/1964
Biology gives us numerous examples of self-assertional systems whose essence does not precede their existence but is rather revealed through it. Immune system is one of them. The fact of behaving in order not only to satisfy external constraints as a pre-fixed set of possible environments and objectives, but also to satisfy internal “viability” constraints justifies a sharper focus. Adaptability, creativity and memory are certainly interesting “side-effects” of such a tendency for self-consistency. However in this paper, we adopted a largely pragmatic attitude attempting to find the best hybridizing between the biological lessons and the engineering needs. The great difficulty, also shared by neural net and GA users, remains the precise localisation of the frontier where the biological reality must give way to a directed design.
Bettoni M. C. & Eggs C. (2010) User-Centred Knowledge Management: A Constructivist and Socialized View. Constructivist Foundations 5(3): 130–143. https://constructivist.info/5/3/130
Context: The discipline of knowledge management (KM) begins to understand a) that it should move towards a user-centred, socialized KM and b) which business objectives provide motivation to do so. However, it lacks ideas on how to reach the objective that it suggests and justifies. We contend in this paper that this change requires a more viable understanding of knowledge combined with a suitable model of social interaction, otherwise it will fail. Problem: The problem to be solved is to find a way to blend a model of social interaction and a suitable understanding of knowledge so that together they can contribute to the objective of implementing a “user-centred KM.” In this paper we show a solution articulated in several conceptual and experimental components and phases. Method: We use a systemic and cybernetic approach: systemic analysis of the problem, conception of a cybernetic approach, design of a systemic solution, and its evaluation in an experiment. The main methods used are systems engineering, cybernetic modelling, and knowledge engineering. Results: We propose seven interrelated results: 1. A defect analysis of KM; 2. The concept of knowledge as the “Logic of Experience”; 3. A set of five KM design principles; 4. The principle of “Knowledge Identity”; 5. The model of “Knowledge Cooperation”; 6. The architecture of a user-centred KM system; and 7. Insights from a KM experiment. Implications: Our results are useful for any stakeholder in today’s knowledge economy when they need to understand, design, build, nurture and support an organization’s capacity to learn and innovate for the benefit not only of the company’s financial owners but also of the individuals who work in it. Future research should urgently address the issues of “knowledge identity” and the “knowledge contract” and KM practice should design its next steps for moving towards a user-centred KM in conformity with the principle of “knowledge identity.” The paper links explicitly to radical constructivism and argues in favour of a radical constructivist foundation for KM in which knowledge is seen as the “Logic of Experience.” It also shows how this KM foundation can be extended with a social perspective and by that allow the individual and the social to be conceived of as complementary elements in one single KM system.
In this paper we reflect on the relationship between planning and law. We analyse the Dutch interpretation and implementation of the European Union Habitats and Birds Directives by investigating the practices of delineation of protected areas. These directives provide a legislative framework for the designation of protected sites as well as for decision making about social and economic activities that might have negative effects on the conservation objectives. The formal boundaries of the protected area can have legal, political, and economic consequences and are therefore the subject of much debate. Using Niklas Luhmann’s social systems theory, we analyse the debates concerning delineation and the potential for planning to reduce tensions and balance interests. It is argued that the irreducible differences between the economic, political, and legal perspectives, in combination with the Dutch path of a legalistic interpretation of EU directives, have produced a situation in which the role of planning is reduced and new forms of planning are hard to implement.
Purpose: This paper seeks to present a comprehensive overview of the supply chain as an autopoietic system. The new autopoietic approach suggests a transition from traditional cognitivist epistemology to the theory of learning as a creational matter, and this type of thinking can potentially shed light on the role of knowledge creation as a part of supply chain management. Design/methodology/approach – The paper is structured as follows: the first section describes the theoretical background of the concept of knowledge management in the supply chain. After that, the paper examines the general systems theory and the role of an autopoietic system within it. Then the paper addresses autopoietic epistemology. In particular, the notions of knowledge, learning, and knowledge flows are described so that the focus is on the context of the supply chain and supply chain management at operational level. Findings: The supplier’s, customer’s, and firm’s own organization and parts of the organization have autonomy system memories, which ultimately formulate how the intended development ideas are in fact realized and how they are adopted by the organization. Supply chain managers should take into account the fact that the routines and norms of the node are part of the system that are not controlled from outside. Instead, the system can modify its objectives internally as part of its autonomous operation, which should be taken into consideration in the knowledge sharing process. Originality/value – The description of a supply chain as an autopoietic knowledge system is a new way to examine knowledge sharing in a supply chain.
Excerpt: This paper describes the results of a controlled experiment that tested the effectiveness of Lord’s teaching model in: 1. Helping students achieve better grades on standard midterm exams. 2. Develop higher level thinking skills. 3. Modify their attitude towards biology at a large, urban university. The objectives are to provide further evidence in favor of constructivist teaching over the traditional model, and to motivate fellow university professors to accept this challenge and move towards a more studentcentered method of instruction.
Cadenas H. & Arnold M. (2015) The Autopoiesis of Social Systems and its Criticisms. Constructivist Foundations 10(2): 169–176. https://cepa.info/1214
Context: Although the theory of autopoietic systems was originally formulated to explain the phenomenon of life from an operational and temporal perspective, sociologist Niklas Luhmann incorporated it later within his theory of social systems. Due to this adoption, there have been several discussions regarding the applicability of this concept beyond its biological origins. Problem: This article addresses the conception of Luhman’s autopoietic social systems, and confronts this vision with criticism both of the original authors of the concept of autopoiesis and of other social theorists in order to elucidate the main problems of this debate and its possible solutions. Method: The objectives of the article are reached by means of a theoretical reconstruction of the main issues of the debate on the concept of autopoiesis. The main method used for the research is the use of documentary sources to discuss the arguments. Results: We claim that it is justified to extend the concept of autopoiesis from its biological origin to other disciplines, and to develop its interdisciplinary character, following the spirit of systems theory and constructivism. Implications: Our results are useful for promoting the development of new interdisciplinary research in the field of systems theory and constructivism. Important changes to practice should be made, namely, the development of new research methods, new concepts and perspectives. Constructivist content: The concept of autopoiesis is one of the fundamental concepts of the constructivist epistemology. The discussion proposes a radical understanding of this concept in order to realize all its explanatory potential.
Cobb P., Wood T. & Yackel E. (1991) A constructivist approach to second grade mathematics. In: Glasersfeld E. (ed.) Radical constructivism in mathematics education. Kluwer, Dordrecht: 157–176. https://cepa.info/5284
Our overall objective in this paper is to share a few observations made and insights gained while conducting a recently completed teaching experiment. The experiment had a strong pragmatic emphasis in that we were responsible for the mathematics instruction of a second grade class (7 year-olds) for the entire school year. Thus, we had to accommodate a variety of institutionalized constraints. As an example, we agreed to address all of the school corporation’s objectives for second grade mathematics instruction. In addition, we were well aware that the school corporation administrators evaluated the project primarily in terms of mean gains on standardized achievement tests. Further, we had to be sensitive to parents’ concerns, particularly as their children’s participation in the project was entirely voluntary. Not surprising, these constraints profoundly influenced the ways in which we attempted to translate constructivism as a theory of knowing into practice. We were fortunate in that the classroom teacher, who had taught second grade mathematics “straight by the book” for the previous sixteen years, was a member of the project staff. Her practical wisdom and insights proved to be invaluable.
De Jesus P. (2016) From enactive phenomenology to biosemiotic enactivism. Adaptive Behavior 24(2): 130–146. https://cepa.info/2632
Autopoietic enactivism (AE) is a relatively young but increasingly influential approach within embodied cognitive science, which aims to offer a viable alternative framework to mainstream cognitivism. Similarly, in biology, the nascent field of biosemiotics has steadily been developing an increasingly influential alternative framework to mainstream biology. Despite sharing common objectives and clear theoretical overlap, there has to date been little to no exchange between the two fields. This paper takes this under-appreciated overlap as not only a much needed call to begin building bridges between the two areas but also as an opportunity to explore how AE could benefit from biosemiotics. As a first tentative step towards this end, the paper will draw from both fields to develop a novel synthesis – biosemiotic enactivism – which aims to clarify, develop and ultimately strengthen some key AE concepts. The paper has two main goals: (i) to propose a novel conception of cognition that could contribute to the ongoing theoretical developments of AE and (ii) to introduce some concepts and ideas from biosemiotics to the enactive community in order to stimulate further debate across the two fields.