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.
Devellennes C. (2014) Choice, blind spots and free will. Philosophy & Social Criticism 40(9): 895–911.
This article shows that the concept of choice is central to Isaiah Berlin’s liberalism. It argues that his valuing of choice is anchored in a particular conception of human nature, one that assumes and presupposes free will. Berlin’s works sketch a metaphysics of choice, and his reluctance to situate himself openly in the debate on free will is unconvincing. By introducing the theory of autopoiesis, this article further suggests that there is a way to take Berlin’s value pluralism seriously, by considering sets of values as autopoietic conscious systems. Drawing on the works of Maturana and Varela in biology and Luhmann in sociology, autopoiesis strengthens value pluralism and acts as a critique of liberalism. By putting objectivity in parenthesis, autopoiesis finally allows for value systems to coexist side by side in a stronger sense than Berlin’s liberalism ever could.
This article discusses the explanatory paths that Maturana calls objectivity-without-parenthesis, or the path of transcendental objectivity, and the path of objectivity-in-parenthesis, or the path of constituted objectivity (Maturana, 1988). I relate these views to Black Box descriptions and operational descriptions of organizational systems (Espejo & Reyes, 2011). The most significant implication of this distinction is that while Black Box descriptions are focused on the relational complexity of the social system with its environment, the operational descriptions are focused on the complexity of the relationships producing these organizational systems from the multiple stakeholders’ viewpoints, accounting for aspects such as respect, trust, collaboration, cooperation and in more general terms to the emotions of love constituting these relationships. It is argued that this second-order cybernetics perspective is complementary to the first order, Black Box perspective, and adds to our understanding of Ashby’s requisite variety (Ashby, 1964) and Beer’s viable system model (Beer, 1979).
I was familiar with constructivist thinking in Dewey, Piaget, and von Glasersfeld when I discovered Humberto Maturana’s work. I used Maturana’s idea of objectivities in parenthesis in intervention studies in elementary schools focused on gender stereotypes and children with learning difficulties or from other countries. Recently I wrote about thinking about sustainability and climate change and hoped that objectivities captured in the phrase consensual communities might facilitate dialogue between groups with different views. Yet throughout there is always the tension between alternative objectivities. I am concerned about how to sustain mutual respect in conversations between individuals and consensual communities that have strongly opposing views.
Mascolo R. (2009) Cambiare il punto di vista: circolarità della vita e pratiche filosofiche [Changing the point of view: the circularity of life and philosophical practices]. Rivista Italiana di Counseling Filosofico 5(5): 65–85. https://cepa.info/372
In this paper we use the theoretical framework of the theory of living systems of Maturana and Varela, which entails a new way of seeing the world and a new way of thinking, a new science of complexity. At the core of the theoretical premise is that we can no longer maintain the division between the observer and observed that is implicit in the atomistic view, but that both observer and observed are interpenetrating aspects of one whole reality. According to Maturana and Varela, we consider cognition as an effective action that involves life in a circular way and where the world is not something that is given to us but something we engage in by living. The paper address the following issues: We consider that every action is embedded in a dynamics of relations that is inextricably part of a systemic dynamics; we put objectivity in parenthesis, so that all views in the multiverse are equally valid and we lose the passion for changing the other; we are responsible for our actions; human beings cannot be controlled in a causal linear way, and there can be no instructive intervention; perception and illusion cannot be distinguished “in the moment of the experience”; we have to listen without prejudice and be aware of the emotions coloring what one is hearing; there are no pathologies in the biological domain and the pain that becomes ing manifest in a therapy is always culturally conditioned.
Maturana H. R. (1983) What is it to see? (¿Qué es ver?). Archivos de Biología y Medicina Experimentales 16(3–4): 255–269.
We as neurobiologists studying vision usually do not ask the question what is it to see? because we considered it a philosophical and not a biological question, and do not realize that we answer it implicitly by doing what we do in our research. This implicit answer entails the basic assumption that we exist in an objective world independent of our acts of cognition and accessible to our knowledge. My contention is: a) that by answering the question what is it to see? one can show that this assumption cannot be sustained because the phenomenon of perception cannot consist in a process of grasping the features of an independent world of objects; and b) that by reflecting upon the nature of a scientific explanation one can show that this assumption is unnecessary because a scientific explanation is a particular kind of coordinations of actions in a community of observers that does not entail it. In this context, a) by putting objectivity in parenthesis, that is, by using the operational generation of scientific explanations and not the object as the criterion of validation of my statements, and, b) by recognizing that the nervous system operates as a closed neuronal network in the generation of its states of activity, I show that the phenomenon of perception arises in the description of an observer as a manner of referring to the operation of an organism in congruence with the particular environment in which it is observed. In these circumstances, my answer to the initial question is: to see is a particular manner of operating as a closed neuronal system component of an organism in a domain of structural coupling. Finally, I propose that by dwelling in language as a peculiar system of coordinations of actions, we human beings bring forth an objective world through using our own changes of states as describers that specify the objects that constitute it.
Méndez C. L., Coddou F. & Maturana H. R. (1988) The bringing forth of pathology. Irish Journal of Psychology 9(1): 144–172. https://cepa.info/599
This article applies Maturana’s theory of ‘bringing forth’ reality to the clinical domain. Many common features of therapy are redefined including the notions of ‘psychopathology’, languaging and conversations, the family, and cognition. New concepts are introduced, notably those of the multiversa and the placing of objectivity in parenthesis. The rôle of the socially sanctioned specialist (expert) is examined and criticised for pretending to have a privileged access to an objectively existing reality. The authors propose a radical change in epistemology, premised upon the changes in understanding which they propose in relation to the ontology of the phenomenon of cognition. Particular attention is given to the orthogonality of the therapist’s approach to interacting with families.
Wright L. M. & Levac A. M. C. (1992) The non-existence of non-compliant families. The influence of Humberto Maturana. Journal of Advanced Nursing 17(8): 913–917. https://cepa.info/2805
Non-compliance is not only an epistemological error but a biological impossibility. This profound statement arises from the influence of Humberto Maturana’s revolutionary meta-theory of cognition. The definitions and significant implications of two major theoretical concepts of this meta-theory of cognition, namely structural determinism and objectivity-in-parenthesis, are discussed. These radical concepts challenge the approved North American Nursing Diagnostic Association’s nursing diagnosis of non-compliance Maturana’s theory reveals the impossibility of instructive interaction, leading the authors to conclude the non-existence of non-compliant families.