Key word "reflexive"
Albrecht G. (2001) Konstruktion von Realität und Realität von Konstruktionen [The construction of reality and the reality of constructions]. Soziale Probleme 12(1/2): 116–145. https://cepa.info/6466
Konstruktion von Realität und Realität von Konstruktionen [The construction of reality and the reality of constructions].
Soziale Probleme 12(1/2): 116–145.
Fulltext at https://cepa.info/6466
The author criticizes different varieties of constructionist theories of social problems. The strict version of constructionism is criticised for missing its objective and for not leading to a theory but only producing descriptions of rhetorical strategies. Contextual constructionism seems to suffer from unidentified objectivisms that are unavoidable but innocuous when handled in a reflexive manner. Schetsche’s reception of Baudrillards ideas seems to be unconvincing because of empirical and methodological reasons. There are alternatives that do not demand so many serious and unprovable assumptions. Some of these alternatives derived from modernization and globalisation theories and from Nedelmann’s Theory of Conflict Management are discussed.
Alroe H. F. (2000) Science as systems learning: Some reflections on the cognitive and communicational aspects of science. Cybernetics & Human Knowing 7(4): 57–78. https://cepa.info/3160
Alroe H. F.
Science as systems learning: Some reflections on the cognitive and communicational aspects of science.
Cybernetics & Human Knowing 7(4): 57–78.
Fulltext at https://cepa.info/3160
This paper undertakes a theoretical investigation of the “learning” aspect of science as opposed to the “knowledge” aspect. The practical background of the paper is in agricultural systems research – an area of science that can be characterised as “systemic” because it is involved in the development of its own subject area, agriculture. And the practical purpose of the theoretical investigation is to contribute to a more adequate understanding of science in such areas, which can form a basis for developing and evaluating systemic research methods, and for determining appropriate criteria of scientific quality. Two main perspectives on science as a learning process are explored: research as the learning process of a cognitive system, and science as a social, communicational system. A simple model of a cognitive system is suggested, which integrates both semiotic and cybernetic aspects, as well as a model of self-reflective learning in research, which entails moving from an inside “actor” stance to an outside “observer” stance, and back. This leads to a view of scientific knowledge as inherently contextual and to the suggestion of reflexive objectivity and relevance as two related key criteria of good science.
Alroe H. F. (2016) Three Levels of Semiosis: Three Kinds of Kinds. Cybernetics & Human Knowing 23(2): 23–38. https://cepa.info/3353
Alroe H. F.
Three Levels of Semiosis: Three Kinds of Kinds.
Cybernetics & Human Knowing 23(2): 23–38.
Fulltext at https://cepa.info/3353
In philosophy, there is an as yet unresolved discussion on whether there are different kinds of kinds and what those kinds are. In particular, there is a distinction between indifferent kinds, which are unaffected by observation and representation, and interactive kinds, which respond to being studied in ways that alter the very kinds under study. This is in essence a discussion on ontologies and, I argue, more precisely about ontological levels. The discussion of kinds of kinds can be resolved by using a semiotic approach to ontological levels, building on the key semiotic concept of representation. There are three, and only three, levels of semiosis: nonor protosemiotic processes without representation, such as physical or causal processes, semiotic processes with representation, such as the processes of life and cognition, and second-order semiotic processes with representation of representation, such as self-awareness and self-reflexive communication. This leads to the distinction between not two, but three kinds of kinds: indifferent, adaptive and reflexive kinds, of which the last two hitherto have not been clearly distinguished.
Alrøe H. F. & Noe E. (2014) Second-Order Science of Interdisciplinary Research: A Polyocular Framework for Wicked Problems. Constructivist Foundations 10(1): 65–76. https://cepa.info/1166
Alrøe H. F. & Noe E.
Second-Order Science of Interdisciplinary Research: A Polyocular Framework for Wicked Problems.
Constructivist Foundations 10(1): 65–76.
Fulltext at https://cepa.info/1166
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.
Aufenvenne P., Egner H. & Elverfeldt K. (2014) On Climate Change Research, the Crisis of Science and Second-order Science. Constructivist Foundations 10(1): 120–129. https://cepa.info/1179
Aufenvenne P., Egner H. & Elverfeldt K.
On Climate Change Research, the Crisis of Science and Second-order Science.
Constructivist Foundations 10(1): 120–129.
Fulltext at https://cepa.info/1179
Context: This conceptual paper tries to tackle the advantages and the limitations that might arise from including second-order science into global climate change sciences, a research area that traditionally focuses on first-order approaches and that is currently attracting a lot of media and public attention. Problem: The high profile of climate change research seems to provoke a certain dilemma for scientists: despite the slowly increasing realization within the sciences that our knowledge is temporary, tentative, uncertain, and far from stable, the public expectations towards science and scientific knowledge are still the opposite: that scientific results should prove to be objective, reliable, and authoritative. As a way to handle the uncertainty, scientists tend to produce “varieties of scenarios” instead of clear statements, as well as reports that articulate different scientific opinions about the causes and dynamics of change (e.g., the IPCC. This might leave the impression of vague and indecisive results. As a result, esteem for the sciences seems to be decreasing within public perception. Method: This paper applies second-order observation to climate change research in particular and the sciences in general. Results: Within most sciences, it is still quite unusual to disclose and discuss the epistemological foundations of the respective research questions, methods and ways to interpret data, as research proceeds mainly from some version of realistic epistemological positions. A shift towards self-reflexive second-order science might offer possibilities for a return to a “less polarized” scientific and public debate on climate change because it points to knowledge that is in principle tentative, uncertain and fragmented as well as to the theory- and observation-dependence of scientific work. Implications: The paper addresses the differences between first-order and second-order science as well as some challenges of science in general, which second-order science might address and disclose. Constructivist content: Second-order science used as observation praxis (second-order observation) for this specific field of research.
Baron P. (2018) Heterarchical Reflexive Conversational Teaching and Learning as a Vehicle for Ethical Engineering Curriculum Design. Constructivist Foundations 13(3): 309–319. https://cepa.info/5286
Heterarchical Reflexive Conversational Teaching and Learning as a Vehicle for Ethical Engineering Curriculum Design.
Constructivist Foundations 13(3): 309–319.
Fulltext at https://cepa.info/5286
Context: South African public universities are currently undergoing a transitional period as they traverse the sensitive road of curriculum redesign that achieves an inclusive approach to education for the goal of the decolonisation of knowledge. Problem: Many classrooms have students from several cultural backgrounds yet in these spaces there is often a single dominant discourse on offer. An ethical question is raised in terms of what content should be addressed in the classroom. Method: An approach to curricula design as a conversation is presented. The philosophical aspects underlying shifts in epistemology are presented following an eclectic approach to curricula design that embraces second-order science in achieving the ongoing goal of decolonisation. The method used to achieve this goal is conversational heterarchical curriculum design assuming non quidem tabula rasa. Students can act as reference points (Nunataks) for curricula design, thus reducing the abstraction in the syllabus. Results: A heterarchical conversational approach offers a platform whereby social justice may be addressed in the classroom by providing a means by which the students’ own epistemology is embraced within the curriculum as the students provide the trajectory for the course content based on their own epistemology. A dynamic curriculum is then available that has immediate use in the communities that the students reside in. Students demonstrate understanding of the content as it is tied to their own way of knowing. Implications: The benefits of this approach include moving away from defining science according to a realist view. Educators may accept the idea that knowledge is not impartial and that method is tied to epistemology. When the observer is included in science, an awareness arises that theories (at least in the social sciences) affect what is studied, which in turn affects society. Constructivist content: The approach builds on von Foerster’s ideas on reflexivity. Pask’s conversation theory is a vehicle for the attainment of reflexive conversational teaching and learning.
Key words: Adaptation
, curriculum design
, conversation theory
, second-order science
Baron P. (2019) A Proposal for Personalised and Relational Qualitative Religious Studies Methodology. Constructivist Foundations 15(1): 28–38. https://cepa.info/6156
A Proposal for Personalised and Relational Qualitative Religious Studies Methodology.
Constructivist Foundations 15(1): 28–38.
Fulltext at https://cepa.info/6156
Context: For many people, religion and/or spiritual experiences are an important part of their daily lives - shaping their thinking and actions. Studying these experiences relies on qualitative religious studies (RS) research that engages respondents on a deeply personal level. Problem: Researchers are unable to provide an apolitical, value-free approach to research. There lacks a rigorous methodological approach to qualitative RS research that addresses this epistemological obstacle. This is particularly relevant when studying a cohort with radically different beliefs from the researcher. Method: Researcher coupling is presented as a topic that defines the researcher and her participants as a systemic entity. By demonstrating how the researcher’s worldview is tied to her research, an argument for personalised and relational observer-dependent research is presented. Five reflexive questions are proposed as a starting point for personalised research to demonstrate the relational and intersubjective nature of this activity. Results: By linking the researcher to her research and changing the goal of research from independent and objective research to one that is relational and contextual, the scholar can report on her research in an ethical and socially just manner by linking her worldview to her research. Implications: The traditional research activity is redefined as one that should embrace the scholar’s worldview instead of attempting to hide it. The scientific ideals of independence and objectivity are replaced by interdependence and hence a proposal is made for personalised research that embraces the intersubjective nature of this activity. This proposal is meant to alleviate some of the epistemological weaknesses in RS. This paradigm shift promotes rigour as a qualifier for methodology including changes to how research is categorised. Constructivist content: Margaret Mead’s ideas of observer dependence in anthropological research and how the observer constructs her research findings are discussed. The circularity that exists in this relational context is analysed according to Bradford Keeney’s ideas on recursion and resultant future behavioural correction. Ranulph Glanville’s ideas of intersubjectivity and his concept of “in the between” are used as a foundation for the researcher-participant relationship. Ross Ashby’s notion of experimenter coupling is used as a basis for researcher coupling.
Bartesaghi M. (2012) Editor\s introduction. Special Issue on Social Construction: Re-Opening the Conversation, Re-Constituting the Possibilities. Electronic Journal of Communication 22(3–4). https://cepa.info/898
Special Issue on Social Construction: Re-Opening the Conversation, Re-Constituting the Possibilities. Electronic Journal of Communication 22(3–4).
Fulltext at https://cepa.info/898
This special issue invites a reflection on and reformulation of options for social construction as a theoretical and practical approach to studying communication as continuously emergent in relationships, constitutive of social reality, consequential to communicators, experienced through the bodily senses, and afforded by their material circumstances. Authors are encouraged to take stock of our predicted and actual accomplishments, consider the tensions between the promised and actualized changes brought about by social construction work in communication, and project the impact of social construction on the discipline in the next five to ten years. The focus is not only critical, but reflexive: How do we wish to reconstruct social construction? Relevance: The articles in the journal critically address social construction, taking on issues of its possibilities, shortcomings, and practical applications in psychotherapy, communication, and medicine.
Bartesaghi M. (2016) On Communication. Constructivist Foundations 12(1): 42–44. https://cepa.info/3804
Constructivist Foundations 12(1): 42–44.
Fulltext at https://cepa.info/3804
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.
Bermeo J. (2012) Using games as a methodology for observing the observer. Ediciones Uniandes, Bogotá Colombia.
Using games as a methodology for observing the observer.
Ediciones Uniandes, Bogotá Colombia.
This publication constructs a methodology of active learning for observing the observer: the tool used is the construction of games. The basic question is: What actions can be taken to allow the subject to observe himself, and how can learning activities be used as a way of reconstructing the subject’s experience during the observation? The basic reference framework for the qualitative research is constructivism. The conceptual and philosophical analysis of research is second-order cybernetics, which gives relevance to the theory of the observer and the relationship between the observer and what is observed. For the construction of the games the group is organized according to specific structures, which make up a work network within the proposed experimental scenario. Every reflexive discourse (conceptual, informational and descriptive) on the describer’s properties system will be formed, at least, of the perspectives, dispositions and distinctions in the language of the observer. In this sense, to observe the observer is not a representation of analyzable, controllable and predictable process, rather to observe the observer will be interpreting the metaphors that constitute him or her at any stage of experimentation that is proposed. The usefulness of the game as a methodology for observing the observer means that it is possible to propose a comparison between the dynamics of the social system built by the participants in the application of the methodology and the networks that can be built in terms of the language used. Relevance: The publication addresses a methodological approach for learning to observe the observer. In von Foerster’s words, observing the observer consists of describing the properties of the describer. First, we start from a position in second-order cybernetics which turns out to be a radical constructivist position. Then, we make a connection between observer, constructivism, metaphors and learning. The game is the designing pillar and the tool used to incorporate the proposed methodology. The games follow rules: constitutive, regulative and strategic. The structure of the game uses ideas of syntegration by Beer, and reinterprets them in a scenario of experimentation called the Cybernetics of Cybernetics course. In the game, each participant experiences the world which constitutes the game and the role of the observer in observing. Some final remarks discuss the use, advantages and limitations of the methodology proposed.
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