Alhadeff-Jones M. (2008) Promoting scientific dialogue as a lifelong learning process. In: F. Darbellay, M. Cockell, J. Billotte & F. Waldvogel (ed.) A vision of transdisciplinarity; Laying foundations for a world knowledge dialogue. Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Press / CRC Press, Lausanne: 94–102.
The aim of this paper is to reconsider some of the stakes involved in the dialogue between sciences and between scientists, considering it as a complex and critical learning process. Dialogue – as conversation, expression, performance and negotiation – can be conceived in several ways. It carries both an epistemic and an experiential side. It involves simultaneously heterogeneous theories and identities. Because it involves fragmented scientific languages, it also requires a shared vision. But above all, what seems critical to acknowledge is that dialogue is a matter of transformation. And because transformation is also a matter of learning, the promotion of dialogue between sciences should be perceived as a virtuous spiral involving: instrumental learning (to dialogue), communicational learning (what we mean by dialoguing) and emancipatory learning (to challenge our core assumptions about dialogue and sciences). Considering the evolution of sciences as a double process embedded in the production of knowledge and the self-development of researchers raises the question of how to conceive simultaneously the relationships between these two major stakes. From a practical point of view, considering scientific dialogue as a lifelong learning process would finally suggest the management of forums like the World Knowledge Dialogue (WKD) as a privileged educational opportunity to be designed following what is known about science as a social practice and about researchers as adult learners. Based on the first edition of this forum, four suggestions are finally considered: favoring heterogeneity; valorizing formal knowledge as well as lived experience; acknowledging the learning dimension involved in the process of sharing; and confronting professional experience with knowledge produced about sciences. Inspired by Edgar Morin’s constructivist and non-dualistic position, this paper explores its practical stakes by revisiting the practice of transdisciplinary research and by considering the relationships between the process of knowledge construction and researchers’ self-development as a lifelong learning process.
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
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.
Alrøe H. F. & Noe E. (2012) The paradox of scientific expertise: A perspectivist approach to knowledge asymmetries. Fachsprache - International Journal of Specialized Communication XXXIV(3–4): 152–167. https://cepa.info/462
The paradox of scientific expertise is that the growth of science leads to a fragmentation of scientific expertise. To resolve this paradox, this paper probes three hypotheses: 1) All scientific knowledge is perspectival. 2) The perspectival structure of science leads to specific forms of knowledge asymmetries. 3) Such perspectival knowledge asymmetries must be handled through second order perspectives. We substantiate these hypotheses on the basis of a perspectivist philosophy of science grounded in Peircean semiotics and autopoietic systems theory. Perspectivism is an important elaboration of constructivist approaches to help overcome problems in cross-disciplinary collaboration and use of science, and thereby make society better able to solve complex, real-world problems.
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
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.
Excerpt: Ecology is an eminently practical discipline, but the practical dilemmas of the ecological movement – and arguably of the environmental crisis itself – are the consequences of our failure to comprehend the complexity and unity of nature theoretically. The ecological crisis is first and foremost an epistemological crisis. 1 As Thomas Kuhn has taught us, such crises are potentially revolutionary episodes out of which new paradigms can emerge. 2 We have also learned from Kuhn that paradigm shifts are rarely sudden events; usually they unfold over decades or even centuries. So it has been with the search for a new paradigm that was inaugurated by Goethe’s scientific work. 3 As a practicing scientist and as a philosopher of science, Goethe both foresaw the crisis of mechanistic explanation and laid foundations for a new paradigm that might replace it. 4 In doing so, he also laid foundations for a future, alternative science of ecology. Although the term “ecology” did not exist until Ernst Haeckel coined it in 1866, Goethe was a profound ecologist in principle and practice if not yet in name. 5 This essay on four major “Goethean ecologists” seeks to add a brief chapter to the history of the reception of Goethe’s scientific work6 and also to Donald Worster’s now standard history of ecology, 7 which barely mentions Goethe in passing.
Appleton K. (1997) Analysis and description of students’ learning during science classes using a constructivist-based model. Journal of Research in Science Teaching 34(3): 303–318.
Constructivist ideas have had a major influence on science educators over the last decade. In this report a model describing possible student responses during science lessons is outlined, and a rationale for it is provided on the basis of both constructivist theory and tests of the model in middle school science classes. The study therefore explores a way to analyze and describe learning derived from both constructivist theoretical considerations and classroom practice. The model was tested in a series of science lessons, resulting in several revisions. The final version explained in this report is therefore consistent with the science lesson contexts explored and the theoretical constructs which underlie it. The lessons were conducted in three classes of 11- to 13-year-olds in provincial cities in Queensland, Australia. Students were mostly of Caucasian extraction, in mixed-ability and mixed-gender classes. Three students from each class were interviewed individually immediately following each of the three lessons, for a total of 27 interviews. The interviews, videotapes of lessons, and field notes were used as data sources. The final version of the model proved to be fairly robust in describing students’ cognitive progress through the lessons. This study has resulted in a model for science lessons which allows the identification and description of students’ cognitive progress through the lessons. By using this focus on the learner, it provides preknowledge for teachers about how students might arrive at solutions to science problems during lessons, and therefore potentially provides indications about appropriate teaching strategies.
Appleton K. (1997) Implications for teaching derived from a constructivist-based model of learning in science classes. In: Abrams R. (ed.) Proceedings of the Fourth International Misconceptions Seminar: From misconceptions to constructed understanding, 13–15 June 1997. The Meaningful Learning Research Group, Santa Cruz CA. https://cepa.info/7252
While cognitive and social constructivism have at times been portrayed as competing paradigms, some authors such as Cobb (1994) have suggested that they are different ways of looking at the same thing. In an earlier paper, aspects of both cognitive and social constructivism were incorporated into a model used to analyse and describe student learning in science classrooms (Appleton, 1997). The model has subsequently been revised and has been used to draw implications for the teaching of science. In this paper, key elements of the model are explained, and how each may be used to inform and shape science teaching is explored.
Appleton K. & Asoko H. (1996) A case study of a teacher’s progress toward using a constructivist view of learning to inform teaching in elementary science. Science Education 80(2): 165–180. https://cepa.info/5900
For some years, there have been in‐service efforts to help teachers become familiar with constructivist ideas about learning, and to apply them in their science teaching. This study is a vignette of one teacher’s science teaching some time after such an in‐service activity. It explores the ways in which the teacher implemented his perceptions of constructivist ideas about learning in his teaching of a topic. The extent to which the teacher used teaching principles based on constructivism was influenced by his views of science and of learning, how he usually planned his teaching, and his confidence in his own understanding of the topic. Features of the teaching which reflect a constructivist view of learning are discussed and some problems are identified. We conclude with some reflections about in‐service programs within a constructivist framework.
Arbib M. A. (2018) From cybernetics to brain theory, and more: A memoir. Cognitive Systems Research 50: 83–145.
While structured as an autobiography, this memoir exemplifies ways in which classic contributions to cybernetics (e.g., by Wiener, McCulloch & Pitts, and von Neumann) have fed into a diversity of current research areas, including the mathematical theory of systems and computation, artificial intelligence and robotics, computational neuroscience, linguistics, and cognitive science. The challenges of brain theory receive special emphasis. Action-oriented perception and schema theory complement neural network modeling in analyzing cerebral cortex, cerebellum, hippocampus, and basal ganglia. Comparative studies of frog, rat, monkey, ape and human not only deepen insights into the human brain but also ground an EvoDevoSocio view of “how the brain got language.” The rapprochement between neuroscience and architecture provides a recent challenge. The essay also assesses some of the social and theological implications of this broad perspective.
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.”