A similarity between the concepts of reproduction and explanation is observed which implies a similarity between the less well understood concepts of complete self-reproduction and complete self-explanation. These latter concepts are shown to be independent from ordinary loglcal-mathematical-biological reasoning, and a special form of complete selfreproduction is shown to be axiomatizable. Involved is the question whether there exists a function that belongs to its own domain or range. Previously, Wittgenstein has argued, on intuitive grounds, that no function can be its own argument. Similarly, Rosen has argued that a paradox is implied by the notion of a function which is a member of its own range. Our result shows that such functions indeed are independent from ordinary logical-mathematical reasoning, but that they need not imply any inconsistencies, Instead such functions can be axiomatized, and in this sense they really do exist. Finally, the introduced notion of complete self-reproduction is compared with “self-reproduction” of ordinary biological language. It is pointed out that complete self-reproduction is primarily of interest in connection with formal theories of evolution.
Löfgren L. (1988) Towards system: from computation to the phenomenon of languag. In: Carvallo M. E. (ed.) Nature, cognition and system, I. Reidel, Dordrecht: 129–152. https://cepa.info/1845
Early cybernetics emphasized control and communication in the animal and the machine. Subsequent understandings of linguistic phenomena in the animal have shown them not to be reducible to purely mechanistic models. The linguistic complementarity, with its possibilities for transcendence, provides such an understanding, indicating relativistic approaches within modern systems theory. Comparisons are made with Bohr´s concept of complementarity for quantum physics, again an area where linguistic objectifications are developing. The linguistic complementarity is taken as a basis for a general concept of language, permitting particularizations like programming languages, formal languages, genetic languages, and natural communication languages.
Luhmann N. (1982) The self-thematization of society. In: Luhmann N. (ed.) The differentiation of society. Columbia University Press, New York: 324–362. https://cepa.info/1846
Maturana H. R. (1974) Cognitive strategies. In: Foerster H. von (ed.) Cybernetics of cybernetics. Biological Computer Lab (BCL) Report 73–38.. Department of Electrical Engineering, University of Illinois, Urbana IL: 457–469. https://cepa.info/542
My purpose in this article is to discuss cognition in relation to man and the unity of man, in an attempt to showthat any notionthat we may have about the unity of man is bound to our views about knowledge and reality. Since everything that I say is said as an observer addressing other observers, I shall consider the statement that “any human action implies knowledge” as a sufﬁcient experiential characterization of cognition, and let any additional connotation arise in the course of the article.
Maturana H. R. (1978) Biology of language: The epistemology of reality. In: Miller G. & Lenneberg E. (eds.) Psychology and biology of language and thought: Essays in honor of Eric Lenneberg. Academic Press, New York: 27–63. https://cepa.info/549
I am not a linguist, I am a biologist. Therefore, I shall speak about language as a biologist, and address myself to two basic biological questions, namely: 1. What processes must take place in an organism for it to establish a linguistic domain with another organism? 2. What processes take place in a linguistic interaction that permit an organism (us) to describe and to predict events that it may experience? This is my way of honoring the memory of Eric H. Lenneberg, if one honors the memory of another scientist by speaking about one's own work Whatever the case, I wish to honor his memory not only because of his great accomplishments, but also because he was capable of inspiring his students, as the symposium on which this book is based revealed. The only way I can do this is to accept the honor of presenting my views about biology, language, and reality. I shall, accordingly, speak about language as a biologist. In doing so, I shall use language, notwithstanding that this use of language to speak about language is within the core of the problem I wish to consider.
Maturana H. R. (1990) Science and daily life: The ontology of scientific explanations. In: Krohn W., Küppers G. & Nowotny H. (eds.) Selforganization: Portrait of a scientific revolution. Kluwer, Dordrecht: 12–35. https://cepa.info/607
From the Introduction: Although according to its etymology the word science means the same as the word knowledge, it has been used in the history of Western thinking to refer to any knowledge whose validity can be defended on methodological grounds, regardless of the phenomenal domain in which it is claimed. In modern times, however, this has progressively changed, and the word science is now most frequently used to refer only to a knowledge validated through a particular method, namely, the scientific method. This progressive emphasis on the scientific method has arisen under two general implicit or explicit assumptions of scientists and philosophers of science alike, namely: a) that the scientific method, either through verification, through corroboration, or through the denial of falsification, reveals, or at least connotes, an objective reality that exists independently of what the observers do or desire, even if it cannot be fully known; and b) that the validity of scientific explanations and statements rests on their connection with such objective reality. It is of this kind of knowledge that I shall speak in this article when speaking of science, and in the process I shall implicitly or explicitly disagree, without giving a full philosophical justification, with one aspect or another of what many classic thinkers of the philosophy of science who discuss these matters in depth have said. And I shall do so because I shall speak as a biologist, not as a philosopher, reflecting about science as a cognitive domain generated as a human biological activity. Furthermore, I shall do these reflections attending to what I see that we modern natural scientists do in the praxis of science in order to claim the scientific validity of our statements and explanations, and I shall show how that which we do as scientists relates to what we do as we live our daily lives revealing the epistemological and ontological status of that which we call science.
Pask G. (1970) The meaning of cybernetics in the behavioural sciences… Extending the meaning of “goal”. In: Rose J. (ed.) Progress of Cybernetics, Volume 1. Gordon and Breach, London: 15–44. https://cepa.info/1847
The paper discusses the impact of cybernetic ideas upon behavioural and cognitive studies in general but the main thesis is developed in the context of human psychology. An effort is made to trace the influence of cybernetics upon the development of psychological theories, experimental techniques and methods for modelling mental and behavioural activity. Particular emphasis is placed upon the key concept of a “goal directed” system. It is argued that this concept becomes differentiated to yield two specialised forms of system, namely “taciturn systems” and “language oriented systems”; of these. the latter are peculiarly important in connection with. studies of man or attempts to control, teach, or otherwise influence human beings. As it stands, the notion of “goal directed” system is unable to adumbrate the phenomena of evolutionary development (as in open ended concept learning) and conscious experience. Problems entailing both types of phenomena are ubiquitous in the human domain and the paper considers several ways in which the connotation of goal directedness can be enlarged sufficiently to render it useful in these areas.
Pask G. (1976) Conversations with many aim topics. In: Conversation Theory. Applications in education and epistemology. Elsevier: 185–224. https://cepa.info/1848