Publication 1345

Richards J. & Glasersfeld E. von (1979) The control of perception and the construction of reality: Epistemological aspects of the feedback-control system. Dialectica 33(1): 37–58. Fulltext at https://cepa.info/1345
This paper explicates a Constructivist Epistemology which underlies cybernetic models of perceiving and knowing. We focus on the recent work of W. T. Powers (Behavior: The Control of Perception, Chicago: Aldine, 1973). Powers’ model consists of hierarchially arranged negative feedback systems, is based on the claim that living organisms behave to control perceptions, and thus suggests that organisms construct their experiential world. We argue that this provides a basis for a modified scientific scepticism, a scepticism with a positive dimension gained by adding the notion of cognitive construction. From this perspective, knowing and perceiving pertain to the construction of invariances in the living organism’s experience.
German translation: (1984) Die Kontrolle von Wahrnehmung und die Konstruktion von Realität. Delfin III: 9–25

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