Publication 2699

Müller K. H. (2015) De profundis. Ranulph Glanville’s transcendental framework for second-order cybernetics. Cybernetics & Human Knowing 22(2/3): 27–47. Fulltext at
Ranulph Glanville was a prolific writer, a magic designer, an avant-garde musician, a cybernetician of the first- and of the second-order, a philosopher in disguise, to name only a few roles. His contributions to second-order cybernetics and to areas like design, philosophy, conversation theory, methodology or games, with the tools and perspectives of his version of second-order cybernetics were collected under the title “The Black B∞x” in three volumes in edition echoraum (Glanville, 2009, 2012, 2014) and were ordered and arranged by Ranulph Glanville himself so that they allow a general and systematic overview on this very large, diverse, and impressive corpus. In this short essay I will undertake a systematic attempt to make this work more easily accessible for others, including myself, and to provide a special location for Ranulph Glanville within the research program of second-order cybernetics in particular and within the research tradition of radical constructivism in general. It will become my central thesis in this article that Ranulph Glanville’s special role and function was to provide a meta-approach to all the available research programs in radical constructivism. This framework was transcendental in nature and focused on the conditions of the possibility for observation, for communication, for language, for knowledge or for learning to emerge at all. Thus, Ranulph Glanville reserved a unique place for himself that, at the same time, turned out to be magic for his explorations and very difficult to grasp for his intellectual environment.

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