Publication 3950

Pask G. (1979) Consciousness. Journal of Cybernetics 9(3): 211–258.
This paper comes to grips with the perplexing but important issue of consciousness as manifest in human beings and other organisms; in social organizations and, seemingly without degrading the idea, in other-than-biological systems. The possibility of taking such a radical step as to speak of consciousness within a theoretical frame, and without resorting to the expedient of relegating consciousness to a metatheory about science, arises from combining various developments in Cybernetics or General System Theory, which, though superficially disparate, have a great deal in common; for example, Goguen’s work in category theory (1969, 1975) and the work of Gergely and Nemeti (1977) in nonclassical model theory, the representation, in several different ways, of concurrent (in contrast to serial, or strictly parallel) computation, the work of Varela (1975, 1976), Maturana (1969, 1975), and Von Foerster (1960, 1978), upon organizational closure, Glanville’s (1975) notion of objects and self reference and the work done on conversation theory by my own group. This background is assumed to be familiar since an account appeared in Pask (1975a).
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