Publication 5533

Roth G. (1980) Cognition as a self-organizing system. In: Benseler F., Hejl P. M. & Köck W. K. (eds.) Autopoiesis, communication, and society: The theory of autopoietic systems in the social sciences. Campus Verlag, Frankfurt: 45–52. Fulltext at
Excerpt:I believe a model of cognition such as the one described not only seems to take the experimental biological, especially neurophysiological, and psychological, data better into account than the traditional models, but it is also more qualified to contribute to a new epistemological foundation of the social sciences, especially to abolish the untenable distinction between the two domains of science, the domain of “reliable” and “objective” knowledge of the natural sciences, and the domain of meaning and belief of the social sciences – or conversely, the distinction between the “cold” and “dead” results of the first and the “warm” and “vivid” results of the latter. The scientific activity of human beings – as well as cognitive activity in general – cannot be divided into distinct domains. It represents one process whose objects are not in themselves different but only in the degree of mutual interaction between the cognitive system and its “object,” or in other words: by the degree of interdependence of the histories of the cognitive system and the object, which is low in the physical and chemical sciences, but high in biological and highest in social sciences. In the latter we can observe, therefore, mutual structural coupling or “communication.”

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