Publication 7910

Espejo R. (2022) Maturana’s path of objectivity-in-parenthesis. Cybernetics and Human Knowing 29(1–2): 63–76. Fulltext at
This article discusses the explanatory paths that Maturana calls objectivity-without-parenthesis, or the path of transcendental objectivity, and the path of objectivity-in-parenthesis, or the path of constituted objectivity (Maturana, 1988). I relate these views to Black Box descriptions and operational descriptions of organizational systems (Espejo & Reyes, 2011). The most significant implication of this distinction is that while Black Box descriptions are focused on the relational complexity of the social system with its environment, the operational descriptions are focused on the complexity of the relationships producing these organizational systems from the multiple stakeholders’ viewpoints, accounting for aspects such as respect, trust, collaboration, cooperation and in more general terms to the emotions of love constituting these relationships. It is argued that this second-order cybernetics perspective is complementary to the first order, Black Box perspective, and adds to our understanding of Ashby’s requisite variety (Ashby, 1964) and Beer’s viable system model (Beer, 1979).

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