Observer or self‐observer in second‐order cybernetics?

Pere Julià (Institut Mediterrani d’Estudis Avançats, Spanish Council for Scientific Research/CSIC, Palma de Mallorca, Spain)

Kybernetes

ISSN: 0368-492X

Publication date: 1 July 2000

Abstract

The distinction between “observed” and “observing” systems that legitimizes the rise of second‐order cybernetics also raises a number of methodological and epistemological issues. These can be generically classified into two broad groups: first, adherence to the model approach and its overemphasis on cognition, at the expense of conation and other factors responsible for the initiation of action; second, an inadequate appraisal of the nature of language and its role within the sum total of human behavior. The overall result is the perennial confusion between the behavior of the expert and that of the subjects under investigation. Underlying both of these, in the final reckoning, is the hypostatical nature of the linguistic and logical constructs employed. The ambiguity surrounding “observing systems” begins to dissipate when we realize that second‐order cybernetics is not so much about an “observer” as about a “self‐observer”. The study of self‐referentiality is not only about language; it is about other forms of behavior as well.

Keywords

Citation

Julià, P. (2000), "Observer or self‐observer in second‐order cybernetics?", Kybernetes, Vol. 29 No. 5/6, pp. 770-786. https://doi.org/10.1108/03684920010333198

Publisher

:

MCB UP Ltd

Copyright © 2000, MCB UP Limited

To read the full version of this content please select one of the options below

You may be able to access this content by logging in via Shibboleth, Open Athens or with your Emerald account.
To rent this content from Deepdyve, please click the button.
If you think you should have access to this content, click the button to contact our support team.