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Cybernetics and embodied cognition: on the construction of realities in organisms and robots

Tom Ziemke (School of Humanities and Informatics, University of Skövde, Skövde, Sweden)

Kybernetes

ISSN: 0368-492X

Article publication date: 1 January 2005

Abstract

Purpose

To point out the relevance of Heinz von Foerster's work to modern embodied cognitive science and artifical intelligence research.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper discusses (a) von Foerster's contributions to understanding the limitations of the computer metaphor which has long dominated cognitive science, and (b) his theories concerning how reality is constructed in organizationally closed organisms, and what the underlying neural mechanisms are. The latter is exemplified with a simple neuro‐robotic model that illustrates the constructive and anticipatory nature of memory.

Findings

von Foerster's work on the integration of a radical constructivest philosophy of knowledge construction with models of the underlying neurophysiological and sensorimotor mechanisms is still highly relevant to the understanding of embodied cognition and robotic models thereof.

Originality/value

This paper identifies conceptual contributions that von Foerster's constructivist cybernetics can make to cognitive science's still limited understanding of the embodiment of cognition and “representation”.

Keywords

Citation

Ziemke, T. (2005), "Cybernetics and embodied cognition: on the construction of realities in organisms and robots", Kybernetes, Vol. 34 No. 1/2, pp. 118-128. https://doi.org/10.1108/03684920510575771

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2005, Emerald Group Publishing Limited