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Article
Publication date: 1 August 2006

Diane Laflamme

To present the concept of moral invention as discussed by philosopher Paul Ricoeur and to examine how the selections operated by systems described by Niklas Luhmann as…

Abstract

Purpose

To present the concept of moral invention as discussed by philosopher Paul Ricoeur and to examine how the selections operated by systems described by Niklas Luhmann as meaning‐constituting systems allow for the emergence of distinctions that would qualify as moral invention.

Design/methodology/approach

Ricoeur's philosophical position on ethics and morality is rooted in Husserlian phenomenology. So is Niklas Luhmann's description of meaning‐constituting systems and his discussion of their capacity to produce meaningful distinctions, including ethico‐moral ones. An interdisciplinary approach is used in order to highlight the conditions under which moral invention could become possible. In order to provide grounds for further discussions across disciplines, the extensive use of quotations is deemed necessary so that the material referred to can be traced back within Luhmann's extensive corpus, written and published in many languages.

Findings

Propositions are formulated as comments following the presentation of three of Luhmann's statements about meaning. These propositions indicate how meaning‐constituting systems could make distinctions or selections that would qualify as moral inventions.

Originality/value

To shows how second‐order cybernetics and philosophy, using as a common basis a description of meaning inspired by Husserlian phenomenology, can develop complementary propositions about ethics and morality.

Details

Kybernetes, vol. 35 no. 7/8
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0368-492X

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Article
Publication date: 1 March 1996

SØREN BRIER

This article is a contribution to the development of a comprehensive interdisciplinary theory of LIS in the hope of giving a more precise evaluation of its current…

Abstract

This article is a contribution to the development of a comprehensive interdisciplinary theory of LIS in the hope of giving a more precise evaluation of its current problems. The article describes an interdisciplinary framework for lis, especially information retrieval (IR), in a way that goes beyond the cognitivist ‘information processing paradigm’. The main problem of this paradigm is that its concept of information and language does not deal in a systematic way with how social and cultural dynamics set the contexts that determine the meaning of those signs and words that are the basic tools for the organisation and retrieving of documents in LIS. The paradigm does not distinguish clearly enough between how the computer manipulates signs and how librarians work with meaning in practice when they design and run document mediating systems. The ‘cognitive viewpoint’ of Ingwersen and Belkin makes clear that information is not objective, but rather only potential, until it is interpreted by an individual mind with its own internal mental world view and purposes. It facilitates further study of the social pragmatic conditions for the interpretation of concepts. This approach is not yet fully developed. The domain analytic paradigm of Hjørland and Albrechtsen is a conceptual realisation of an important aspect of this area. In the present paper we make a further development of a non‐reductionistic and interdisciplinary view of information and human social communication by texts in the light of second‐order cybernetics, where information is seen as ‘a difference which makes a difference’ for a living autopoietic (self‐organised, self‐creating) system. Other key ideas are from the semiotics of Peirce and also Warner. This is the understanding of signs as a triadic relation between an object, a representation and an interpretant. Information is the interpretation of signs by living, feeling, self‐organising, biological, psychological and social systems. Signification is created and con‐trolled in a cybernetic way within social systems and is communicated through what Luhmann calls generalised media, such as science and art. The modern socio‐linguistic concept ‘discourse communities’ and Wittgenstein's ‘language game’ concept give a further pragmatic description of the self‐organising system's dynamic that determines the meaning of words in a social context. As Blair and Liebenau and Backhouse point out in their work it is these semantic fields of signification that are the true pragmatic tools of knowledge organ‐isation and document retrieval. Methodologically they are the first systems to be analysed when designing document mediating systems as they set the context for the meaning of concepts. Several practical and analytical methods from linguistics and the sociology of knowledge can be used in combination with standard methodology to reveal the significant language games behind document mediation.

Details

Journal of Documentation, vol. 52 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0022-0418

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Abstract

Details

The Systemic Approach in Sociology and Niklas Luhmann: Expectations, Discussions, Doubts
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-83909-032-5

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Article
Publication date: 1 March 2006

Eva Buchinger

To explore the sociological concept of autopoiesis (N. Luhmann), investigate its interdisciplinary roots and demonstrate its practical relevance.

Abstract

Purpose

To explore the sociological concept of autopoiesis (N. Luhmann), investigate its interdisciplinary roots and demonstrate its practical relevance.

Design/methodology/approach

The biological concept of autopoiesis (H. Maturana/F. Varela) and the philosophical concept of meaning (E. Husserl) are first discussed with respect to their contribution to the development of the sociological concept of autopoiesis. The autopoietic mechanism of three different social systems is then described, and the practical relevance of the sociological concept of autopoiesis demonstrated using the example of governance.

Findings

The scientific positioning of the sociological approach to autopoiesis is two‐fold. On the one hand, it is firmly rooted in the scientific tradition and, on the other, its originality is determined by the adaptation and new combination of existing concepts. Although this adaptation‐combination process has provoked some criticism, the result does matter because it enriches the theoretical and empirical analysis which we use to explain the dynamics of modern societies.

Practical implications

The application of the sociological concept of autopoiesis to politics gives new insights into the opportunities and barriers of governance processes.

Originality/value

Positioning of the sociological concept of autopoiesis within the scientific tradition and its application (beyond metaphorical usage) as an analytical tool.

Details

Kybernetes, vol. 35 no. 3/4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0368-492X

Keywords

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Abstract

Details

Individualism, Holism and the Central Dilemma of Sociological Theory
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78769-038-7

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Abstract

Details

Communication as Gesture
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78756-515-9

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Article
Publication date: 1 October 2001

Laurie Thomas and Sheila Harri‐Augstein

This paper questions the validity of traditional scientific method for the study of human learning and proposes five postulates for the advancement of a conversational…

Abstract

This paper questions the validity of traditional scientific method for the study of human learning and proposes five postulates for the advancement of a conversational science. It considers how an evolving capacity for lifelong learning has been constrained by inappropriate research methods and educational practice leading to a learning deficit in the population. Over 25 years of action research offers solid evidence for the humanisation of science as a conversational research process which respects the individual as a unique meaning constructing, self‐organising learning (SOL) entity. A learning conversation pedagogy which enables learners to act as personal scientists and action researchers and a SOL Systems Seven for a community of action researchers is outlined. Finally, the paper considers how SOL entities can function as catalysts for new forms of ORDER with a potential for the emergence of a new species of learning and of being human.

Details

Kybernetes, vol. 30 no. 7/8
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0368-492X

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Article
Publication date: 11 November 2013

Lito Elio Porto

This paper aims to formulate a hypothesis for the origin and position of binarism within human meaning systems. Specifically, binarism exists ineluctably as a living system

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to formulate a hypothesis for the origin and position of binarism within human meaning systems. Specifically, binarism exists ineluctably as a living system's impetus toward life over death, and then – at the symbolic level within human meaning systems – as a device by which humans more efficiently dissipate the solar-energetic gradient.

Design/methodology/approach

Organisms composing terrestrial ecosystems acquire and degrade solar energy or its derivatives, thereby reducing the thermal gradient impressed on Earth by the Sun. Kay and Schneider call this “the thermodynamic imperative of the restated second law for open systems.” This paper connects the “thermodynamic imperative” to aspects of human meaning systems and pushes Serres' notion regarding homeostasis and the origin of communication one step further to consider such an origin in terms of a binarism born of solar-energetic gradient dissipation.

Findings

It is hypothesized that the human homoiotherm extends the ineluctable binarism of life over death for all living systems to a symbolic level – as a first, or local, “energetic order” – which serves as a foundational device of human meaning systems; humans efficiently use this binary device to produce entropy and maintain homeostasis within individual organisms and comprehensive ecosystems; and human language, and ultimately the entirety of human meaning systems, emerges from the dissipation of the solar-energetic gradient.

Originality/value

Modern Western philosophical concepts related to binarism – i.e. Kantian and Hegelian dialectics – are not associated with ecological imperatives. The present hypothesis proposes the co-existence of both a fundamental binarism (i.e. impetus of life over death) and more complex symbolic differentials (in a Leibnizian/Deleuzian sense) as necessary for the emergence of complex human meaning systems in consonance with thermodynamic and ecological imperatives.

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Article
Publication date: 1 April 1990

John Bednarz

The enlistment of time is shown to become indispensable for the continued existence of complex systems in two ways. First, complexity forces the making of selections of…

Abstract

The enlistment of time is shown to become indispensable for the continued existence of complex systems in two ways. First, complexity forces the making of selections of meaningful combinations of modal forms that becomes possible through the use of time. Second, the empirical limits of the present and the degree of complexity with which it has to deal require further measures.

Details

Kybernetes, vol. 19 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0368-492X

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Article
Publication date: 14 November 2016

Kieran D. Tierney, Ingo O. Karpen and Kate Westberg

The purpose of this paper is to consolidate and advance the understanding of brand meaning and the evolving process by which it is determined by introducing and…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to consolidate and advance the understanding of brand meaning and the evolving process by which it is determined by introducing and explicating the concept of brand meaning cocreation (BMCC).

Design/methodology/approach

In-depth review and integration of literature from branding, cocreation, service systems, and practice theory. To support deep theorizing, the authors also examine the role of institutional logics in the BMCC process in framing interactions and brand meaning outcomes.

Findings

Prior research is limited in that it neither maps the process of cocreation within which meanings emerge nor provides theoretical conceptualizations of brand meaning or the process of BMCC. While the literature acknowledges that brand meaning is influenced by multiple interactions, their nature and how they contribute to BMCC have been overlooked.

Research limitations/implications

This paper reveals a significant gap in knowledge of how brand meaning is cocreated, despite the essential role of brand meaning for firm success and increasing academic interest in the notion of cocreation. Ultimately, this paper builds a conceptual foundation for empirical research in this regard.

Originality/value

This paper proposes that brand meaning is cocreated through the interconnection of different social and service systems, across system levels, time, and geographic space. Marketing theory is advanced by outlining a set of research propositions pertaining to the BMCC process. The authors consider how discrete actor-based brand meanings contribute to an overall brand gestalt and how such a gestalt potentially evolves along a continuum. Additionally, the authors provide a managerially and theoretically relevant research agenda to guide much needed empirical research into BMCC.

Details

Journal of Service Theory and Practice, vol. 26 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2055-6225

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