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Book part
Publication date: 14 October 2010

Christian Fuchs and Wolfgang Hofkirchner

Maturana and Varela (1980, p. 78f) provided the following definition of autopoiesis: “An autopoietic machine is a machine organized (defined as a unity) as a network of…

Abstract

Maturana and Varela (1980, p. 78f) provided the following definition of autopoiesis: “An autopoietic machine is a machine organized (defined as a unity) as a network of processes of production (transformation and destruction) of components that produces the components which: (i) through their interactions and transformations continuously regenerate and realize the network of processes (relations) that produced them and (ii) constitute it (the machine) as a concrete unity in the space in which they (the components) exist by specifying the topological domain of its realization as such a network.” This definition shows that for Maturana and Varela, autopoietic systems are systems that define, maintain, and reproduce themselves. The notion of machine that they employ in the definition might seem a bit misleading because we tend to think of machines as mechanistic and nonliving, but Maturana and Varela (e.g., 1987) in later publications have preferred to speak of autopoietic organizations.

Details

Advanced Series in Management
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-84855-833-5

Article
Publication date: 6 May 2014

Claudio Gnoli and Riccardo Ridi

The different senses of the term information in physical, biological and social interpretations, and the possibility of connections between them, are addressed. Special…

Abstract

Purpose

The different senses of the term information in physical, biological and social interpretations, and the possibility of connections between them, are addressed. Special attention is paid to Hofkirchner's Unified Theory of Information (UTI), proposing an integrated view in which the notion of information gets additional properties as one moves from the physical to the biological and the social realms. The paper aims to discuss these issues.

Design/methodology/approach

UTI is compared to other views of information, especially to two theories complementing several ideas of it: the theory of the hypertextual documental universe (“docuverse”) and the theory of integrative levels of reality. Two alternative applications of the complex of these three theories are discussed: a pragmatical, hermeneutic one, and a more ambitious realist, ontological one. The latter can be extended until considering information (“bit”) together with matter-energy (“it”) as a fundamental element in the world. Problems and opportunities with each view are discussed.

Findings

It is found that the common ground for all three theories is an evolutionary approach, paying attention to the phylogenetic connections between the different meanings of information.

Research limitations/implications

Other theories of information, like Leontiev's, are not discussed as not especially related to the focus of the approach.

Originality/value

The paper builds on previously unnoticed affinities between different families of information-related theories, showing how each of them can provide fruitful complements to the other ones in clarifying the nature of information.

Details

Journal of Documentation, vol. 70 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0022-0418

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 1 January 2005

Christian Fuchs and Wolfgang Hofkirchner

The main purpose of this paper is to consider knowledge production as a social self‐organization process, to clarify ethical implications of such an approach, and to…

1958

Abstract

Purpose

The main purpose of this paper is to consider knowledge production as a social self‐organization process, to clarify ethical implications of such an approach, and to relate it to the thinking of Heinz von Foerster.

Design/methodology/approach

The method employed is the one of dialectical constructions, i.e. existing contradicting approaches on knowledge research are identified and classified and a constructive synthesis of these approaches is made.

Findings

Since Heinz von Foerster's pioneering work, information‐generating systems are considered to be self‐organizing systems. We see knowledge as only a particular kind of information: it is the manifestation of information in the social realm. Thus, the creation of social information is due to the self‐organization of social systems. Heinz von Foerster has given us some indications of how knowledge and self‐organization could be applied to society. In this paper, we try to sketch a position of our own while taking into consideration Heinz von Foerster's relevant ideas.

Practical implications

The research results in this paper imply that a knowledge‐based society can only survive if it is designed in a participatory and socially and ecologically sustainable way. Hence a practical implication is that participation and co‐operation need to be advanced in order to guarantee human development.

Originality/value

The innovative aspect of the paper is that it suggests that all social self‐organizing systems are knowledge‐producing systems and that considering knowledge as a co‐operative process implies responsibility for solving the global social problems. It combines knowledge research and systems thinking based on ideas on self‐organization by Heinz von Foerster in order to describe social systems.

Details

Kybernetes, vol. 34 no. 1/2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0368-492X

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 14 January 2021

Tianqi Wu and Kaiyan Da

By introducing the basic concepts and theories of the philosophy of information created by Kun Wu, and making some comparisons of the philosophy of information and related…

Abstract

Purpose

By introducing the basic concepts and theories of the philosophy of information created by Kun Wu, and making some comparisons of the philosophy of information and related information theories between Wu and other scholars, this paper aims to have Chinese philosophy of information widely known and understood by more people in the world, thus promoting the international exchanges between Chinese and Western scholars on the topic of philosophy of information.

Design/methodology/approach

The main research methods used in this paper are the literature review and the comparative study. On the one hand, it reviews some related concepts and theories in Kun Wu's academic works of philosophy of information. On the other hand, it compares the thoughts and viewpoints of Kun Wu with those of other scholars.

Findings

First, Kun Wu is the first person who has established a complete and comprehensive theoretical system of philosophy of information in China; second, Kun Wu's philosophy of information is significant in originality and value, which could be thought as the intellectual quintessence of information age, thus worth learning. Third, with more international exchanges, Chinese philosophy of information created by Wu will surely be more and more influential in philosophical circles at home and abroad.

Originality/value

It is a very valuable first-hand material for Western scholars to know and understand Chinese philosophy of information.

Details

Journal of Documentation, vol. 77 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0022-0418

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 8 July 2014

Kane X. Faucher

The purpose of this paper is to bring both Simondonian and Deleuzian insights to bear upon the nature of documents and documentation by viewing them as…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to bring both Simondonian and Deleuzian insights to bear upon the nature of documents and documentation by viewing them as non-representationalist, and as products of transduction and reticulation that render documents assemblages that are in constant negotiation with an environment as instances of a perpetually renewing problematic.

Design/methodology/approach

Simondon's work on metastability and transduction can offer particular insights into how the author views documents in terms of their materiality, signification, and possibly to move beyond the phenomenological bias in the treatment of documents.

Findings

In understanding or describing the process of documentation as a reticulation or unfolding, the author also comes to view the document as an assemblage in perpetual negotiation. This paper adapts Deleuze and Guattari's articulation framework of expression-signification and provides a bit of groundwork towards two registers of information (first and second order) according to the preindividual process of that allows for the individuation of documents.

Originality/value

This paper makes an original contribution to understanding the process of documentation and the product of documents in a more fluid, interdynamic context by shifting or displacing the traditional view of information.

Details

Journal of Documentation, vol. 70 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0022-0418

Keywords

Content available
Book part
Publication date: 14 October 2010

Abstract

Details

Advanced Series in Management
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-84855-833-5

Article
Publication date: 12 September 2016

Boris Bosancic

The purpose of this paper is to propose an appropriate symbolic representation, as well as its metaphorical interpretation, to illustrate the special role of information…

2782

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to propose an appropriate symbolic representation, as well as its metaphorical interpretation, to illustrate the special role of information in the knowledge acquisition process.

Design/methodology/approach

Besides the literature review, this is a speculative study based on a symbolic and metaphorical point of view.

Findings

The proposed symbolic representation was derived from the conceptual designation of information “as a flow” and, accordingly, by the corresponding redrawing of the data-information-knowledge-wisdom (DIKW) pyramid. The knowledge acquisition process is symbolically represented by the growth of a “tree of knowledge” which is planted on a “data earth,” filled with “information sap” and lit by the rays of the “sun of the mind,” a new symbol of the concept of wisdom in the DIKW model. As indicated, a key concept of this metaphorical interpretation is the role of “information sap” which rises from the roots of the “tree of knowledge” to the top of the tree and it is recognized as an invisible link between “world of data” and “world of knowledge.” This concept is also proposed as a new symbolic representation of the DIKW model.

Originality/value

On the basis of specific symbolic-metaphorical representation, this paper provides a relatively new concept of information which may help bridge observed gaps in the understanding of information in various scientific fields, as well as in its understanding as an objective or subjective phenomenon.

Details

Journal of Documentation, vol. 72 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0022-0418

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 1 January 2005

Alexander Riegler

The paper serves as an introduction to the special issue on Heinz von Foerster. Major episodes of his life are sketched and related to his scientific convictions regarding…

364

Abstract

Purpose

The paper serves as an introduction to the special issue on Heinz von Foerster. Major episodes of his life are sketched and related to his scientific convictions regarding transdisciplinary research and radical constructivist. In the second part the contributions to the issue are summarized. Finally, the relevance of Foerster's work is discussed.

Design/methodology/approach

The arguments are based on the scientific literature.

Findings

Foerster argued against reductionist science and in favor of transdisciplinary research in order to trigger further scientific developments.

Practical implications

By using transdiciplinary and choosing the constructivist perspective, science will increase its productivity. This should be reflected in science policy.

Originality/value

By pointing at the variety of his scientific output and his influence on many colleagues and students, the paper is in support of Foerster's non‐reductionist worldview.

Details

Kybernetes, vol. 34 no. 1/2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0368-492X

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 2 November 2015

Thomas Taro Lennerfors, Per Fors and Jolanda van Rooijen

The purpose of this paper is to discuss the role of information and communication technology (ICT) for promoting environmental sustainability in a changing society…

2018

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to discuss the role of information and communication technology (ICT) for promoting environmental sustainability in a changing society. Isolated studies exist, but few take a holistic view. Derived from a Marxian tradition, the authors propose Ecological World Systems Theory (WST) as a holistic framework to assess the environmental impact of ICT. The theory is adapted responding to theoretical critiques of absence of change, namely state-centrism and structuralism.

Design/methodology/approach

Theoretical study. Empirical examples derived from already published literature.

Findings

Ecological WST focuses on the unequal distribution of environmental degradation, sees technological development as a zero-sum game rather than cornucopia and holds that technology is often seen as a fetish in today ' s society. The findings are that popular discourses on ICT and sustainability are since the 1990s becoming increasingly cornucopian, while conditions in the ICT value chain are less cornucopian.

Research limitations/implications

Theoretical contributions to Marxian critiques of ICT, with more environmental focus than earlier Marxian critiques, for example Fuchs’ work. Develop a theoretical framework for ICT and sustainability which could be compared with works of e.g. Hilty, Patrignani and Whitehouse. The work is mostly based on existing empirical studies, which is a limitation.

Practical implications

This theoretical framework implies that unequal environmental degradation in different parts of the world should be taken into account when assessing environmental impact, for example by means of LCA.

Social implications

The framework brings together questions of environmental effects of ICT and global justice.

Originality/value

The authors apply a rarely discussed theoretical framework to ICT and environmental sustainability. By doing this the authors suggest how the discourses and the value chain of ICT is intrinsically tied to the world system.

Details

Information Technology & People, vol. 28 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0959-3845

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 5 September 2016

Jorge Navarro, Raquel del Moral and Pedro C. Marijuán

The purpose of this paper is to present a new core hypothesis on laughter. It has been built by putting together ideas from several disciplines: neurodynamics…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to present a new core hypothesis on laughter. It has been built by putting together ideas from several disciplines: neurodynamics, evolutionary neurobiology, social networks, and communication studies. The hypothesis focusses on the social nature of laughter and contributes to ascertain its evolutionary origins in connection with the cognitive and social-emotional functions it performs.

Design/methodology/approach

An in-depth examination of laughter in the social communication context and along the life cycle of the individual is performed. This instinctive behaviour that appears as a “virtual”, non-physical form of “grooming” would serve as a bond-making instrument in human groups. Further, the neurodynamic events underlying laughter production – and particularly the form of the neural entropy gradients – are congruent with a sentic hypothesis about the different emotional contents of laughter and their specific effects on bonding dynamics.

Findings

The new behavioural and neurodynamic tenets introduced about this unusual sound feature of our species justify the ubiquitous presence it has in social interactions at large and along the life cycle of the individual. Laughter, far from being a curious evolutionary relic or a rather inconsequential innate behaviour, should be considered as a highly efficient tool for inter-individual problem solving and for maintenance of social bonds.

Originality/value

Laughter, the authors would conclude, has been evolutionarily kept and augmented as an optimized tool for unconscious cognitive-emotional problem solving, and at the same time as a useful way to preserve the essential fabric of social bonds in close-knit groups and within human societies at large.

Details

Kybernetes, vol. 45 no. 8
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0368-492X

Keywords

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