Heinz von Foerster’s Demons The Emergence of Second-Order Systems Theory | Clarke (2009)

h/t Harish Jose

Heinz von Foerster’s Demons The Emergence of Second-Order Systems Theory

(PDF) Heinz von Foerster’s Demons The Emergence of Second-Order Systems Theory | Bruce Clarke – Academia.edu

Heinz von Foerster’s Demons The Emergence of Second-Order Systems Theory

Bruce Clarke 2009, Emergence and Embodiment: New Essays on Second-Order Systems Theory (Duke).65 Views14 Pages1 File ▾Constructivism,Cybernetics,Systems Theory,Niklas Luhmann,Second-Order Cybernetics …more ▾Show more ▾“Heinz von Foerster’s Demons: The Emergence of Second-Order Systems Theory” examines some of the prehistory of neocybernetics by reading von Foerster’s key 1959 paper on self-organization through the hindsight of his early-1970s work that launched second-order cybernetics proper. Not one but two Maxell’s Demons bind thermodynamic to informatic self-organization in the 1959 paper, and his own creation, the Man with the Bowler Hat, links that earlier paper with “On Constructing a Reality” of 1973, by way of contrasting the singularity of metaphysical solipsism with the multiplicities of epistemological constructivism. Not only does it take multiple Demons to conceptualize negentropy in informational systems; it also takes the co-construction of at least two operationally-closed observers to produce a reality: “reality appears as a consistent reference frame for at least two observers.” The concluding section of the essay unfolds this powerful statement from the 1959 paper as a prefiguration of the neocybernetic concept of reentry, by which the systems/environment dyad recurs upon and ramifies within the system itself. In Luhmann’s theory, the dyad of mutually closed psychic and social systems is capable of interpenetration and meaningful resonance just because they share this same paradigmatic operation, becoming “two observers” that construct out of their coupled autonomies the world as a reference frame for psychic and social realities.