Observing Systems | Heinz von Foerster (1984)


Observing Systems | Heinz von Foerster | download

Observing Systems

Heinz von Foerster0 / 0 0 comments Considered as a whole, the work of Heinz von Foerster can be taken as a framework for the understanding of cognition. This framework is not so much a fully completed edifice, but rather a clearly shaped space, where the major building lines are established and its access clearly indicated.

Von Foerster’s framework has two fundamental principles. First, we are to understand by cognition the described behaviour or a particular class of systems: those which satisfy for their components a specific kind of internal coherence (or eigenbehaviour). Second, we are to understand our own knowledge as resulting from similar kinds of mechanisms. These two levels are inextricably connected: the study of mechanisms proper of first order systems (those we study), and the study of how second-order systems (those we are) are reflected in such descriptions. This mutually specifying pair, and all its details, constitutes the space where cognition is to be properly understood.