Interesting take on cybernetics in Constructivist Foundations, Volume 2 (2), March 2010.

Can access it on-line.

Below is the Abstract.

Jane, some of Scio might find it interesting.


From Cybernetics to Second-Order
Cybernetics: A Comparative Analysis
of Their Central Ideas
Tom Froese • University of Sussex, UK • [log in to unmask]

Context • The enactive paradigm in the cognitive sciences is establishing itself as a strong and comprehensive alternative
to the computationalist mainstream. However, its own particular historical roots have so far been largely
ignored in the historical analyses of the cognitive sciences. > Problem • In order to properly assess the enactive paradigm’s
theoretical foundations in terms of their validity, novelty and potential future directions of development, it is
essential for us to know more about the history of ideas that has led to the current state of affairs. > Method • The
meaning of the disappearance of the field of cybernetics and the rise of second-order cybernetics is analyzed by taking
a closer look at the work of representative figures for each of the phases – Rosenblueth, Wiener and Bigelow for
the early wave of cybernetics, Ashby for its culmination, and von Foerster for the development of the second-order
approach. > Results • It is argued that the disintegration of cybernetics eventually resulted in two distinct scientific
traditions, one going from symbolic AI to modern cognitive science on the one hand, and the other leading from
second-order cybernetics to the current enactive paradigm. > Implications • We can now understand that the extent
to which the cognitive sciences have neglected their cybernetic parent is precisely the extent to which cybernetics had
already carried the tendencies that would later find fuller expression in second-order cybernetics.
> Key Words • W. Ross Ashby, Heinz von Foerster, constructivism, enactive cognitive science.
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