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  • Author: Søren Brier x
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Abstract

This article praises the development of second order cybernetics by von Foerster, Maturana, and Varela as an important step in deepening our understanding of the bio-psychological foundation of the dynamics of information, cognition, and communication. Luhmann's development of the theory into the realm of social communication is seen as a necessary and important move. The triple autopoietic differentiation between biological, psychological, and social-communicative autopoiesis and the introduction of a technical concept of meaning is central. Finally, the paper shows that second order cybernetics lacks explicit and ontological concepts of emotion, meaning, and a concept of signs. C. S. Peirce's theory is introduced for this purpose. It is then shown, through Varela's development of Spencer Brown's ‘Laws of Form’ from a dual to a dynamic triadic categorical structure, that both theories are triadic and second order, and therefore can be fruitfully fused to a Cybersemiotics.

Abstract

This review assesses Ashley and Deely’s claims regarding the relation of science and religion, taking Einstein’s famous statement that “science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind” as its starting point. It argues that Ashley and Deely’s book How Science Enriches Theology demonstrates that the actual problem in the contemporary dialogue between the two seem to be whether the link between science and religion shall be based on an impersonal process spirituality arising from a void or on a personalism with a personal god at the source.

Abstract

This paper investigates how Peirce manages to establish a transdisciplinary fallibilist view of the sciences that is not hostile to religious spirituality viewed as a complementary fallibilist knowledge type. I focus on Peirce’s attempt to construct an alternative to classical mechanical ontology with its reversible time concept and the ontological view of absolute transcendental laws of nature. His triadic semiotic pragmaticism has empiricism in common with the logical positivists, but it shares the fallibilist critical stance with Popper, with whose critical rationalism Peirce also shares a thorough-going evolutionary approach. With Hegel and Schelling, Peirce shares a kind of evolutionary objective idealism and with Whitehead a thoroughgoing process view, and finally with Wittgenstein, he shares a pragmatic view of the meaning of words and concepts. What knits together all these apparently incompatible views is his dynamic Tychism and his Synechist field view. Together these produce a transdisciplinary irreversible view of habits as “laws” of nature, mind, and society that emerge in the development of the cosmos. Though Peirce is somehow close to Hegel’s phenomenological and dialectical view on cosmogony, a number of aspects are quite unique about his approach: the most important of these are his dynamic triadic categorically-based semiotics that makes him understand human beings as well as the universe as symbolic self-organizing developing processes. This is an interesting alternative to modern mechanical info-computationalism.

Abstract

The present paper discusses various suggestions for a philosophical framework for a transdisciplinary information science or a semiotic doctrine. These are: the mechanical materialistic, the pan-informational, the Luhmanian second order cybernetic approach, Peircian biosemiotics and finally, the pan-semiotic approach. The limitations of each are analyzed. The conclusion is that we will not have to choose between a cybernetic-informational and a semiotic approach. A combination of a Peircian-based biosemiotics with autopoiesis theory, second order cybernetics, and information science is suggested in a five-levelled cybersemiotic framework. The five levels are 1) a level of Firstness, 2) a level of mechanical matter, energy, and force as Secondness, 3) a cybernetic and thermodynamic level of information, 4) a level of sign games and 5) a level of conscious language games.

These levels are then used to differentiate levels of information systems, sign and language games in human communication. In our model, Maturana and Varela's description of the logic of the living as autopoietic is accepted and expanded with Luhmann's generalization of the concept of autopoiesis to also cover psychological and socio-communicative systems. Adding a Peircian concept of semiosis to Luhmann's theory in the framework of biosemiotics enables us to view the interplay of mind and body as a sign play. I have in a previous publication (see list of references) suggested the term ‘sign play’ pertaining to exosemiotics processes between animals in the same species by stretching Wittgenstein's language game concept into the animal world of signs. A new concept of intrasemiotics designates the semiosis of the interpenetration between the biological and psychological autopoietic systems as Luhmann defines them in his theory. I am suggesting a cybersemiotic model to combine these approaches, defining various concepts like thought-semiotics, phenosemiotic and intrasemiotics, combining them with the already known concepts of exosemiotics, ecosemiotics, and endosemiotics into a new view of self-organizing semiotic processes in living systems. Thus a new semiotic level of description is generated, where mind-body interactions can be understood on the same description level. This is the direction suggested to work in to create a broad philosophy of information, cognitive, and communication science that makes it possible for us to see the different approaches not as mutually exclusive, but rather as mutually complementary in accepting an ontology where reality do have structures and processes, but the foundation is hyper-complex and therefore not to be reduced by any knowledge system.