2000-08-07 / 09-07
To be radical, an empiricism must neither admit into its constructions any element that is not directly experienced, nor exclude from them any element that is directly experienced [William James]
Artificial Intelligence (AI)
Artificial Intelligence (AI) uses computer technology to strive toward the goal of machine intelligence and considers implementation as the most important result; cybernetics uses epistemology (the limits to how we know what we know) to understand the constraints of any medium (technological, biological, or social) and considers powerful descriptions as the most important result.
Pangaro, Paul. Cybernetics: A definiton. [ http://www.pangaro.com/published/cyber-macmillan.html ]
Cybernetics, Origins of
The term itself originated in 1947 when Norbert Wiener used it to name a discipline apart from, but touching upon, such established disciplines as electrical engineering, mathematics, biology, neurophysiology, anthropology, and psychology. Wiener, Arturo Rosenblueth and Julian Bigelow needed a new word to refer to their new concept, and they adapted a Greek word meaning "steersman" to invoke the rich interaction of goals, predictions, actions, feedback and response in systems of all kinds (the term "governor" derives from the same root) [Wiener 1948]. Early applications in the control of physical systems (aiming artillery, designing electrical circuits and maneuvering simple robots) clarified the fundamental roles of these concepts in engineering; but the relevance to social systems and the softer sciences was also clear from the start. Many researchers from the 1940s through 1960 worked solidly within the tradition of cybernetics without necessarily using the term, some likely (R. Buckminster Fuller) but many less obviously (Gregory Bateson, Margaret Mead).
Pangaro, Paul. Cybernetics: A definiton. [ http://www.pangaro.com/published/cyber-macmillan.html ] in
[ http://www.univie.ac.at/cognition/constructivism/ page consultée le 2000-08-07
What is radical constructivism? It is an unconventional approach to the problem of knowledge and knowing. It starts from the assumption that knowledge, no matter how it is defined, is in the heads of persons, and that the thinking subject has no alternative but to construct what he or she knows on the basis of his or her own experience. What we make of experience constitutes the only world we consciously live in. It can be sorted into many kinds, such as things, self, others, and so on. But all kinds of experience are essentially subjective, and though I may find reasons to believe that my experience may not be unlike yours, I have no way of knowing that it is the same. The experience and interpretation of language are no exception.’
p.1 - ‘Growing Up Constructivist’, in, ‘Radical Constructivism - A Way of Knowing and Learning’.
von Glasersfeld, Ernst. http://www.oikos.org/radcon.htm [page consultée le 2000-08-07]
Cybernetics and systems sciences
Cybernetics and Systems Science (also: "(General) Systems Theory" or "Systems Research") constitute a somewhat fuzzily defined academic domain, that touches virtually all traditional disciplines, from mathematics, technology and biology to philosophy and the social sciences. It is more specifically related to the recently developing "sciences of complexity", including AI, neural networks, dynamical systems, chaos, and complex adaptive systems. Its history dates back to the 1940's and 1950's when thinkers such as Wiener, von Bertalanffy, Ashby and von Foerster founded the domain through a series of interdisciplinary meetings.
Heylighen, Francis. The Principia Cybernetica Web. http://pespmc1.vub.ac.be/CYBSWHAT.html [page consultée le 2000-08-07]
Winograd and Flores credit the influence of Humberto Maturana, a biologist who recasts the concepts of "language" and "living system" with a cybernetic eye [Maturana & Varela 1988], in shifting their opinions away from the AI perspective. They quote Maturana: "Learning is not a process of accumulation of representations of the environment; it is a continuous process of transformation of behavior through continuous change in the capacity of the nervous system to synthesize it. Recall does not depend on the indefinite retention of a structural invariant that represents an entity (an idea, image or symbol), but on the functional ability of the system to create, when certain recurrent demands are given, a behavior that satisfies the recurrent demands or that the observer would class as a reenacting of a previous one." [Maturana 1980
Pangaro, Paul. [http://www.pangaro.com/published/cyber-macmillan.html]. page consultée le 2000-08-07