Departmental Papers (ASC)

Document Type

Journal Article

Date of this Version

2008

Publication Source

Cybernetics and Human Knowing

Volume

15

Issue

3-4

Start Page

173

Last Page

184

Abstract

In the history of cybernetics there have been several attempts by cyberneticians to put themselves into the circularities of their theories and designs, invoking a shift from the cybernetics of mechanisms to a cybernetics of cybernetics. The latter is the title of a book chapter by Margaret Mead (1968) and of Heinz von Foerster’s (1974) edited compilation of articles on cybernetics. Foerster introduced the concept of second-order cybernetics which may have overshadowed or sidelined other reflexivities. I am attempting to recover four reflexive turns, describe their origin, implications, and suggest ways in which they continue what Karl Müller (2007) calls an unfinished revolution. These turns are not discussed here in their historical succession but as conceptual expansions of cybernetics.

Keywords

cybernetics, reflexivity, observation, participation

 

Date Posted: 27 August 2009

This document has been peer reviewed.