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Cybernetics offers what I believe to be several new theoretical perspectives for communication by a unified perspective that allows an observer to understand whole systems from their component parts and parts in the context of whole systems. Fundamental differences are encountered depending on whether a system is observed from the outside, whether the observer is part of the system he attempts to describe or whether he participates productively in a system that produces material components including what it needs to maintain an organizational unity. Rather than repeating the arguments presented above, I will summarize the paper by presenting a set of distinctions and a table. The distinctions are intended as a guide for an observer to recognize in what kind of system he might be involved in so that he can decide which theory of communication is appropriate. Some of these distinctions, the first and last in particular, are taken from Varela et al. (1974). The others summarize what was said. The table lists several key concepts the respective theories of communication define and suggest analogies between them. The reader will have to refer to the text for their elaboration.
Date Posted: 06 October 2010