Departmental Papers (ASC)

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From First to Third Via Cybersemiotics

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In my answer to Ernst von Glasersfeld's (2008) question "Who conceives Society?" I proposed a radically social constructivism (Krippendorff, 2008a) that overcomes what I perceive to be an unfortunate cognitivism in von Glasersfeld's, Heinz von Foerster's, and Humberto Maturana's work. Since then, I published two other papers on the subject. One (2008b) moves the notion of human agency into the center of my project, focusing on its role in conceptions of social organizations - a concept less grand than "society" and one (2008c) teases out several reflexive turns that have grown in cybernetics but cannot be subsumed by the epistemology of radical constructivism and second-order cybernetics, which privileges observation and a representational theory of language over participation in conversation and cooperative constructions of reality. In all of these efforts, conversation has become the starting point of my conceptualizations of being human. In this essay, I wish to discuss what conversation entails, how it is maintained, and under which conditions it degenerates into something else.

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Date Posted: 09 March 2012