Understanding Systems: Conversations on Epistemology and Ethics

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Juli 2003



How real is reality? Are our images of the world mere inventions, or does an external reality correspond to them? Is it possible to know the truth?These are questions that physicist and philosopher Heinz von Foerster and journalist Bernhard Poerksen debate about in their conversations. Together, they explore the borders of our capacity for knowledge. They discuss the seeming objectivity of our sensual perception, the consequences of "truth terrorism" and the connections between knowledge and ethics, sight and insight.


Preface. A Foreword in Three Acts.
I: Images of Reality. 1. Biology of Perception. The representation of the world. We never see the same thing. A short skit. Decision against solipsism. 2. Facets of Truth. Truth means war. The hidden workings of nature. The ethical imperative. Loss of the archimedic point. The metaphor of the dance. 3. The Danger of the Label. Skeptical remarks on Constructivism. An attempt to get around the big words. 4. Explaining the Explanation. Cause and effect. Laws of people and laws of nature. Why Socrates had to die. Trivial and nontrivial machines. The interaction of nontrivial machines.
II: Perspectives in Practice. 1. Teaching. The pupil as a nontrivial machine. "Tests test tests". From teacher to researcher. Outline of an experiment. 2. Psychotherapy. The distinction between sickness and health. Generating a new eigenbehavior. Learning to see white mice. 3. Management. Thus spake the hierarchy. Thinking heterarchically. The Battle of Midway. Principles of self-organization. 4. Communication. The world contains no information. Hermeneutics of the listener. Realities of the media.
III: Cybernetics. The Fundamental Principle: Circularity. People and Machines. The Computer Metaphor of the Mind. Cybernetics of Cybernetics. We Do not See that We Do not See. All Cretans Lie.
IV: Biographical Excursions. 1. Childhood and Youth. The world of Vienna. Ludwig Wittgenstein. Experiences of a magician. 2. The Second World War and the Post-war Period. Survival in Berlin, the capital of the Reich. As "Dr. Heinrich" on the radio. Collective guilt or individual responsibility. 3. A Jump to another World: America. Theory of memory. Beginnings of Cybernetics: The Macy Conferences. The Biological Computer Laboratory.
V: Knowledge and Ethics. Ethics is not a Theory. Decidable and Undecidable Questions. Responsibility for the World.
About the Authors.


"This book is rich with insights, full of inspiring expression and also filled with wisdom so that you really want to distribute it like a leaflet."
(Book Review German Radio)
EAN: 9780306467523
ISBN: 0306467526
Untertitel: 'Ifsr International Series on Systems Science and Engineering'. 2002. Auflage. Book. Sprache: Englisch.
Verlag: Springer
Erscheinungsdatum: Juli 2003
Seitenanzahl: 168 Seiten
Format: gebunden
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