Ernst von Glasersfeld's answers
June 1999


From: "Michele Intorcia"
Subject: Cybernetic and Radical Constructivism
Date sent: Sat, 22 May 1999

Dear professor von Glasersfeld,

I am very spellbound from his perspective of Radical Constructivism. I want to know which is the relation (if he there are) among Radical Constructivism and cybernetic. And I want to know if she believes that the cybernetic contains the potentiality of check the human beings (for example the Information Technology).
(Sorry for my bad inglish)


Michele Intorcia

Dear Mr. Intorcia,

Radical constructivism was developed as a model of "knowing" by Heinz  von Foerster, the father of "Second Order Cybernetics" and myself, who got into Cybernetics through Silvio Ceccato in the 1950s. The connection is very  simple. A main theme of cybernetics is self-organization. Constructivism is a model of how the cognitive subject may construct his or her knowledge without  reference to a pre-existing reality. Equally important: cybernetic models work, not by setting up cause/effect links, but by setting up constraints,  and this principle is basic in constructivism.

I am not sure what you mean be " the potentiality of check the human  beings". If check is to mean "control", I would say that no one can control  them but they themselves. They have so far not been very good at it - and  technology provides examples of the lack of effort in this direction.

Best wishes,

Ernst von Glasersfeld




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