Toward an Aesthetic Epistemology – Slideshow Overview

In February 2014 I successfully defended my PhD dissertation, titled "Toward an Aesthetic Epistemology: Transforming Thinking through Cybernetic Epistemology and Anthroposophy." The following is the abstract and a slideshow presentation that pulls out the crux of my arguments. Abstract The complexity, subtlety, interlinking, and scale of many problems faced individually and collectively in today’s rapidly changing world...

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Embracing the paradox of Being: A relational view of epistemology, ontology, logic and difference.

Let’s get right to it, shall we? With respect to ontology, let us say that there is no “it,” no independent reality that is exclusive of the observer.  This is a basic insight from second-order cybernetics: the observer must always be included in the observed.  Despite this, of course, we do have much talk and...

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First and Second-Order Epistemologies

Gregory Bateson (1991) famously said that we “cannot claim to have no epistemology. Those who so claim have nothing but a bad epistemology” (p. 178).  Bateson is calling for self-reflection in our epistemology.  He wants it to be recursive, so that in our production of knowledge we do not delude ourselves into thinking that...

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Observing the Observer: Exploring a Cybernetic Epistemological Recursion

All epistemologies are observer-dependent; i.e. there is no single epistemology that applies to all possible observers, because every observer is unique in some way.  The necessary inclusion of the observer in any description of the world is a deeply obvious and yet profound principle.  It was neatly expressed in Heinz von Foerster’s article Cybernetics...

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Reality, Process, and Mathematics

All the qualities of the physical world exist through the interrelations of things to each other. What Moleschott says is correct for physical existence: 'All existence is an existence through qualities. But there is no quality that does not exist through a relation.' Just as everything of a soul nature contains something in itself...

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Patterns in Process: Transdisciplinarity as a Background for Working with the Elemental Cycle of Transformation

Abstract This essay outlines connections between the Elemental Cycle as an archetype of transformation, transdisciplinarity, and  cybernetics.  A number of questions are addressed: the nature and importance of connecting these fields, an examination of resources and the dominant disciplinary discourses for the associated fields, and a critical examination of my assumptions, beliefs, and position. Introduction How often...

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Form and content – two levels of change

Form and Content Understanding change is a very difficult task. No aspect of our world, either experienced outwardly through our senses or inwardly through our feelings and thoughts, seems exempt from the paradoxical rule that the only constant is change. It is possible to examine the way change occurs at many levels. At the “lowest”...

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Sketches of Another Future

http://vimeo.com/10929373 This is a great interview with Professor Andrew Pickering, University of Exeter, author of The Cybernetic Brain: Sketches of Another Future. It gives a nice introduction to some key aspects of cybernetics.  He doesn't make much of a distinction between first and second-order cybernetics, but it is a great presentation.  Some highlights (in note form,...

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An Esoteric Guide to Spencer Brown’s Laws of Form #6

(New readers will want to start with the first installment.) We ended the last installment by discussing the esoteric nature of the injunction.  We continue this exploration, and bring this series to a close. LoF p. 81 In the command "let the crossing be to the state indicated by the token" we at once make the token doubly meaningful, first...

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An Esoteric Guide to Spencer Brown’s Laws of Form #5

(New readers will want to start with the first installment.) We ended the last installment with a recognition that the Laws of Form naturally led GSB to an understanding of both the necessity and importance of the realm of imaginary numbers.  We will continue this elaboration. You are likely familiar with the paradoxical sentence: "This sentence is...

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An Esoteric Guide to Spencer Brown’s Laws of Form #4

(New readers will want to start with the first installment.) We ended the last installment having come to realize something of the esoteric significance of the taijitu, or yin-yang, form, in something of an extended tangent. We return now to the text. GSB himself seemed to understand the importance of the Laws of Form, even if there...

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