Third and Higher Order Cybernetics

Third and Higher Order Cybernetics

 

 

The logic of the formation of third-order cybernetics is based on the transition from first-order cybernetics – “observable systems”, to second-order – “observing systems”, to third-order cybernetics – “self-developing poly-subject (reflexive-active) environments”. And also on the ascent from the paradigm “subject – object” to the paradigm “subject – subject” and then, in third-order cybernetics, to the paradigm of “subject – metasubject (self-developing poly-subject environment)”. Third-order cybernetics has its own specifics and also defines a paradigm (framework construction) that includes first and second order cybernetic paradigms, similar to post-non-classical scientific rationality.

 

What is required in third order cybernetics? Narrative arts such as Drama, Films, Literature, Stories, Novels as means of social reflexivity for providing ethical and moral grounds for social action & justice.

 

Key Terms

  • Cybernetics
  • Second Order Cybernetics
  • Third Order Cybernetics
  • Fourth Order Cybernetics
  • Reflexivity
  • Socio Cybernetics
  • Autopoiesis
  • Autocatalysis
  • Feedback
  • Interaction
  • Self Awareness
  • Observable Systems
  • Observing systems
  • Reflexive – Active system
  • Subject Object
  • Subject Subject
  • Subject Meta-Subject
  • Story Telling
  • Narratives
  • Mirroring of Experience
  • Social Reflexivity
  • Social Action
  • Social Justice
  • Coherence Narrative
  • Problem Structuring
  • Social Responsibility
  • Ethics in Society

 

 

 

https://www.wosc2020.org/section-1-5

World Organisation of Systems and Cybernetics
18th Congress-WOSC2020
Moscow, 16th to 18th September 2020

1.5 Cybernetics of self-developing poly-subject (reflexive-active) environments:  third-order cybernetics

In recent years, much attention has been paid to the development of socially-oriented types of cybernetics, the development of second-order cybernetics (S. Umpleby, V. Lepskiy, R. Vallée, S. Bozicnik & M. Mulej, T. Ivanuša and others). An urgent problem is the analysis of the foundations and models of different types of socially-oriented cybernetics. The focus of this section is third-order cybernetics developed in Russia.

Third-order cybernetics (V. Lepskiy, 1998) is formed on the basis of post-non-classical scientific rationality. The logic of the formation of third-order cybernetics is based on the transition from first-order cybernetics – “observable systems”, to second-order – “observing systems”, to third-order cybernetics – “self-developing poly-subject (reflexive-active) environments”. And also on the ascent from the paradigm “subject – object” to the paradigm “subject – subject” and then, in third-order cybernetics, to the paradigm of “subject – metasubject (self-developing poly-subject environment)”. Third-order cybernetics has its own specifics and also defines a paradigm (framework construction) that includes first and second order cybernetic paradigms, similar to post-non-classical scientific rationality.

On the basis of post-non-classical scientific rationality it became possible to integrate ideas and concepts of humanitarian studies: ideas about the noosphere (V. Vernadsky), the concept of society as a social system (N. Luhman), activity and subject-activity approaches (A. Leontiev, L. Vygotsky, S. Rubinshtein, et al.), contributions of Russian methodologists (G. Shchedrovitsky, et al.), interdisciplinary ideas of the formation of social cybernetics (S. Umpleby), sociohumanitarian analysis of the experience of developing automated systems (V. Lepskiy), and others.

Discussion points
  • Foundations and models of socially-oriented types of cybernetics (S. Umpleby, V. Lepskiy, R. Vallée, S. Bozicnik & M. Mulej, T. Ivanuša and others).

  • Civilization aspects of self-developing poly-subject environments (third-order cybernetics).

  • Philosophical and methodological aspects of third-order cybernetics.

  • Third-order cybernetics is an ontological integrator of first and second order cybernetics.

  • The problem of complexity is third-order cybernetics.

  • Reflexive processes in third-order cybernetics.

  • Ethical aspects of third-order cybernetics.

  • Social Responsibility in Third Order Cybernetics.

  • Public participation in self-developing poly-subject environments

  • Organization of hybrid (subject, digital, physical) environments in third-order cybernetics.

  • Socio-humanitarian ergonomics of self-developing poly-subject environments.

 

 

https://www.worldscientific.com/worldscibooks/10.1142/10605

New Horizons for Second-Order Cybernetics

Pages: 404

,

    • Karl H Müller (International Academy for Systems and Cybernetic Sciences, Austria)

and

In almost 60 articles this book reviews the current state of second-order cybernetics and investigates which new research methods second-order cybernetics can offer to tackle wicked problems in science and in society. The contributions explore its application to both scientific fields (such as mathematics, psychology and consciousness research) and non-scientific ones (such as design theory and theater science). The book uses a pluralistic, multifaceted approach to discuss these applications: Each main article is accompanied by several commentaries and author responses, which together allow the reader to discover further perspectives than in the original article alone. This procedure shows that second-order cybernetics is already on its way to becoming an idea shared by many researchers in a variety of disciplines.

Sample Chapter(s)

A Brief History of (Second-Order) Cybernetics

Contents:

  • Prologue:
    • A Brief History of (Second-Order) Cybernetics (Louis H Kauffman & Stuart A Umpleb)
    • Mapping the Varieties of Second-Order Cybernetics (Karl H Müller & Alexander Riegle)
  • Part I: Exploring Second-Order Cybernetics and Its Fivefold Agenda:
    • Second-Order Cybernetics as a Fundamental Revolution in Science (Stuart A Umpleby)
    • Obstacles and Opportunities in the Future of Second-Order Cybernetics and Other Compatible Methods (Allenna Leonard)
    • Connecting Second-Order Cybernetics’ Revolution with Genetic Epistemology (Gastón Becerra)
    • Shed the Name to Find Second-Order Success: Renaming Second-Order Cybernetics to Rescue its Essence (Michael R Lissack)
    • Beware False Dichotomies (Peter A Cariani)
    • Second-Order Cybernetics Needs a Unifying Methodology (Thomas R Flanagan)
    • Viva the Fundamental Revolution! Confessions of a Case Writer (T Grandon Gill)
    • Author’s Response: Struggling to Define an Identity for Second-Order Cybernetics (Stuart A Umpleby)
    • Cybernetics, Reflexivity and Second-Order Science (Louis H Kauffman)
    • Remarks From a Continental Philosophy Point of View (Tatjana Schönwälder-Kuntze)
    • Finally Understanding Eigenforms (Michael R Lissack)
    • Eigenforms, Coherence, and the Imaginal (Arthur M Collings)
    • Conserving the Disposition for Wonder (Kathleen Forsythe)
    • Author’s Response: Distinction, Eigenform and the Epistemology of the Imagination (Louis H Kauffman)
    • Cybernetic Foundations for Psychology (Bernard Scott)
    • Wielding the Cybernetic Scythe in the Blunting Undergrowth of Psychological Confusion (Vincent Kenny)
    • To What Extent Can Second-Order Cybernetics Be a Foundation for Psychology? (Marcelo Arnold-Cathalifaud & Daniela Thumala-Dockendorff)
    • The Importance — and the Difficulty — of Moving Beyond Linear Causality (Robert J Martin)
    • Obstacles to Cybernetics Becoming a Conceptual Framework and Metanarrative in the Psychologies (Philip Baron)
    • The Social and the Psychological: Conceptual Cybernetic Unification vs Disciplinary Analysis? (Eva Buchinger)
    • Second Thoughts on Cybernetic Unifications (Tilia Stingl de Vasconcelos Guedes)
    • Cybernetics and Synergetics as Foundations for Complex Approach Towards Complexities of Life (Lea Šugman Bohinc)
    • Author’s Response: On Becoming and Being a Cybernetician (Bernard Scott)
    • Consciousness as Self-Description in Differences (Diana Gasparyan)
    • On the Too Often Overlooked Complexity of the Tension between Subject and Object (Yochai Ataria)
    • Where Is Consciousness? (Urban Kordeš)
    • Theorizing Agents: Their Games, Hermeneutical Tools and Epistemic Resources (Konstantin Pavlov-Pinus)
    • How Can Meaning be Grounded within a Closed Self-Referential System? (Bryony Pierce)
    • Self-Description Alone Will not Account for Qualia (John Pickering)
    • Consciousness as Self-Description and the Inescapability of Reduction (Sergei Levin)
    • The Non-Relationality of Consciousness (Adriana Schetz)
    • Author’s Response: Phenomenology of the System: Intentionality, Differences, Understanding, and the Unity of Consciousness (Diana Gasparyan)
    • Design Research as a Variety of Second-Order Cybernetic Practice (Ben Sweeting)
    • Design Cycles: Conversing with Lawrence Halprin (Tom Scholte)
    • Understanding Design from a Second-Order Cybernetics Perspective: Is There a Place for Material Agency? (David Griffiths)
    • What Can Cybernetics Learn from Design? (Christiane M Herr)
    • Rigor in Research, Honesty and Values (Michael Hohl)
    • Digital Design Research and Second-Order Cybernetics (Mateus de Sousa van Stralen)
    • Cybernetics Is the Answer, but What Was the Conversation About? (Jose dos Santos Cabral Filho)
    • (Architectural) Design Research in the Age of Neuroscience: The Value of the Second-Order Cybernetic Practice Perspective (Andrea Jelić)
    • Author’s Response: Beyond Application (Ben Sweeting)
    • “Black Box” Theatre: Second-Order Cybernetics and Naturalism in Rehearsal and Performance (Tom Scholte)
    • Audience and Autopoiesis (Bruce Clarke & Dorothy Chansky)
    • “Truthful” Acting Emerges Through Forward Model Development (Bernd Porr)
    • Naturalism in Improvisation and Embodiment (Edgar Landgraf)
    • Opening the Black Box of Minds: Theatre as a Laboratory of System Unknowns (Lowell F Christy Jr)
    • Does Second-Order Cybernetics Provide a Framework for Theatre Studies? (Albert Müller)
    • A Theatre for Exploring the Cybernetic (Ben Sweeting)
    • The Many Varieties of Experimentation in Second-Order Cybernetics: Art, Science, Craft (Laurence D Richards)
    • Author’s Response: “Playing With Dynamics”: Procedures and Possibilities for a Theatre of Cybernetics (Tom Scholte)
  • Part II: Reflecting on the Perspectives for a Fivefold Agenda of Second-Order Cybernetics:
    • Remarks of a Philosopher of Mathematics and Science (Michèle Friend)
    • The Past and the Future of Second-Order Cybernetics (Ronald R Kline)
    • Embracing Realists Without Embracing Realism: The Future of Second-Order Cybernetics (Robert J Martin)
    • Some Implications of Second-Order Cybernetics (Anthony Hodgson)
    • New Directions in Second-Order Cybernetics (Larry Richards)
  • Epilogue:
    • Possible Futures for Cybernetics (Karl H Müller, Stuart A Umpleby & Alexander Riegler)

http://attainable-utopias.org/tiki/ThirdOrderCybernetics

Third Order Cybernetics


See First Order Cybernetics
See Second Order Cybernetics
See Fourth Order Cybernetics


When a whole system acknowledges its surroundings

  • First Order Cybernetics emerged from engineering, therefore tended to see systems as objects.
  • Second Order Cybernetics started explored the internal dynamics of the system.
  • Third Order Cybernetics regards a system more as an active-interactive element in a circuit.
  • It acknowledged the way that a whole system may redirect itself in order to adapt to its context.
  • Therefore, the observer and the system co-evolve together.
  • This mean that the observer can see himself as part of the system under examination.
  • Each player in a musical ensemble, for example, listens to each other player, and to his, or her, own instrument.
  • The whole ensemble may then play as a unified, emergent sound, as though all the instruments play as one.
  • This is a kind of System Transformation.
  • Wittgenstein’s language games (external link) may help to explain the complexity of this.
  • It will be evident that in this case the System itself is regarded from the perspective of a Loop in First Order Cybernetics.

 

 

From RECENT DEVELOPMENTS IN CYBERNETICS,
A THEORY FOR UNDERSTANDING SOCIAL SYSTEMS

Authors

Emergence of third order cybernetics

Much to the surprise and delight of the co-editors, this special issue of Emergence: Complexity & Organization on complexity and storytelling appears to mark more a beginning than an ending. For, while the publication of any journal is the end of a discrete project, what we are learning from it suggests the opening moves in a game of exploration pursuing a fascinating question: Are the studies of storytelling, in its widest sense, and of complex human systems largely the same thing? At first, that seemed an obvious overstatement. Yet, in the process of developing this special issue, both of us have concluded that it is a question that is, at least, worth exploring. In this way, we offer you this special issue as an introduction to the possibility that the dynamics that arise as people tell stories, to themselves as well as to others, and then enact those stories, create the dynamic human systems – families and neighborhoods; workgroups, organizations, and economies – that Ralph Stacey’s (2001) conception of complex responsive processes seems to deny.

Some readers may say that this exploration is hardly new. In fact, nearly 30 years ago, Louis R. Pondy’s essay “Beyond open system models of organization,” included as a classic complexity article in this issue (see pp. 119-137), lays out the challenge to launch into just such an exploration as the co-editors believe this issue represents. Basing his argument on Boulding’s nine levels of system complexity, Pondy insists that organizational theorists are locked into analysis based on the lower levels of complexity. Given the then-current understanding of organizations, analysts should think of them less as ‘input-output’ machines and more as ‘language-using, sensemaking cultures’. What is needed, as a result, is “radical methodological departures [such as] ethnographic techniques more suitable for studying meaning and belief systems.” The theme articles in this issue play with a variety of such departures.

Moreover, mostly over the last five years, a significant amount of work has been compiled applying complexity and storytelling to organizations, answering Pondy’s challenge after only a quarter century. Already, three practitioners – Carl Weick (1995), Dave Snowden (see Kurtz & Snowden, 2003), and David Boje (2001) – have developed sophisticated approaches to this study. What makes this issue of E:CO new and exciting is an explosion of interest in this developing area of study. Previously, the intersection of complexity and storytelling studies had been applied largely to organizations. However, among the more than 40 proposals we received were abstracts whose subject ranged from economics and law to disaster control, healthcare, and oriental literature. As a result, we began to suspect that this evolving hybrid field could suggest a powerful approach to the application of complexity thinking to all human systems. Nor are we the first to suggest this. One contributor to this issue, anthropologist Michael Agar, has observed elsewhere (Agar, 2005), that the most effective methodology to complexity-based social studies is ethnography.

In some ways, it seems odd that the intersection between complexity and storytelling has been so little examined. For one thing, the two studies have grown on remarkably parallel tracks for the last 15 years or so. During this time, both studies have been adapted from their origins – complexity in the natural sciences and narrative/storytelling in literature – and applied increasingly to organizations, but in a somewhat limited way. Complexity studies of organizations have been largely limited to considering organizations as (narratively) coherent entities in market ecosystems, ignoring what complexity thinking suggests about the dynamics of organizations as ecosystems for the people working in them. Some work on organizations as ecosystems has begun to appear in, for example, the work of Brenda Dervin, et al. (2003) or Ken Baskin (2005b). Similarly, the vast majority of the work on narrative in organizations has explored its function on the level of the organization and in its function for managers. It’s only in recent years, as writers such as Weick, Snowden and Boje have applied the double lens of complexity and storytelling, that attention has begun to focus also on how people within organizations use narrative and storytelling quite differently. Here, a thaw of sorts is occurring, as those studying the field move from narrative, with its implications as a complete linear-construction (with beginning, middle and end), to storytelling, with its suggestion that some stories are emergent attempts to formulate and negotiate the understandings held as finished in narrative study.

In addition to these historical similarities, the two studies (story-emergence and complexity) seem an almost ideal fit for each other. On one hand, some writers on storytelling are beginning to recognize it as an emergent phenomenon, sensitive to initial states, that groups negotiate in their interactions. On the other, some writers about complex human systems are beginning to recognize that storytelling drives the human equivalent of attractors at several levels – personality, group dynamics, and culture. As a result, the principles of complexity and storytelling come together as a series of strands that, like a rope, when woven together, form a more powerful tool than either alone.

Given all that, it seems only fitting that the co-editors of this issue approach this intersection of studies from opposite directions. David Boje (2001) came to it through his study of storytelling organizations. In his studies, he has focused on the difference between ‘antenarrative’, the preliminary stories people tell as they begin to understand what might be happening around them, and the more fixed (whole, linear) narratives, which are explanations of what people believe actually happened. Along with this view of storytelling, Boje (1995) had developed the idea of the organization as ‘Tamara’, a house with many rooms in which people in different rooms simultaneously tell different stories about the same events, experienced from their differing points of view, networking with one another to make sense of the divergent storylines. Much of the dynamics of any organization, he suggests, arises in the negotiation that occur as people enact these different stories about common events in distributed locations.

On the other hand, Ken Baskin approached this intersection from his work in applying complexity thinking to organizations. His 2001 research study on workgroup cultures in three American hospitals, funded by ISCE, brought him to the conclusion that the stories people tell, to themselves as well as others, create the human equivalent of attractors – personality in the individual, group dynamics, and culture in organizations and other larger entities (2005a). His most recent work (2005b) suggests that, in addition to being coherent units existing in market ecosystems, organizations can be examined as ecosystems of storytelling groups, a concept with much in common with Boje’s Tamara.

When we first issued the call for abstracts on complexity and storytelling, we had no idea that so many people had begun thinking about the function of storytelling and complexity in the various fields in which they worked. We quickly discovered that interweaving the principles of these areas of study was proving absolutely as illuminating as we had suspected from our own work. The nine topical articles published in this issue will give the reader an idea of the variety and excitement of thought among those combining the insights of complexity thinking and storytelling:

  • Theodore Taptiklis’s “After managerialism,” for instance, contrasts managerialism’s tendency to reduce complexity with the approach supported by this journal, among others, to confront the complexity of contemporary markets. He examines his work with organizations to record and share the narrative experience of professionals in order to foster emergence and creativity.

  • In “Narrative processes in organizational discourse,” John Luhman discusses organizational discourse as a complex system that includes three processes – storying coercion, story weaving, and story betting, the last of which reflects Boje’s antenarrative theory. For him, narratives provide a “field of choices in which meaning takes place.” In organizations managed as complex systems, these choices can create the rich diversity from which innovation emerges.

  • Michael Agar’s essay, “Telling it like you think it might be,” explores a methodology for analyzing organizational storytelling. At a time when so many organizations are trying to transform management style from the traditional mechanical model to a more complex one, Agar offers a way of measuring the degree of complexity recognized in any organization’s operations, through examining five elements of the storytelling.

  • Taking a different tack in “The use of narrative to understand and respond to complexity,” Larry Browning and Thierry Boudés compare two of the major models for using “narrative as a sensemaking response to complexity.” In examining David Snowden’s Cynefin model and that of Carl Weick, Browning and Boudés conclude that, in spite of the many differences in these models, they are remarkably similar, especially in their emphasis on widespread participation and “management by exclusion.”

  • In “Wanted for breaking and entering organizational systems in complexity,” Adrian Carr and Cheryl Lapp take a Freudian approach to the function of narrative in organizations transforming from a traditional model to a more complex one. Introducing the principles of complexity into such an organization, they note, demands that people in the organization co-create stories that cannot help but cause anxiety. It is through the pain created in the destruction of old certainties, which the authors insist people cling to as an expression of Freud’s ‘Thanatos’, that the creative energies of ‘Eros’ emerge.

  • Doug Smith’s “Order (for free) in the court” examines the legal system as a complex system that has evolved as a result of what he has called “full-contract storytelling.” Rather than the traditional view that law is a system governed by rules, Smith insists that it depends on a self-reinforcing cycle of learning and retelling stories in law school and then anticipating and countering the stories of others in practice. In court lawyers use stories to reduce the complexity of life in order to win judges and juries to their clients’ points of view. Ironically, this central role of storytelling in the legal system remains unacknowledged.

  • Similarly, Michelle Shumate, Alison Bryant and Peter Monge argue, in “Storytelling and globalization,” that networked global organizations engage in “narrative netwar” in order to affect the ideological landscape. Using the Direct Action network’s protest of the World Trade Organization’s 1999 meeting in Seattle as an example, they explore how people in both networks use narrative to simplify an issue as complex as global trade in order to persuade people to support their positions. The world is much more complex than any one story can communicate; by reducing that complexity with narrative, they can make their cases, suggesting that those narratives are the reality.

  • Finally, Check Teck Foo’s essay, “Three kingdoms, sense making and complexity theory,” examines the famous Chinese novel, Romance of three kingdoms, as a narrative about the phase transition between the Han and Jin dynasties. Rather than a monolithic narrative, the story is presented as a collection of short stories with interlocking characters, whose interactions eventually result in the reemergence of orderly government. As a novel about social phase transition, he notes, this work offers insights into how today’s leaders and approach the chaotic developments of our own period.

If, in fact, this intersection between the study of complexity and of storytelling is as powerful as the co-editors suspect, an enormous amount of work remains. Those exploring it are only beginning to develop methodologies and a vocabulary.

We would like to offer a bold conclusion, one that is an answer to Boulding (1968), as well as Pondy’s (1976) challenge to system/complexity theory. We think that the difference between coherence-narrative and the more emergence-storytelling theories is the dawn of the ‘Third Cybernetics’ of dynamic complexity. Boulding made it clear that for systems theory to theorize and study higher orders of complexity, we need to differentiate between sign-representations (e.g., narratives as the ‘mirror’ of experience). First and Second Cybernetics has been dominated by master-narratives, each with a particular metaphorization: level 1 (frameworks of narrative types); level 2 (mechanistic narrative); level 3 (thermostat-control narrative); level 4 (cell of the ‘open system’); and level 5 (tree as ‘organic’ narrative). First cybernetics is the mechanistic-narrative of deviation-counteraction through the input-output-feedback sign-comparison model of communication. Second cybernetics is the open (cell) system narrative of deviation-counteracting (comparing narratives of the environment, systemically-organizing more variety to process them).

We think the articles point to a Third Cybernetics, where what Boulding calls image (managed in story, level 6), symbol (self-reflexion in story, level 7), societal discourse (social organization shaped by story, a domain of discourse, level 8), and transcendental (stories of unknowable and knowable, level 9). For Pondy, these upper levels are where language, story, and symbol, exceed the theory of ‘open system’ modeling. The problem is that narrative (conceived as linear metaphorization), does not come to grips with the needs of Third Order Cybernetics[1].

References

  • Agar, M. (2005). “We have met the other and we’re all nonlinear: Ethnography as a nonlinear dynamic system,” Complexity, ISSN 1076-2787, 10(2): 16-24.
  • Baskin, K. (2005a). “Storytelling and the complex epistemology of organizations,” in K. A. Richardson (ed.), Managing organizational complexity: Philosophy, theory, application, Greenwich, CT: Information Age Publishing, ISBN 1593113188, pp. 331-344.
  • Baskin, K. (2005b). “Complexity, stories and knowing,” Emergence: Complexity & Organization, ISSN 1521-3250, 7(2): 32-40.
  • Boje, D. M. (2001). Narrative methods for organizational and communication research, London, UK: Sage Publications, ISBN 0761965874.
  • Boje, D. M. (1995). “Stories of the storytelling organization: A postmodern analysis of Disney as ‘Tamara-land’,” Academy of Management Journal, ISSN 0001-4273, 38(4): 997-1035, http://cbae.nmsu.edu/∼dboje/papers/DisneyTamaraland.html.
  • Boulding, K. (1968). “General systems theory: The skeleton of science,” in Walter Buckley (ed.), Modern systems research for the behavioral scientist, Chicago: Adeline, ISBN 0202300110, pp. 3-10. More recently reprinted in K. A. Richardson, J. A. Goldstein, P. M. Allen and D. Snowden (eds.) (2004). E:CO Annual Volume 6, Mansfield, MA: ISCE Publishing, ISBN 0976681404, pp. 252-264.
  • Dervin, B., Foreman-Wernet, L. and Lauterback, Eric (eds.) (2003). Sense-making methodology reader: Selected writings of Brenda Dervin, Cresskill, NJ: Hampton Press, ISBN 1572735090.
  • Kurtz, C. F. and Snowden, D. J. (2003). “The new dynamics of strategy: Sense-making in a complex and complicated world,” IBM Systems Journal, ISSN 0018-8670, 42(3): 462-483.
  • Pondy, L. R. (1976). “Beyond open systems models of organization,” Annual meeting of the Academy of Management, August 12, reprinted in this issue of E:CO, pp. 122-139.
  • Stacey, R.D. (2001). Complex responsive processes in organizations, London, UK: Routledge, ISBN 0415249198.
  • Weick, K. E. (1995), Sensemaking in organizations, London, UK: Sage Publications, ISBN 080397177X.

 

 

https://wiki.p2pfoundation.net/Fourth_Order_Cybernetics

http://attainable-utopias.org/tiki/FourthOrderCybernetics

Fourth Order Cybernetics

M. C. Escher’s pictures illustrate some relevant issues…


See First Order Cybernetics
See Second Order Cybernetics
See Third Order Cybernetics


Can we Define a Fourth Order System?

  • Fourth Order Cybernetics considers what happens when a system redefines itself.
  • It focuses on the integration of a system within its larger, co-defining context.
  • Ultimately, Fourth Order Cybernetics is difficult or, perhaps, impossible to conceive.
  • It unavoidably defies certain principles that make sense at the ‘lower Orders’ .
  • Fourth Order Cybernetics acknowledges the complex system’s emergent properties.
  • Emergence entails a greater complexity that reduces knowability and predictability.
  • It also implies that a system will ‘immerge’ into its environment, of which it is part.
  • Immergence means ‘submergence’ or ‘disappearance in, or as if in, a liquid’.

The Distributed Nature of 4th Order Cybernetics

  • Who (or what) is capable of seeing a Fourth Order system in its full complexity?
  • At the Fourth Order, the discrete observer’s boundaries become problematic.
  • Who is sufficiently mercurial to notice all relevant changes as, and when they occur?
  • A single agent is unable to see enough – its standpoint is too fixed, partial or out of date.
  • In First Order Cybernetics the idea of a Network (external link) makes sense.
  • So could a network be described as an ‘observer’ of a Fourth Order system?
  • Yes, in theory, but we may not be able to learn what it ‘knows’ in any depth. (see neural networks (external link))
  • Consider a musical ensemble, and how it attunes itself to audience responses (e.g. cheering).
  • This raises complex issues of consciousness – where, when, and how it emerges.
  • We can discuss this by describing how the body manages many levels of knowing.

Fourth Order Systems Integrate the Inner with the Outer

It is difficult to focus on the dark birds at the same time as the light ones

  • Some human knowledge is tacit (external link) rather than descriptive or declarative (external link).
  • Embodied knowledge is an example of knowledge distributed within, and across a network
  • It is something we may say we ‘know’, but it exists at a level that cannot be described.
  • Saying that we know how to ride a bicycle is not saying the ‘knowing’ itself.
  • When I am riding, my body uses knowledge that cannot be described in words.
  • Nevertheless I may sit quietly and meditate on what it was like to ride a bicycle.
  • When I do so my attention focuses inwards and distracts me from events around me.
  • Conversely, when in a difficult task (e.g. winning a cycle race) I soon forget the ‘inner’ me.
  • This illustrates that systems appear to have distinct ‘inner’ and ‘outer’ realities.

Fourth Order Systems are Holarchic (external link)

  • How can we view a system as though from the outside and the inside, simultaneously?
  • To do this would mean combining two (categorically) opposite descriptions.
  • In Fourth Order Systems, anything we notice can also be seen as the system.
  • The system can therefore seem to become its own inverse
  • This cannot be conceived in terms of classical science
  • The ethical system needed to sustain a 4th Order system is likely to be eudaimonic (external link)

  • Fourth Order Cybernetics can only be understood and described in terms if the inverse of First Order Cybernetics.
  • Yet by understanding the underlying principle of system inversion, this makes it possible to describe the Open System.
  • The 4th Order system is contextualised, embedded and integrated into the context
  • It can thereby become representative for the integrated context.
  • It therefore operates at two levels simultaneously.
  • It is no longer a system, but a meta-system.
  • It operates both as a system in its context, and as a system that is part of the context.
  • It thereby has the capacity to integrate and disintegrate the contact between both.
  • It is an active, interactive, reactive and ideally representative agent in/for/with/of that context.
  • This requires a different level of description: not in relationship to the system, but to the relationship between systems.
  • The Interface is now the system of reference, instead of the system.
  • This relationship is the basis of the interaction.
  • The transformation is the basis of the processing.
  • The integration is the basis of integrity.
  • The significant feature of the meta-system is its duality.
  • The essence is the same, but the relevance brings inversion.
  • The metasystem is an object; the meta-system is a subject.
  • Whereas a system can normally be described, a meta-system can only be experienced
  • The ‘pillars’ in this transition are the relationships (Second Order) and the interactions (Third Order).
  • Fourth Order Design would integrate all activities in an inverted, contextualised form
  • It would be embedded in its context and responsible in, and for, its actions
  • The system would act as meta-system and design would act as meta-design.
  • This represents the level of self-awareness.
  • It is where the system reflects upon itself and steers itself (i.e. is autopoietic).
  • These attributes facilitate self-regeneration, thus self-healing.
  • They can therefore be managed to enable a healing process.

http://attainable-utopias.org/tiki/FourthOrderCybernetics

https://wiki.p2pfoundation.net/Fourth_Order_Cybernetics

Fourth Order Cybernetics

Description

Can we Define a Fourth Order System?

Fourth Order Cybernetics considers what happens when a system redefines itself.

It focuses on the integration of a system within its larger, co-defining context.

* The 4th Order system is contextualised, embedded and integrated into the context
* It can thereby become representative for the integrated context.
* It therefore operates at two levels simultaneously.
* It is no longer a system, but a meta-system.
* It operates both as a system in its context, and as a system that is part of the context.
* It thereby has the capacity to integrate and disintegrate the contact between both.
* It is an active, interactive, reactive and ideally representative agent in/for/with/of that context.
* This requires a different level of description: not in relationship to the system, but to the relationship between systems.
* The Interface is now the system of reference, instead of the system.
* This relationship is the basis of the interaction.
* The transformation is the basis of the processing.
* The integration is the basis of integrity.
* The significant feature of the meta-system is its duality.
* The essence is the same, but the relevance brings inversion.
* The metasystem is an object; the meta-system is a subject.
* Whereas a system can normally be described, a meta-system can only be experienced
* The ‘pillars’ in this transition are the relationships (Second Order) and the interactions (Third Order).
* Fourth Order Design would integrate all activities in an inverted, contextualised form
* It would be embedded in its context and responsible in, and for, its actions
* The system would act as meta-system and design would act as meta-design.
* This represents the level of self-awareness.
* It is where the system reflects upon itself and steers itself (i.e. is autopoietic).
* These attributes facilitate self-regeneration, thus self-healing.
* They can therefore be managed to enable a healing process.

(http://attainable-utopias.org/tiki/FourthOrderCybernetics)

More Information

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cybernetics: interdisciplinary study of the structure of regulatory systems.

Please see my related posts:

Cybernetics Group: A Brief History of American Cybernetics

Ratio Club: A Brief History of British Cyberneticians

Second Order Cybernetics of Heinz Von Foerster

Cybernetics, Autopoiesis, and Social Systems Theory

Steps to an Ecology of Mind: Recursive Vision of Gregory Bateson

Socio-Cybernetics and Constructivist Approaches

Society as Communication: Social Systems Theory of Niklas Luhmann

Reflexivity, Recursion, and Self Reference

Autocatalysis, Autopoiesis and Relational Biology

Systems and Organizational Cybernetics

Feedback Thought in Economics and Finance

On Holons and Holarchy

Psychology of Happiness: Value of Storytelling and Narrative Plays

Drama Theory: Choices, Conflicts and Dilemmas

Drama Theory: Acting Strategically

Drama Therapy: Self in Performance

Aesthetics and Ethics: At the Intersection

Arts and Moral Philosophy

Narrative Psychology: Language, Meaning, and Self

Truth, Beauty, and Goodness: Integral Theory of Ken Wilber

Meta Integral Theories: Integral Theory, Critical Realism, and Complex Thought

Cyber-Semiotics: Why Information is not enough

 

Key Sources of Research:

Introduction to Sociocybernetics (Part 1):

Third Order Cybernetics and a Basic Framework for Society

Roberto Gustavo Mancilla

 

Click to access Third+order+cyberntics.pdf

 

Introduction to Sociocybernetics (Part 2): Power, Culture and Institutions

  • Roberto Gustavo Mancilla

https://papiro.unizar.es/ojs/index.php/rc51-jos/article/view/625

Introduction to Sociocybernetics (Part 3): Fourth Order Cybernetics

Roberto Gustavo Mancilla

Click to access 208de7103c9fd87688023e66d06111454862.pdf

 

 

 

The Third Order Cybernetics of Eric Schwarz

Eric Schwarz and Maurice Yolles

Prof.m.yolles@gmail.com

July 2019

https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=3427683

 

 

 

“There’s Nothing Like the Real Thing” Revisiting the Need for a Third-Order Cybernetics

 

Click to access kenny_cyber3.pdf

 

 

 

Cybernetics and Second-Order Cybernetics

Francis Heylighen Free University of Brussels

Cliff Joslyn Los Alamos National Laboratory

Click to access Cybernetics-EPST.pdf

A new – 4th order cybernetics and sustainable future

Stane Božičnik, Matjaž Mulej

Kybernetes

Publication date: 14 June 2011

https://www.emerald.com/insight/content/doi/10.1108/03684921111142232/full/html

 

 

 

The cybernetics of systems of belief

Bernard Scott

Centre for Educational Technology and Development, De Montfort University, Leicester, UK

Click to access b1c419023f5cec784d0c75e8058930f9e6c9.pdf

 

 

 

Ethics and Second-Order Cybernetics*

Heinz von Foerster

 

http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=10.1.1.384.6075&rep=rep1&type=pdf#page=300

 

Philosophical-Methodological Basis for the Formation of Third-Order Cybernetics

V. E. Lepskiy

The New Science of Cybernetics: A Primer

Karl H. Müller

 

 

 

New Horizons for Second-Order Cybernetics

WORLD SCIENTIFIC 2017

April 13, 2018

Karl H. Muller et al., “New Horizons for Second-Order Cybernetics” (World Scientific, 2017)

 

 

 

RECONSIDERING CYBERNETIC

UMPLEBY STUART

https://sites.nationalacademies.org/cs/groups/dbassesite/documents/webpage/dbasse_176892.pdf

 

 

 

Introduction to the Theory of Intersubjective Management

Vladimir A. Vittikh

Click to access s10726-014-9380-z.pdf

 

 

 

Lacan and Maturana: Constructivist Origins for a 30 Cybernetics

Philip Boxer & Vincent Kenny

 

Click to access 552bda070cf2e089a3aa87d4.pdf

 

 

 

The Economy of Discourses: a third order cybernetics?

Philip Boxer & Vincent Kenny

 

Click to access The-economy-of-discourses-a-third-order-cybernetics.pdf

 

 

 

THIRD-ORDER CYBERNETICS

Vladimir Lepskiy

(Institute of Philosophy Russian Academy of Sciences)

 

http://www.reflexion.ru/Library/Sbornic2017.pdf#page=32

 

 

 

RECENT DEVELOPMENTS IN CYBERNETICS,
A THEORY FOR UNDERSTANDING SOCIAL SYSTEMS

Stuart A. Umpleby, Vladimir E. Lepskiy, and Tatiana A. Medvedeva

 

Click to access db4a81a13d83bd3222ead66e9988bc5b47ac.pdf

 

 

 

First-, Second-, and Third-Order Cybernetics for Music & Mediated Interaction

 

Click to access IDAH-FA10.pdf

Author: Mayank Chaturvedi

You can contact me using this email mchatur at the rate of AOL.COM. My professional profile is on Linkedin.com.

9 thoughts on “Third and Higher Order Cybernetics”

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