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 Heinz von Foerster

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PostSubject: Heinz von Foerster   Tue 26 Apr 2011, 6:32 pm

I'll start this thread with a clip that includes both Heinz as well as Norbert Weiner (the two a closely related in terms of their work on cybernetics). Watch Heinz, as an old man at the beginning of this clip, talk about how science has been used, since Aristotle, to create two different realities, the one people see with their own eyes and some other reality. He openly comments about the great success of science to perform such a division.



Watch the rest of the clip, as it explains how Norbert Weiner reframed humanity, characterizing it as merely information systems that can be programmed, and that can be viewed as no different than machines. Thank you Norbert, as you've now given us the International Computer Grid which does just this, we're all just fucking objects on a nodal structure, and the basis of that object is irrelevant. Goodbye humanity, we're all machine in this framework.

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PostSubject: Re: Heinz von Foerster   Mon 09 May 2011, 5:50 pm

The Dream of Reality [Paperback]
Lynn Segal

http://www.amazon.com/Dream-Reality-Lynn-Segal/dp/038795130X

"Segal, a psychotherapist, initiated this work as a transcription of von Foerster’s lecture material; but it evolved instead into interpretation of von Foerster’s ideas in accessible language. … The appendix contains an interview with von Foerster himself. This second edition is essentially a reissue of the first … but it incorporates corrections and clarifications that von Foerster added to the German edition … ." (Reference & Research Book News, November, 2001)

Product Description
What if there were no objective facts, no objective truth, only our belief in them? What if our consciousness itself is an unconscious invention, constructed out of logic and language? In this thought-provoking volume, Lynn Segal describes how the ideas of Heinz von Foerster compel us to explore the question "Do we discover the world or do we invent it?". He suggests that we must first know how we think before we can claim knowledge of the world. While Constructivism may seem relevant only to those in the cognitive sciences, it is, in fact, highly relevant to everyone. Paradoxically, grasping the limits of our own understanding can free us to live more creative and meaningful personal and professional lives.

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PostSubject: Re: Heinz von Foerster   Mon 09 May 2011, 5:54 pm

PS. I'm looking for a quote from Heinz, written in the early 50's (or perhaps 40's) while working for DOD, where he basically describes the computer laptop that was to be released to the public 50 years later. The quote is part of a larger paper that defines the public needs of the future. I bookmarked the page somewhere, and where I find it I'll post here.

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PostSubject: Re: Heinz von Foerster   Mon 16 May 2011, 1:59 pm

C1 wrote:
PS. I'm looking for a quote from Heinz, written in the early 50's (or perhaps 40's) while working for DOD, where he basically describes the computer laptop that was to be released to the public 50 years later. The quote is part of a larger paper that defines the public needs of the future. I bookmarked the page somewhere, and where I find it I'll post here.
I was mistaken, the quote that I sought was from Vannevar Bush, and I have posted that quote in this same subforum.

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PostSubject: Re: Heinz von Foerster   Mon 16 May 2011, 2:05 pm

Review of "Observing Systems"
Heinz Von Foerster
http://www.amazon.com/Observing-Systems-Heinz-Von-Foerster/dp/B001Q8IOPS/

Deep insights to cognition, epistemology and ethics, November 22, 1999
By Timo Honkela (Helsinki, Finland)

This review is from: Observing Systems (Systems Inquiry Series)

Heinz von Foerster's collection of articles titled Observing Systems provides valuable insights into topics in cognitive science, artificial intelligence, epistemology, ethics, etc. The range of the topics is large and the relevancy of the writings is high even considering the fact that the articles have originally been published between 1960 and 1977. Von Foerster combines system-theoretical approach, careful consideration of the phenomena under consideration and many in depth questions of human existence.

Von Foerster is one of the forefathers of constructivism which becomes apparent while reading his writings. Personally I value the most the bridge that he is able to build from the system-theoretical considerations of living systems, human beings and societies to the realms of observation, learning and education, understanding and ethics.

The book consists of 13 writings among which 'Perception of the Future and the Future of Perception'', ''Notes on an Epistemology for Living Things'' and ''On Constructing a Reality'' are good examples of the central concents.

Von Foerster warns about trivialization in the study of human systems and in education. Even though quotations without the context can be considered to be trivialization of one kind I pick up some of my favourites below. Hopefully you will have a chance to familiarise yourself with the overall context of von Foerster's writings.

Quotes from von Foerster's articles in ''Observing Systems'':

''Objects and events are not primitive experiences. Objects and events are representations of relations. Since 'objects' and 'events' are not primary experiences and thus cannot claim to have absolute (objective) status, their interrelations, the 'environment' is a purely personal affair, whose constraints are anatomical or cultural factors. Moreover, the postulate of an 'external (objective) reality' disappears to give way to reality that is determined by modes of internal computations.''


''We have to perceive lectures, books, slides and films, etc., not as information but as vehicles for potential information.''

''We seem to be brought up in a world seen through descriptions by others rather than through our own perceptions. This has the consequence that instead of using language as a tool with which to express thoughts and experience, we accept language as a tool that determines out thoughts and experience.''

''At any moment we are free to act toward the future we desire. In other words, the future will be as we wish and perceive it to be. This may come as a shock only to those who let their thinking be governed by the principle that demands that only the rules observed in the past shall apply to the future. For those the concept of 'change' is inconceivable, for change is the process that obliterates the rules of the past."

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PostSubject: Re: Heinz von Foerster   Tue 17 May 2011, 3:34 pm

Fucking unbelievable!.,...

Heinz von Foerster affirms in this interview why Godel's theorem is so important and relevant, namely, that all theories and systems possess holes (ie. are incomplete and therefore inconsistent). Hence, whatever theories are the most appealing "win" and gain acceptance in the public mind. Hence, Heinz admits that "reality" is created and contrived, arguing that there is no objective reality.

What is "Information" then? Is it not a tool for the manufacture of reality? What then are the systems that our world creates to produce "Information" for public consumption? And what is the science that is used to create these systems?






@1:33

Heinz: "So all that is relevant is how interesting is the story [that someone invents to explain the origins of the universe]"


@2:10

Interviewer: "But science, and your own research... those are not just inventions or good stories? Surely, they're based on mathematics, on numbers, on provability, on indisputable scientific data?"

Heinz: "Well, yes, but these days there is already so much data that it is no longer possible to include all the different data in your 'story'. And then artificial data is invented. For example, 'particles'. .. Then 'particles' are invented that do whatever it is we don't understand. So, in my opinion particles are always the solutions to problems that we can't solve any other way. That is, they are inventions that help to explain certain problems. Those are particles....

Let's say there is a hole in my theory, one I can't gloss over. So, what I do it, I just say: Look, here are some new particles, that are either green, yellow or... I don't know what.... They replace the hole in my theory.

So, I maintain that each particle we read about in today's physics is the answer to a question that we can't answer.


@3:30

Interviewer: "How can we let a world-wide networked system of machine grow, more or less into infinity, if it is based on theories that apparently have holes or are only 'good stories', I mean on such shaky foundations? Isn't that dangerous?"

Heinz: "Well, in this world-wide, function system of machines all theories are correct. And of course, that's what people want.

And why are they correct? Because they can all be deduced from other theories and 'stories'....."

Interviewer: "But what will it lead to? How does it go on?"

Heinz: "It goes on deducing indefinitely. "

Interviewer: "But there have to be limits somewhere?"

Heinz: "No, not at all, the the good thing about it. You can go on forever."

Interviewer: "In logic. Yes, precisely. But in reality?"

Heinz: "Where is reality? Can you show it to me?"

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PostSubject: Re: Heinz von Foerster   Tue 17 May 2011, 10:00 pm

C1 wrote:


Heinz: "It goes on deducing indefinitely. "

Interviewer: "But there have to be limits somewhere?"

Heinz: "No, not at all, the the good thing about it. You can go on forever."

Perhaps this is what Vannevar Bush was talking about in his book...

Endless Frontier: Vannevar Bush, Engineer of the American Century
by Zachary Pascal

We're now living in an "endless frontier" where BS can be perpetrated on our Complex Adaptive System for eternity.

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