A Note on Composition

Systems Research, Vol. 13, pp. 195-203, 1996

19 Pages Posted: 16 Jan 2013

Date Written: July 15, 1996


It is characteristic of Heinz von Foerster's approach to the cybernetics of cybernetics that it combines a sense of tight reasoning with the acknowledgment of fundamental ignorance. The article attempts to uncover an epistemological relationship between the reasoning and the ignorance. The relationship is provided for by a razor which reads: What can be described in relation to its composition, is described in vain in relation to its substance. The razor asks for second-order terms instead of first-order terms, or for ontogenetics instead of ontology.

Keywords: cybernetics, Heinz von Foerster, ontogenetics, ontology, systems

Suggested Citation

Baecker, Dirk, A Note on Composition (July 15, 1996). Systems Research, Vol. 13, pp. 195-203, 1996, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2200804

Dirk Baecker (Contact Author)

Witten/Herdecke University ( email )


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