The Third Order Cybernetics of Eric Schwarz

63 Pages Posted: 6 Sep 2019

See all articles by Eric Schwarz

Eric Schwarz


Maurice Yolles

John Moores University - Centre for the Creation of Coherent Change and Knowledge (C4K)

Date Written: July 26, 2019


There have been many discussions in the area of cybernetics that highlights the importance of second order cybernetics, with its implied notions of autopoiesis, and its capacity to represent the social as a living system (e.g., Yolles, 2018; Yolles, 2018a).

Eric Schwarz was a professor emeritus from 1999 at the Institute of Physics of the Faculty of Science at the University of Neuch√Ęte, Switzerland, where he was honorary research director, and former head of the Interdisciplinary Centre for Systemic Studies of the University of Neuc√Ętel (CIES) founded in 1988. He produced the first explicitly third order cybernetic model at his cybernetic unit in 1988 in collaboration with the other members of CIES. He has written 21 papers on the development of his paradigm, but most of his many publications have been through conferences, and they have been lost or are not easily accessible, and access to existing papers appears to be continually reducing. Those papers lost cannot be regained easily since he passed away in March 2015 at the age of 81 after declining ill-health. It is for this reason that I have put together this collection of his papers that I have available.

Keywords: social cybernetics, third order cybernetics

Suggested Citation

Schwarz, Eric and Yolles, Maurice, The Third Order Cybernetics of Eric Schwarz (July 26, 2019). Available at SSRN: or

Eric Schwarz

Independent ( email )

Maurice Yolles (Contact Author)

John Moores University - Centre for the Creation of Coherent Change and Knowledge (C4K) ( email )

Liverpool John Moores University
United Kingdom

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