The Biological Metaphor of a Second-Order Observer and the Sociological Discourse. Kybernetes 35 (3/4) (2006), 531-546

Persistent Link:
http://hdl.handle.net/10150/106240
Title:
The Biological Metaphor of a Second-Order Observer and the Sociological Discourse. Kybernetes 35 (3/4) (2006), 531-546
Author:
Leydesdorff, Loet
Citation:
The Biological Metaphor of a Second-Order Observer and the Sociological Discourse. Kybernetes 35 (3/4) (2006), 531-546 2006,
Issue Date:
2006
Description:
Kybernetes 35 (3/4) (2006)
URI:
http://hdl.handle.net/10150/106240
Submitted date:
2006-09-23
Abstract:
Purpose: In the tradition of Spencer Brown’s (1969) Laws of Form, observation was defined in Luhmann’s (1984) social systems theory as the designation of a distinction. In the sociological design, however, the designation specifies only a category for the observation. The distinction between observation and expectation enables the sociologist to appreciate the processing of meaning in social systems. Design: The specification of “the observer” in the tradition of systems theory is analyzed in historical detail. Inconsistencies and differences in perspectives are explicated, and the specificity of human language is further specified. The processing of meaning in social systems adds another layer to the communication. Findings: Reflexivity about the different perspectives of participant observers and an external observer is fundamental to the sociological discourse. The ranges of possible observations from different perspectives can be considered as second-order observations or equivalently as the specification of an uncertainty in the observations. This specification of an uncertainty provides us with an expectation. The expectation can be provided with (one or more) values by observations. The significance of observations can be tested when the expectations are properly specified. Value: The expectations (second-order observations) are structured and therefore systemic attributes to the discourse. However, the metaphor of a (meta-)biological observer has disturbed the translation of social systems theory into sociological discourse. Different discourses specify other expectations about possible observations. By specifying second-order observations as expectations, social systems theory.
Type:
Preprint
Language:
en
Keywords:
Science Technology Studies
Local subject classification:
Sociocybernetics; Meaning; Observer; Social systems; Observational report; Expectation; Communication

Full metadata record

DC FieldValue Language
dc.contributor.authorLeydesdorff, Loeten_US
dc.date.accessioned2006-09-23T00:00:01Z-
dc.date.available2010-06-18T23:43:05Z-
dc.date.issued2006en_US
dc.date.submitted2006-09-23en_US
dc.identifier.citationThe Biological Metaphor of a Second-Order Observer and the Sociological Discourse. Kybernetes 35 (3/4) (2006), 531-546 2006,en_US
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/10150/106240-
dc.descriptionKybernetes 35 (3/4) (2006)en_US
dc.description.abstractPurpose: In the tradition of Spencer Brown’s (1969) Laws of Form, observation was defined in Luhmann’s (1984) social systems theory as the designation of a distinction. In the sociological design, however, the designation specifies only a category for the observation. The distinction between observation and expectation enables the sociologist to appreciate the processing of meaning in social systems. Design: The specification of “the observer” in the tradition of systems theory is analyzed in historical detail. Inconsistencies and differences in perspectives are explicated, and the specificity of human language is further specified. The processing of meaning in social systems adds another layer to the communication. Findings: Reflexivity about the different perspectives of participant observers and an external observer is fundamental to the sociological discourse. The ranges of possible observations from different perspectives can be considered as second-order observations or equivalently as the specification of an uncertainty in the observations. This specification of an uncertainty provides us with an expectation. The expectation can be provided with (one or more) values by observations. The significance of observations can be tested when the expectations are properly specified. Value: The expectations (second-order observations) are structured and therefore systemic attributes to the discourse. However, the metaphor of a (meta-)biological observer has disturbed the translation of social systems theory into sociological discourse. Different discourses specify other expectations about possible observations. By specifying second-order observations as expectations, social systems theory.en_US
dc.format.mimetypehtmen_US
dc.language.isoenen_US
dc.subjectScience Technology Studiesen_US
dc.subject.otherSociocyberneticsen_US
dc.subject.otherMeaningen_US
dc.subject.otherObserveren_US
dc.subject.otherSocial systemsen_US
dc.subject.otherObservational reporten_US
dc.subject.otherExpectationen_US
dc.subject.otherCommunicationen_US
dc.titleThe Biological Metaphor of a Second-Order Observer and the Sociological Discourse. Kybernetes 35 (3/4) (2006), 531-546en_US
dc.typePreprinten_US
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