Jacob's Ladder and Scientific Ontologies

Cybernetics and Human Knowing 21 (3):9-43 (2014)
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The main goal of this article is to use the epistemological framework of a specific version of Cognitive Constructivism to address Piaget’s central problem of knowledge construction, namely, the re-equilibration of cognitive structures. The distinctive objective character of this constructivist framework is supported by formal inference methods of Bayesian statistics, and is based on Heinz von Foerster’s fundamental metaphor of objects as tokens for eigen-solutions. This epistemological perspective is illustrated using some episodes in the history of chemistry concerning the definition or identification of chemical elements. Some of von Foerster’s epistemological imperatives provide general guidelines of development and argumentation.

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Julio Michael Stern
University of São Paulo


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