Language and the Self-Reference Paradox

Cybernetics and Human Knowing 14 (4):71-92 (2007)
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Heinz Von Forester characterizes the objects “known” by an autopoietic system as eigen-solutions, that is, as discrete, separable, stable and composable states of the interaction of the system with its environment. Previous articles have presented the FBST, Full Bayesian Significance Test, as a mathematical formalism specifically designed to access the support for sharp statistical hypotheses, and have shown that these hypotheses correspond, from a constructivist perspective, to systemic eigen-solutions in the practice of science. In this article several issues related to the role played by language in the emergence of eigen-solutions are analyzed. The last sections also explore possible connections with the semiotic theory of Charles Sanders Peirce.

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Julio Michael Stern
University of São Paulo


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