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Observing Environments

Alrøe, Hugo Fjelsted and Noe, Egon (2012) Observing Environments. Constructivist Foundations, 8 (1), pp. 39-62.

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Document available online at: http://www.univie.ac.at/constructivism/journal/8/1/039.alroe


> Context • Society is faced with “wicked” problems of environmental sustainability, which are inherently multiperspectival, and there is a need for explicitly constructivist and perspectivist theories to address them.
> Problem • However, different constructivist theories construe the environment in different ways. The aim of this paper is to clarify the conceptions of environment in constructivist approaches, and thereby to assist the sciences of complex systems and complex environmental problems.
> Method • We describe the terms used for “the environment” in von Uexküll, Maturana & Varela, and Luhmann, and analyse how their conceptions of environment are connected to differences of perspective and observation.
> Results • We show the need to distinguish between inside and outside perspectives on the environment, and identify two very different and complementary logics of observation, the logic of distinction and the logic of representation, in the three constructivist theories.
> Implications • Luhmann’s theory of social systems can be a helpful perspective on the wicked environmental problems of society if we consider carefully the theory’s own blind spots: that it confines itself to systems of communication, and that it is based fully on the conception of observation as indication by means of distinction.

EPrint Type:Journal paper
Keywords: Umwelt, world, phenomenology, biosemiotics, autopoiesis, perspectivism, Peirce
Subjects: Knowledge management > Research methodology and philosophy
Research affiliation: Denmark > AU - Aarhus University
Denmark > Organic RDD 1 > MultiTrust
Deposited By: Alrøe, PhD Hugo Fjelsted
ID Code:21848
Deposited On:22 Nov 2012 07:57
Last Modified:29 Nov 2013 08:37
Document Language:English
Refereed:Peer-reviewed and accepted
Additional Publishing Information:Contributing to MultiTrust Deliverable 3.6.1 and 3.6.2

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