Paradigms Of The Social: Current Vis Vis An Alternative

Monday, July 14, 2014: 5:30 PM
Room: Booth 47
Oral Presentation
Roberto MANCILLA , UC Berkeley School of Law, Berkeley, CA
The idea of the “social” is the foundational paradigm of sociology, one which has been stated, understood and restated several times through its story. In the realm of Sociocybernetics Niklas Luhmann’s social systems theory defines them as based on communication, with society being the most encompassing form. To this author human beings don’t and can’t communicate, only communication can do so, this means that society has to be described on the basis of events. Social systems are autopoietic because they produce their own components and their growth can be explained on terms with second order cybernetics; unlike living systems, which are closed, social systems are cognitively open and operationally closed.

This posthuman theory of social systems has been widely discussed and some of its criticisms are that it ignores the law of requisite variety (as it only understands the reduction of complexity), empirical evidence that social systems are indeed open, and the fact that it does not comprehend human behavior in micro scale.

The purpose of my participation is to expound the merits of Luhmann’s theory, to criticize it and to propose a new approach to social systems.

As first order cybernetics deals with observed systems which are teleological and second with observing, which are teleonomical; a third order of cybernetics studies mutually observing systems and are teleological and teleonomical at the same time. A fourth order of cybernetics can also be expounded as the realm of human cognitive systems, which are self-observing systems and have the features of both first and second systems. Third cybernetics has language as a basis, while fourth has cognitive coherence; social cybernetics can be understood as the interplay of third and fourth order cybernetics.