Cybernetics and Second-Order Cybernetics

Cybernetics is the science that studies the abstract principles of organization in complex systems. It is concerned not so much with what systems consist of, but how they function. Cybernetics focuses on how systems use information, models, and control actions to steer towards and maintain their goals, while counteracting various disturbances. Being inherently transdisciplinary, cybernetic reasoning can be applied to understand, model and design systems of any kind: physical, technological, biological, ecological, psychological, social, or any combination of those. Second-order cybernetics in particular studies the role of the (human) observer in the construction of models of systems and other observers.

Author: Francis Heylighen & Cliff Joslyn

View Paper