…People who seem to think that the only possible way you could disagree or have a different position is if you had misinterpreted their position or failed to understand what they’re talking about. “After all, any rational person who understood my position couldn’t possibly disagree!” Why is it that I often find this way of thinking among social scientists who like to talk about perspective, conceptual schemes, paradigms, etc? Is there some inner logic that inherently leads these positions into a performative contradiction in which the person advocating them is incapable of actually recognizing that their perspective is a perspective even as they make claims about how all is paradigms, perspectives, and conceptual scheme? It is odd how the most ardent perspectivists in the social sciences, political theory, and philosophy somehow become the most vehement absolutist imperialists, subtracting their own position from the very principle they claim to find in everything else.

First Order Cybernetics: Drawing a distinction to observe the world. For instance, once you’ve drawn a circle on a piece of paper, you can now indicate what is inside and what is outside the circle.

Second Order Cybernetics: Observing how the first order cybernetician draws distinctions to observe the world, or “observing the observer”. In first order cybernetics the fact that the distinction had to be operative prior to indicating what is inside or outside the circle tends to disappear. The second-order cybernetician observes how distinctions are drawn so as to construct the object that the first order observer experiences as real. For instance, looking how 19th century psychiatry drew the distinction between heterosexuality and homosexuality, that did not exist before, and which effectively constructed homosexuality and heterosexuality as objects of study or research.

What these social scientists seem to forget is… Drum beat please:

Third Order Cybernetics: Observing how the observer draws distinctions to observe the observer. That is, this would be the critical and reflexive analysis of the sociological observer who purports to observe observers from a “value-free” and “neutral” standpoint.

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