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Philosophical-Methodological Basis for the Formation of Third-Order Cybernetics

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In the paper, a philosophical and methodological analysis of the evolution of cybernetics in the context of the development of scientific rationality is carried out. The evolution of cybernetics is represented as a movement from the methodology of “observable systems” (N. Wiener) and to the methodology of “observing systems” (von Foerster) and to the methodology of self-developing reflexive-active environments. Special attention is paid to the formation of a new promising direction for post-non-classical cybernetics of self-developing poly-subject (reflexive-active) environments, which, given the correlation with previous stages of cybernetics development (with classical and non-classical scientific rationality), we define as thirdorder cybernetics. The analysis of the basics of the formation of third-order cybernetics was carried out with consideration of interrelated aspects: philosophical, methodological, theoretical, and methodical. We also provide model of self-developing poly-subject (reflexive-active) environments as well as a system of ontologies, defining the mechanisms of functioning of such self-organizing poly-subject environments and active elements that organize the communication space (natural, artificial intelligence, and combined formations). The ontology system also makes it possible to integrate cybernetics of the first, second, and third order. Some sociohumanitarian trends in the development of cybernetics are considered: from an external observer to a distributed observer; from monodisciplinary to transdisciplinary approaches; from activity approach to subject-activity one, and further to subject-oriented approach; from information to active knowledge; from ethics of goals to ethics of strategic subjects. Potential opportunities for using third-order cybernetics are described, in order to improve the quality of solving a number of important scientific and practical problems of controlling social systems. Information is provided on the directions of approbation of a third-order cybernetics concept for improving state administration, based on a system of distributed situational centers, and there is its approbation at international scientific conferences.

About the Author

V. E. Lepskiy
Institute of Philosophy, Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow
Russian Federation
Vladimir Lepskiy – D.Sc. in Psychology, Main Research Fellow


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For citation:

Lepskiy V.E. Philosophical-Methodological Basis for the Formation of Third-Order Cybernetics. Russian Journal of Philosophical Sciences. 2018;(10):7-36.

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ISSN 0235-1188 (Print)
ISSN 2618-8961 (Online)