Plastir Number 24 – 09/2011


Robert DRURY KING is PhD in philosophy of the university Purdue (West Lafayette, Indiana, USA) where he did a thesis on the concept of system after a master in literature. He published in many newspapers and is now working on two books, a translation of the book of Anne Sauvagnargues “Deleuze and art” in collaboration with Samantha Bankston and a book on the systemic heading “Systems thinking: Precursory currents from cybernetics to the system theory” with Darrell Arnold of St Thomas University. Robert D. King belongs to the leading office of “International Big History Association Newspaper” and of the “Journal of Philosophy: A Cross-disciplinary Inquiry” published in the USA and product in Nepal where he is responsible for criticisms of books. His basic work is centred on the system theory and philosophy. He also teaches humanities at the college of Sierra Nevada (USA) like in the field of literary criticism, history, world civilizations and ecopsychology. Making echo in a very interesting way to the paper of J-L Lemoigne on constructivists epistemologies published in the previous number of PLASTIR and to that of Olivier Pénelaud on the Varelian concept of enaction published in the n°18 of PLASTIR, Robert D. King summarizes us the fruit of his thinkings as follows: “The use of systemo-theoretical concepts is widespread in the European philosophy of the XXe century, cognitive sciences like in the autopoietic and sociological system theory. These various fields of study can be even more narrowly approximate since each one assigns a shape of operational closure to the systems. The operational closure returns to the capacity of a system to be distinguished from its environment in order to build an internal complexity through mechanisms of circular causality and recursive reactions. Developed at the origin in the autopoietic theory of Humberto Maturana and Francisco Varela like a function of the autopoietic systems, the concept of operational closure has major philosophical origins. It however was not the subject of an intellectual history. This paper develops such a history by locating the origin of the concept within the Kantian and idealistic German philosophy, in particular in the ontology of G.W.F. Hegel, and on his wake, in the constructivists epistemologies of the XXe century. After having established the conceptual debt that the fields of the systems have with Hegelian ontology, this article examines the common philosophical problems that the concept of operational closure use to solve in the contemporary accounts of the systems, and affirms the epistemological importance of this concept in these fields. ”. We are very grateful to him, the more so as his philosophical approach shows ontologies, the cognitive and autopoietic systems in-depth, that it is about the contribution of the systemicians, of Maturana and Varela, Deleuze and Guattari or with the concept of `sublation’ of Luhman, always reported to the philosophy of Hegel and the impact of the operational closure in a perpetual transitory society. How the systems are built and are brought up to date? Which are the epistemological consequences of this autopoïesis? Which are its human and societal repercussions in terms of recursivity, semantics and phenomenology? Robert Drury King answers in detail all these questions by locating their Kantian origin and by opening new prospects with the history of the system theory and constructivists epistemologies. He also introduces, in particular with the insufficiently known work of Luhman, a true philosophical thought of the `cybernetics’ which on the matter gives a second breath to the contemporary fields of investigations.


Auguste NSONSISSA is professor of philosophy at the University Marien Ngouabi of Congo-Brazzaville, assistant at the Social science and Faculty of Arts (speciality: Logic and Epistemology). He is also member and executive secretary assisting the President of the Congolese Company of Philosophy (SOPHIA). He recently published “Epistemological transdisciplinarity and transversality at Edgar Morin” (Harmattan, 2010), hardworking himself to decipher the message of complexity there. He develops for PLASTIR the role of scientific objectivity and of intersubjectivity in the work of Edgar Morin while taking as background the paramount role of decision making for the individual, the knowing subject, but also history of sciences. Auguste Nsonsissa thus poses once again the thorny question of the reality of any scientific objectivity, of its truth, and he answers it through the vision of Morin who integrates the observed in the observation, in other words is not concealed, but forms integral part of the process of discovery. The researcher is necessarily registered in this play between objectivity and subjectivity. He should not seek to avoid it or to minimize it but on the contrary to let himself carry by its duality. And the author to show with force, on the one hand that the rejection of subjectivity is an error, and on the other hand that it is the subject who in last spring transcends his analytical share to give the message which seems to him closest to the reality of the facts. To show it, he is pressed on the main goals given by Edgar Morin in “The Method”, in particular “The life of the life” and “The knowledge of knowledge”, examining the logic of the decision point by point, which slows down it and what opens out it, which is its obsessional share and its compulsive share, how the researcher, who is only a man, can be withdrawn or relativize from it, how can he manages the essential complexity of any discovery, his unconscious share and sometimes his motricity towards and against any logic? To answer it, Auguste Nsonsissa reviews the Kuhnian paradigm and the logical positivism of Popper, and the impact which they showed on decision making in the history of sciences and societies. Empiric theories or rationalizing science are legions on the matter. Dialogues of the deaf also. However, that does not prevent the blossoming of the great scientific revolutions because their range is incommensurable and often exceeds the man who tries to project himself in the worlds with conceivable and sometimes strange sorrows that one proposes to him. And it is well him, this `poor man’ who is in the centre of these quantum or “super cord” worlds. It is well him who is reintroduced as a knowing subject within moving knowledge. “This principle operates the restoration of the subject, and desoccult the central cognitive problems; perception with the scientific theory, any knowledge is a rebuilding and a translation by a spirit whose brain does not disregard culture. It is a principle which criticizes specialization. This one abstracts, i.e. extracted an object from its context and sound together, rejects of them the bonds and intercommunications with its medium. This principle is at the antipodes of disciplines which arbitrarily break the “systemicity”, that which admits the relation between the whole and the part. He reconsiders the step which leads to the mathematical abstraction which operates itself a scission with the concrete one by privileging all that is calculable and formalisable. ” dixit the author. Undoubtedly it is necessary, following the example of Morin to combine an externalist epistemology with an internalist epistemology, to set a teleobjective principle, it means where the scientific theories are at the same time objective and projective, to try to solve these problems? Perhaps is it also necessary to consider a new time the role of the observer and also that of the interobjectivity and not only of the intersubjectivity, in any objective knowledge, which brings back for us to ‘the criticism of pure reason’ of Kant? The author thus recommends a meta-epistemological approach and transdisciplinary approach of the knowing subject, the intersubjectivity as basis of objectivity in science being discussed and the subject being of too complex and plural nature in his behaviours and decisions. According to Edgar Morin rather than Popper, he advises us to adopt “[…] a trans-subjective step not excluding […]right to subjectivity” and never to make the economy of the subject.


Nicolas BRUNELLE is polytechnician, specialized in biophysics and musician. In order to join his two passions, he will very early turn to the study of the crossed links between science – mathematics in particular – and the music, topic developed on the traces of Xenakis in a report presented to the University Paris VIII in 2005. It is this study, extending from ancient times to modernity, with in particular creations of modern music of the IRCAM or the MIT which we chose to present here. The readers will be able to refer to the preceding paper of the author published in PLASTIR n°19 which shows how science and music do not oppose rational brain and emotional brain. He crosses a new step here by proving the proximity of the two languages: mathematics and music, their junction points or `rapports’ updated as soon as during Antiquity by the Pythagorician school (intervals, harmonics, fifths…), promoted in the XVe and VIe centuries by geniuses like Stradivari or Leonard de Vinci and ever contradicted since. That being known, Nicolas brunelle puts a flat on the shape of this rising curve, sometimes radiant but often rationalizing the Renaissance with ‘les Lumières’. Thus, the tempo introduced by Bach and Mozart, rationalizing, `anthropomorphising’ music at the rhythm of the beats of the human heart. Thus, points of rupture and the desalliance being done at the XIXe century between musical lyricism, the passion and positivism moving. Confrontations still of topicality and transcended in regenerating new approaches such those of the school of Vienna, then of the modern music. And there, Nicolas Brunelle sees in Freud on the one hand and in Xenakis, in the other hand, the ‘great fomenters’, those who link science and Art. “Consequently, Mathematics and Music and especially Science and Music become two similar languages, because both are then almost irrational, even artistic. The borders between Art and Science are nothing any more but negligible [.] ”. The psychoanalysis first of all: it holds place for the author of redemption: the inexhaustible voluntarism of the scientists wanting all to explain (the that) exploding in the super-ego of the kneaded men of flesh and vibratos, the unconscious collective of humanity. The acoustic and contemporary music then, it incarnates a turning of the XXe, the passage from the continuous to the discontinuous with the impact of the quantum physics discovery, the tonal one with the atonal in the serial music of Shoenberg, of the succesfull going beyond of the combinative between chance and need, between complementarity and inseparability in the work of Xenakis, at the same time mathematician and musician. Subjectivity, intuition, science, creativity do not present thus any more pseudo insuperable borders set up by the society, they are naturally combined at the time of artificial intelligence and communication in real-time. And NB to quote contemporary researchers like J-C Risset who perpetuates this approach without making an incredible race towards modernity, without denying the irrational or the spiritual parts who exist in man. Our century seems thus, due to the crisis of the XIXe, make a success of alliance between the emotional one and the rational one, the subjective and the objective, here where in the past these two tendencies tore themselves. These projections continue today with the MIT and the IRCAM, while the world is again in crisis and more than ever in search of a lost spirituality. Isn’t the music “the reflection of the necessary opening of the Western civilization, which, like Science, is in front of its contradictions? Modern physics sees an exit and a unification in the Theory of Supercords: one does not return from there at the origins with the theory of the cords of Pythagore, for better advancing? ” the author as an opening will conclude. Let us let this song impress us.


Mariana THIERIOT LOISEL is not any more to present for the readers of PLASTIR. Canadian philosopher of Brazilian origin, she regularly gives us early product of her thinkings and philosophical theses. We in particular published the integrality of her post-doctorate on the study of the human mutationss in the n° 14,16 & 17 of PLASTIR. She approaches here the field of sciences of education, of the learning societies and develops, in echo with the supported teaching approach of Professor Philippe Meirieu. However, Mariana is not satisfied to theorize or brush the idyllic portrait of a rich society. She makes us share of her experiment in underprivileged populations of North East of Brazil, of their ceaseless desire to learn until exhaustion, of this thirst for knowledge which comes from the deepest of the self, which crosses it and exceeds it insofar as it calls with a transformation of the society itself, of his relation with the world. What echoes poverty growing in Occident and its corollary of inequalities, which generates also the crises and changes that we know, the desocialization. Indeed, even if the problems are not of the same order in Europe or in the USA, this desocialization, this deculturation grows. Many are social or school failures. Many are the ‘SDF’, meaning rise of paradoxical poverty in many countries of rich. Thus, the author to question herself in connection with education in the favelas: “However, vis-a-vis the sociologists and with the concept of reproduction of the elites, Meirieu is questioned: “Why would they suppose that no Master, never, will try to break the play? ” But the play which it is a question of breaking is that of the reproduction of the parental history and the position of the family in the social hierarchy [..]…” Problem worsened by the illiteracy of part of ascending often solved thanks to the devotion of the teachers and completely applicable to many regions all over the world, India, Africa and all the countries where exclusion prevails. This being posed, it is the contents of educational, democratic and or “evaluative” systems which passed to the magnifying glass and subjected to the Freudian analysis and especially with the experiment of the neutrality of Barthes or to the acting communication of Habermas. “What seems difficult, what “does not go” in the context of social exclusion it is the existence of this world “builds jointly” and a fortiori concordant criteria of evaluations which make it possible to define good standards “for all”. In the case of poverty and great poverty one with the experiment of plural worlds which are juxtaposed with those of the middle-class and to the dominant classes without touching itself: one besides moreover will refer to cultural “diversity”, without will solve the problem, i.e. to make an effort of reflexion located for even how starting from very different realities, one can get along on the construction of common values which will guide our actions morals in the company in order to reduce these situations of exclusion. To abdicate construction of a world of common values to which to refer is equivalent abdicating the possibility of the resolution of the conflicts”, dixit MTL. In fact, these common values are to be sought in an open philosophical approach which would take into account the evaluation, the training and the installation of a thinking at the scaleof all training societies and permanent dialogue. A Transdisciplinary approach, a “to learn how to be” approach, a true ecology of the spirit if one refers to Meirieu and Guattari, in other words as concludes Mariana Thieriot, the introduction of a “dialogue between the action and the reaction, the need for installing time for the philosophical exercise of the thought on the values and the rights and the duties of the ones and others, on the direction of the food together… […] ”, on the free condition “of exerting its human plasticity, its genius, its talent, by what it gives itself the means, because it finds the conditions of possibility environmental and philosophical of working with its spirit”.

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