Cybernetics & Human Knowing - Thesaurus pilot project
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Language

Definition

A systematic way of arranging symbols, usually to express meaning.

A set of elements (pulses, gestures, signs, words, symbols, etc…) that can be combined through syntactical rules to form significant associations.

A combinatorial SYSTEM for arranging CHARACTERs into words and complex expressions subject to the CONSTRAINTs

of a syntax, a logic and a SEMANTICS

Relations:

closed System
coding
communication
consensual_domain
coupling
information
linguistic domain
languaging
sign
signification

 

Articles:

1997

Event and Body-mind. An Outline of a Post-postmodern Approach to Phenomenology / Ole Fogh Kirkeby. -  vol. 4. No 2/3

Definitions:

Principia Cybernetica
Encyclopedia Autopoietica
International Encyclopedia of Systems & Cybernetics

 

Principia Cybernetica (web)

A systematic way of arranging symbols, usually to express meaning. It may be a NATURAL LANGUAGE like Chinese, English or Swahili that humans use to communicate with one another, or a PROGRAMMING LANGUAGE in which programs are written for a computer. (Arbib)

A combinatorial SYSTEM for arranging CHARACTERs into words and complex expressions subject to the CONSTRAINTs of a syntax, a logic and a SEMANTICS. A syntax rules out some combinations of characters as ungrammatical and designates the others as legitimate linguistic expressions. A logic orders the legitimate expressions implicationally and informationally. A semantics relates these expressions to the larger system of which a language is a part thus constraining the expressions according to what is appropriate in the non-linguistic CONTEXT of a situation (the larger system). The combinatorial properties of a language are responsible for the chosen expressions to carry INFORMATION relative to the expressions possible in a given context. The sharing of facilities to generate linguistic expressions (see GENERATIVE) and the ability to make comparisons within the system of possible expression brings linguistic COMMUNICATION to a logical level higher than communication without language. (Krippendorff)

 

Encyclopedia Autopoietica

Maturana has concentrated on the subject of linguistic interaction more so than has Varela. This difference is significant enough that Varela (1989; also Varela, Thompson & Rosch, 1991, p. 7, Figure 1.1) categorize Maturana in terms of his linguistic leaning. The most concentrated and definitive analyses of linguistic interaction from an autopoietic perspective are therefore to be found in the writings of Maturana -- especially Maturana (1978).

At its most general level, Maturana characterizes natural language as "... the system of cooperative consensual interaction between organisms." (Maturana & Varela, 1980, p. 31) As such, language is reconsidered as connotative (as opposed to denotative), meaning that "... its function is to orient the orientee within his cognitive domain without regard for the cognitive domain of orienter." (Maturana & Varela, 1980, p. 32) The functional role of language, then, is "...the creation of a cooperative domain of interactions between speakers through the development of a common frame of reference, although each speaker acts exclusively within his cognitive domain..." (Maturana & Varela, 1980, p. 57) or "... the creation of a consensual domain of behavior between linguistically interacting systems through the development of a cooperative domain of interactions." (Maturana & Varela, 1980, p. 50)

Cf. languaging, connotation, cooperative domain of interactions, consensual domain, denotation, orientation

 

International Encyclopedia of Systems & Cybernetics

1. A set of elements (pulses, gestures, signs, words, symbols, etc…) that can be combined through syntactical rules to form significant associations.

2. The subset of all the possible meaningful combinations that can be formed from a set of signs.

3. A set of signs with more or less commonly admitted, or coded values that can be used for communication of messages between senders and receivers.

[…] In R. M. SNOW words: "Language cannot stand alone. It can only be understood in terms of a complex relationship with action" (1993, p. 146)

Moreover, any element becomes context dependent within the language, because it can be used in quite a number of different contexts and, just as an atom within a molecule, acquire a positional value.

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