Fruits of Gregory Bateson’s epistemological crisis: embodied mind-making and interactive experience in research and professional praxis

Russell, David and Ison, Ray (2017). Fruits of Gregory Bateson’s epistemological crisis: embodied mind-making and interactive experience in research and professional praxis. Canadian Journal of Communication, 42(3) pp. 485–514.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.22230/cjc.2017v42n3a3194

Abstract

Background: The espoused rationale for this special issue, situated “at the margins of cybernetics,” was to revisit and extend the common genealogy of cybernetics and communication studies. Two possible topics garnered our attention: 1) the history of intellectual adventurers whose work has appropriated cybernetic concepts; and 2) the remediation of cybernetic metaphors.
Analysis: A heuristic for engaging in first- and second-order R&D praxis, the design of which was informed by co-research with pastoralists (1989–1993) and the authors’ engagements with the scholarship of Bateson and Maturana, was employed and adapted as a reflexive in-quiry framework.
Conclusion and implications: This inquiry challenges the mainstream desire for change and the belief in getting the communication right in order to achieve change. The authors argue this view is based on an epistemological error that continues to produce the very problems it intends to diminish, and thus we live a fundamental error in epistemology, false ontology, and misplaced practice. The authors offer instead conceptual and praxis possibilities for triggering new co-evolutionary trajectories.

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