Epistemology LO12982

Luis Moreno (lmoreno@expsys.com)
Sat, 22 Mar 1997 21:49:37 -0500

Dear colleagues of LO,

I have been a silent participant in the various discussions that have
taken place over the last three months, since I joined the list. While
there are many topics I would want to address, epistemology is a topic
that is very dear to my heart and my mind.

In this regard, I appreciate very much the effort by Richard and others to
share notes and make comments around Maturana seminar. Since I value
their contribution, and that of Maturana, I'm going to share with you some
thoughts on the subject using Maturana as a point of reference.

Professor Maturana offers an important framework for the analysis of many
of the issues we are concerned with. But as it has been said, his
framework is one of the natural sciences. It is the same type of
framework that has dominated some views in politics, sociology, economics,
psychology, and even philosophy. It is a framework that provides
methodologies, results and images to understand challenges.

The "natural sciences" framework is critical because there are phenomena
akin to it and because there is part of our cognitive structure akin to
that phenomena. But there are least two other frameworks of equal value,
the mathematical, and the sciences of common sense frameworks. The three
of them combined provide a rich "knowledge" base for us interested in
organizational learning issues to operate from.

So, while I believe Maturana's work might be of value for some of us to
understand on of these three frameworks, I hope we don't become
reductionist in our views. As a matter of fact, the issues he is
addressing have been dealt with by many people through the history of
humankind, even within the last 40 years at different levels of depth.

Let me attempt to extend this proposition of the three frameworks of
analysis to the work some of us could be associated with. I suspect that
as one approaches an organization it is conceivable to ask the question,
what are the events in this organization that speak of the precise nature
of human knowledge that are working well in this organization? What are
those that do not work and why? This relates to the mathematical

Secondly, what are those events in this organization that speak of the
dynamic component of human knowledge that are working well in the
organization? And what are those that do not? Here one could put to
practice many of the teachings of Maturana, and others in the field of
natural sciences. Once again, Richard and others have been very kind to
provide us with some of the appropriate insights.

Thirdly, and one that is very tricky, what are those events in this
organization that speak of the disturbance component of human knowledge
that are working well in the organization? And what are those that do
not? This has been the kingdom of many social scientists. This would the
the "sciences of common sense" framework, and the one that those of us
with LO interest should explore in some detail. And I suggest to study
both mainstreams and secondary literatures. Doing this may help us and
our clients, because will prevent us from pedestrian views and simplistic
solutions. Simplistic views may lead us at times to hang up our hat by
trendy views in the believe that they are substantial.

Hope my comments add to the ongoing discussion. I realize the issues I
referred to are elementary and superficially addressed, but this could be
a beginning.


Luis C. Moreno
Expert Systems Resources Inc.
54 Shorting Road
Scarborough, Ontario, Canada
M1S 3S3
e-mail: lmoreno@expsys.com
Tel: (416) 299-7017 in Scarborough
Tel: (905) 608-0173 in Mississauga
Fax: (416) 291-2059 in Scarborough
Fax: (905) 607-6383 in Mississauga


Luis Moreno <lmoreno@expsys.com>

Learning-org -- An Internet Dialog on Learning Organizations For info: <rkarash@karash.com> -or- <http://world.std.com/~lo/>