Churchman and Maturana – Enriching the Notion of Self-Organization for Social Design


West Churchman and Humberto Maturana share similar cultural traditions involving frustrations with applying conventional systematic methods in domains of social systems design (Churchman) and neurobiology (Maturana). They have independently of each other developed a rich systemic framework of analysis based on a constructivist epistemology.  But there appears to have been little correspondence between the two traditions.  This paper explores six possible areas of congruence between Churchman’s critical systemic perspective and Maturana’s autopoiesis.  This initial sketch reveals possible ways-forward in applying ideas of autopoiesis to our social world through a more constructive and adaptive conversation with the works of Churchman.


About Giorgio Bertini

Research Professor. Founder Director at Learning Change Project - Research on society, culture, art, neuroscience, cognition, critical thinking, intelligence, creativity, autopoiesis, self-organization, rhizomes, complexity, systems, networks, leadership, sustainability, thinkers, futures ++
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