STUDENT NO: 45029997
CRITICALLY COMPARE THE EPISTEMOLOGIES GOVERNING THE FIRST AND SECOND ORDER CYBERNETIC APPROACHES IN TERMS OF THE FOLLOWING
HOW IS REALITY SEEN BY EACH SPECIFIC APPROACH?
Before we attempt to describe the similarities and differences around these two approaches view reality, we take a look into what the word “reality” actually means. Reality is defined as a real existence or actual being as apposed to imaginary, idealised or being false. It is something that actually happens in real life and is comparable with facts. The information chosen for this definition were Oxford and Encarta. From this one could deduce that reality is indeed something which could be observed; something which could be quantified in a finite manner. The definition evokes the idea of reality being something that anyone at a given point in time could notice as well as that what is noticed is now some type of actuality or fact.
Another way of looking at reality is to see it as referring to all which forms an integral part of what an individual believes to be real. Here we see that the idea of objectivity is replaced with the notion of personal objectivity or more in a sence of subjectivity. Perceptions and beliefs relate to an individual and from this the idea of reality becomes a reality of personal beliefs.
FIRST AND SECOND ORDER CYBERNETICS
The definition of reality we have is somewhat of an opposing view of what it could be. This difference is similar to how first and second order cybernetics would define reality. From a first order cybernetic perspective one could ask what reality really is. This question would not be in line with a second order approach in that the question gives rise to the idea of there being a single construct or value for reality. A truth that is discoverable and obtainable that can then be used as an example that can possibly be put onto a stand for people to view it. The whole idea of a finite truth and there being a real world that can be known with objective certainty is contrary to a second order perspective.
THE CHALLENGE FROM SECOND ORDER CYBERNETICS
Maturana challenged the way we assume to perceive reality. His findings conclude that there would be no way to be certain of what we think we see is actually there. Maturana speaks of structural coupling which according to Hoffman (1985) is similar to jumping with a skipping rope with closed eyes. She says that it is as if we never actually “obtain” or “touch” the stimulus but rather we generate trajectories that are invisible to us as they are mutually constrained whose connections show up on our panel. Reality is seen as a social construct. Our ideas regarding the world are observer-dependant and not matched by the events and objects that are out there (Boscolo et al, 1987).
REALITY AS A MULTIVERSE
Perception is a process of construction, that is, we invent the environment in which we find our self as we perceive or construct it. (Becvar & Becvar, 2009). Each person is seen as being able to create their own reality and that each person whould have a different reality from the next person based on their own unique experiences, genetics assumptions and perceptions. Each person and their reality is both personally true and valid. The idea of one single universe is not in agreement with the second order cybernetics, rather, persons live in a multiverse of many equally valid observer-dependent realities that has no place for objectivity and not even subjectivity (Becvar& Becvar, 2009).
THE OBSERVER AND REALITY
From a first order epistemology, the therapist will perceive reality as something that one can discover through the process of observation without it being influenced by this process. The therapist can discover and treat the problems from an outside perspective in order to initiate the change. Second order cybernetics sees the observer as...
References: Anderson,H., & Ghoolishian, H. (1992). The client is the expert: A not-knowing approach to therapy. In McName, S., & Gergen K.J. (Eds.) Therapy as social construction London: Sage.
Becvar D.S. & Becvar, R.J. ( 2009). Family therapy: A systemic integration. Boston: Allyn & Bacon.
Boscolo, L., Cecchin, G., Hoffman, L. & Penn P (1987). Milan systemic family therapy: Conversations in theory and practice. New York: Basic Books
Hoffman,L. (1985). Beyond Power and control: Towards a second order family ststems therapy. Family systems Medicine, 3, 381-396.
Hoffman, L. (1992). A reflexive stance for family therapy. In McNamee, S., and Gergen, K.J (Eds), Therapy as a social construction (pg 7-24). London: Sage
Minuchin,S. (1974). Families and family therapies. London: Tavistock.
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