Problems of Form

Problems of Form

by Dirk Baecker
     
 

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Sociology has long sought to find out how acting in a situation and observing that situation may differ and nevertheless belong to a single kind of social operation. George Spencer-Brown's Laws of Form (1969) provides one way to conceive of such an operation. The present book is the first to make sociological use of his mathematical calculus of form, which has been… See more details below

Overview

Sociology has long sought to find out how acting in a situation and observing that situation may differ and nevertheless belong to a single kind of social operation. George Spencer-Brown's Laws of Form (1969) provides one way to conceive of such an operation. The present book is the first to make sociological use of his mathematical calculus of form, which has been extensively applied to cybernetics, systems theory, cognitive science, and mathematics.. "Spencer-Brown's theory states that any action or communication is always an operation that makes a distinction. Not only does this operation take place, but it can be observed as indicating what it is interested in, and as leaving unmarked what it is not. Distinctions thereby entail a logic of inclusion and exclusion that is subject to social debate and conflict. In social situations there is no action that does not at the same time execute, maintain, or cross a distinction.. "Thus the observer is part of the situation he or she observes. The essays in this volume use this idea to describe different social "forms" as consisting of action observed by further action.

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Editorial Reviews

Booknews
Editor Baecker (sociology and management, Witten/Herdecke U., Germany) provides an extended introduction to this collection of 12 essays (most by German sociologists, a few from other fields or countries), which share as a theme the analytical approach proposed by George Spencer-Brown in his 1969 . Spencer-Brown's mathematical calculus of form has not been applied previously to sociology, although it has been applied to cybernetics, systems theory, cognitive science, and mathematics. Among the topics addressed: self-reference in literature, sign, logic, language, early money, the university, protest in the new social movements, and illness. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780804734233
Publisher:
Stanford University Press
Publication date:
08/01/1999
Series:
Writing Science Series
Edition description:
1
Pages:
260
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.90(d)

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