The organized interactive behavior among a human group.
Human communication supposes not only the physical transmission of coded signals, but moreover the existence of a shared cultural and semantic code.
The neglect of this basic condition has been one of the main bones of contention opposing psychologists and social scientists to systemists. In the words of L. THAYER in 1972: "Many spokesmen for general systems theory do not address themselves to the phenomenon of human communication at all. Among those who do, many seem to assume that there are no theoretically significant differences between an electronic data system and a human communication system. This terminological confusion, both real and potential, is perhaps even more pervasive among those who identify themselves as human communication scholars or researchers" (1972, p.95-6).
The roots of this problem are to be found basically in what is now frequently called the 1st. Cybernetics, namely N. WIENER's works and SHANNON & WEAVER's "Theory of Communication" (many times erroneously referred to as a theory of information, which it is only in a marginal sense). In WIENER's case, feedback has been too many times understood as a control device of mechanistic character, translatable without much ado to psychology and psychosociology, as for example in B. SKINNER's works. SHANNON & WEAVER's quantitative mathematical theory of communication, considers semantic and symbolic aspects of communication only in the most fleeting way. Many of those who naively translated it to human communication obviously ignored G. PASK's, H.von FOERSTER's and D. Mac KAY's basic works, which led to Cybernetics of the 2d Order. Various other conceptual currents as for example autopoiesis and organizational closure, hypercycles and deterministic chaos are now contributing to put to rest the old purely mechanistic paradigm in psychosocial sciences. Unfortunately some scholars do not yet presently know about these new currents.
- 1) General information
- 2) Methodology or model
- 3) Epistemology, ontology and semantics
- 4) Human sciences
- 5) Discipline oriented
To cite this page, please use the following information:
Bertalanffy Center for the Study of Systems Science (2020). Title of the entry. In Charles François (Ed.), International Encyclopedia of Systems and Cybernetics (2). Retrieved from www.systemspedia.org/[full/url]
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