On 26 January 4 pm, our research fellow Sascha Freyberg will give a talk at the online seminar Life-Philosophies organized by Giuseppe Bianco (Ghent University), Gertrudis Van Vijver (Ghent University), Charles T. Wolfe (University of Toulouse Jean-Jaurès).
From Gestalt to System Theory: The Morphological Legacy in Organicism and Cybernetics
The talk will provide historical as well as conceptual reflections on the problem of holism in theories of life, organism, system, and networks. The aim is not only to draw a line between seemingly disparate fields by way of a theoretical genealogy (Begriffsgeschichte), but to point out a common problem in a way they model and conceptualize their objects.The claim is that the transversal conceptual problem common to all of these theories can be identified by way of the distinction between concepts of substance and concepts of functions. This distinction famously introduced to the philosophy of science by Ernst Cassirer over 110 years ago, can still provide insight into basic problems of theories that try to capture their objects in terms of relations. As a historical example, I will follow the legacies of the morphological tradition since Goethe, because this genealogy directly relates fields from biology to cybernetics and is concerned with their major questions from the beginning: the emergence, structure, and transformation of forms or patterns. All these theories can be analyzed according to the way they answer these questions in terms of more substantive or more functional models.
To register write an email to Giuseppe Bianco: giuseppe.bianco (at) ugent.be