Technology for enabling : the implications for management science of a hermeneutics of distinction

  • Roger Harnden

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


One way of describing this thesis, is to state that it attempts to explicate the context within which an application of Stafford Beer's Viable System Model (VSM) makes cybernetic sense. The thesis will attempt to explain how such a context is presently not clearly ennunciated, and why such a lack hinders communications of the model together with its consequent effective take-up by the student or practitioner. The epistemological grounding of the VSM will be described as concerning the ontology of the individuals who apply it and give witness to its application. In describing a particular grounding for the Viable System Model, I am instantiating a methodology which I call a `hermeneutics of distinction'. The final two chapters explicate such a methodology, and consider the implications for the design of a computer system. This thesis is grounded in contemporary insights into the nervous system, and research into the biology of language and cognition. Its conclusions emerge from a synthesis of the twin discourses of Stafford Beer and Humberto Maturana.
Date of Award1989
Original languageEnglish


  • management science
  • hermeneutics
  • distinction

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