On the partiality of self-reference

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It is argued that all forms of self-reference or autonomy are linguistic
phenomena (under a general complementaristic conception of language). Autonomies do not naturally occur in non linguistic domains, like classical physics with its mechanistic modellings. However, in quantum physics, where language is beginning to enter the physical domain, as exemplified in Bohr´s notion of complementarity, self-referential phenomena are recognized. And in biology, with its genetic language and higher cerebral languages, self-reference problems abound, from self-reproduction to innospection.
It is argued in terms of the linguistic complementarity, which obtains for all forms of language, that every consistent form of self-reference must be panial. Attempts at objectifying this partiality are made, in particular with the aid of two forms of the recursion theorem. Levels of partiality are discussed in terms of autology and autolinguistics. In particular, partialities of self-referential sentences such as those of Gödel, Rosser and Henkin are discussed. Viral self-reproduclion in bacteria is seen as a
natural level of partiality in epigenesis. Phenomena of self-repair are referred to, and it is suggested that the level of partiality of DNA self-repair, which has been observed in genetics, does illuminate a basic difference, with respect to self-reference. between on the one hand genetic language, and on the other, "planning language" (natural language, formal language, programming language).


  • Lars Löfgren
Enheter & grupper

Ämnesklassifikation (UKÄ) – OBLIGATORISK

  • Elektroteknik och elektronik
Titel på värdpublikationSelf-steering and cognition in complex systems : toward a new cybernetics
RedaktörerF. Heylighen, E. Rosseel, F. Demeyere
FörlagGordon and Breach Science Publishers
ISBN (tryckt)2-88124-729-6
StatusPublished - 1990
Peer review utfördNej