Self-Reference as a Problem in the Control of Complex Systems

Erik Hollnagel, Morten Lind

    Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearch


    Argues that it is necessary that control systems for complex processes be self-referencing. A system is described as self-referencing when it uses a model of itself as a basis for communication and interaction with other systems, and it is suggested that human–machine systems should be looked upon as cognitive systems. A distinction is made between 2 types of self-reflectivity: (1) outer-oriented reflectivity, which uses knowledge about the self and reactions from other systems as a basis for relevant adjustments; and (2) inner-oriented reflectivity, which the system realizes it already possesses. Both philosophers and psychologists are encouraged to cooperate in the study of this issue, which touches on the analysis of induction concerning reflectivity both in human beings and in data processing systems.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalPsyke and Logos
    Pages (from-to)323-332
    Publication statusPublished - 1982


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