Volume 13 · Number 1 · Pages 18–21
Monologic versus Dialogic Distinctions of Selves

Klaus Krippendorff

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Open peer commentary on the article “Mathematical Work of Francisco Varela” by Louis H. Kauffman. Upshot: This commentary contrasts the monologic accounts of self-reference pursued in Kauffman’s target article with natural language notions of referring to one’s self, drawing distinctions, and constructing identities collaboratively. It suggests that mathematical calculi, which assume the perspective of observers, are fundamentally incapable of accounting for how the selves of interactively involved participants in social systems come to be. It questions the claim that a mathematical notion of “self” can shed light on the being of humans and argues for dialogical distinctions of identities. Finally, it suggests that publishing and enacting monological conceptions of selves can have undesirable social consequences.


Krippendorff K. (2017) Monologic versus dialogic distinctions of selves. Constructivist Foundations 13(1): 18–21. http://constructivist.info/13/1/018

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