Volume 2 · Number 2-3 · Pages 146
Ernst von Glasersfeld’s Limerick

Stuart A. Umpleby

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First paragraph: In the 1980s I went through a phase of writing limericks during idle moments when I lacked something to read. The result was a set of 27 limericks about cybernetics (Umpleby 1992). I occasionally use the limericks in class to restate a theoretical point. Limericks bring a smile and demonstrate that cybernetics can be approached in a variety of ways. Below are three limericks from this collection. The last was written by Ernst von Glasersfeld. It seems Ernst believed that I was overly concerned with “reality” as opposed to perception, or at least that I had not captured the point that he was trying to make.

Key words: Ernst von Glasersfeld


Umpleby S. A. (2007) Ernst von Glasersfeld’s limerick. Constructivist Foundations 2(2-3): 146. http://constructivist.info/2/2-3/146

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Glasersfeld E. von (1974) Piaget and the radical constructivist epistemology. In: Smock C. D. & Glasersfeld E. von (eds.) Epistemology and education. Follow Through Publications: Athens, GA: 1–24. Reprinted in: Glasersfeld E. von (1987) The construction of knowledge. Contributions to conceptual semantics. Intersystems Publications: Salinas CA. http://www.vonglasersfeld.com/034
Lettvin J. Y., Maturana H. R., McCulloch W. S. & Pitts W. H. (1959) What the frog’s eye tells the frog’s brain. Proceedings of the Institute of Radio Engineers 47: 1940–1951. Reprinted in: McCulloch W. S. (ed.) (1965) Embodiments of Mind. MIT Press, Cambridge. ▸︎ Google︎ Scholar
Umpleby S. A. (1992) Limericks about Cybernetics. Cybernetics and Systems 23(2): 229–239. ▸︎ Google︎ Scholar

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