Volume 8 · Number 1 · Pages 1–4
Niklas Luhmann and the Sociological Turn in Constructivism

Alexander Riegler & Armin Scholl

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Context: Niklas Luhmann is considered to be a major proponent of the constructivist movement who based his highly complex sociological theory on constructivist concepts such as Maturana’s autopoiesis and Spencer Brown’s distinction. Problem: Despite heavily borrowing from constructivism, there are doubts as to whether his epistemological standpoint was properly constructivist. Method: In six papers and 14 Open Peer Commentaries, Luhmann’s epistemological understanding, understanding of science, and use and development of constructivist concepts is examined. Results: The authors’ papers and commentaries cover a broad range of topics including the concepts of the observer, meaning, environment, and structural coupling.

Key words: Luhmann, Maturana, Kant, observer, realism, autopoiesis, structural coupling, meaning, social system, epistemology


Riegler A. & Scholl A. (2012) Niklas luhmann and the sociological turn in constructivism. Constructivist Foundations 8(1): 1–4. http://constructivist.info/8/1/001

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Hornung B. (1999) Obituary: Niklas Luhmann. Bulletin of the International Sociological Association: 78–79. ▸︎ Google︎ Scholar
Luhmann N. (1995) Social systems. Stanford University Press, Stanford CA. German original published in 1984. ▸︎ Google︎ Scholar
Maturana H. R. & Varela F. J. (1980) Autopoiesis and cognition. Reidel, Dordrecht. ▸︎ Google︎ Scholar
Poerksen B. (2004) The certainty of uncertainty. Imprint Academic, Exter. German original was published in 2001. ▸︎ Google︎ Scholar

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