Ernst von Glasersfeld

(1917-2010), He was a German journalist, translator, philosopher and cybernetician

(1917-2010), He was a German journalist, translator, philosopher and cybernetician, who lived in Ireland, Italy and the United States. He worked extensively with Silvio Ceccato on cybernetics, then on artificial intelligence and monkey learning following a Piagetian frame. A scholar of human-animal communication and of the mechanical translation of language, he developed a model of knowledge known as radical constructivism, according to which ontology must be renounced, since there is no true and objective representation of an already existing world “in itself”.

Umberta Telfener: He was passing through Roma and called me to have lunch together. We met at the Etruscan museum of Villa Giulia, his favorite spot. I brought with me my son of approximately 24 months and Ernst started playing with him, experimenting my son’s understanding through the Piagetian categories. We were near a fountain and the two of them were soaking and making leaves float, throwing heavy little stones and playing with the face image that reflected in the water. I still remember my pride as a mother, hoping that my child would pass his “test”; I still remember the attitude of Ernst, always a little detached and at the same time warm and reassuring, ironic and curious. We then entered the museum and he told me the story of the Etruscans his way, the story of a soul population who had much knowledge and was conquered by Romans who were more consumerist and forceful. 

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