Austrian Society of Cognitive Science has devoted a web page for Heinz von Foerster.
"We seem to be brought up in a world seen through descriptions by others rather than through our own perceptions. This has the consequence that instead of using language as a tool with which to express thoughts and experience, we accept language as a tool that determines our thoughts and experience."
"At any moment we are free to act toward the future we desire."
"1. Education is neither a right or a privilige: it is a necessity. 2. Education is learning to ask legitimate questions. 3. A is better off when B is better off."
"The hard sciences are successful because they deal with the soft problems; the soft sciences are struggling because they deal with the hard problems."
"Objects and events are not primitive experiences. Objects and events are representations of relations."
"The information associated with a description depends on an observer's ability to draw inferences from this description. [...] chance and necessity are concepts that do not apply to the world, but to our attempts to create (a description) of it."
"I don't know where my expertise is; my expertise is no disciplines. I would recommend to drop disciplinarity wherever one can. Disciplines are an outgrowth of academia. In academia you appoint somebody and then in order to give him a name he must be a historian, a physicist, a chemist, a biologist, a biophysicist; he has to have a name. Here is a human being: Joe Smith -- he suddenly has a label around the neck: biophysicist. Now he has to live up to that label and push away everything that is not biophysics; otherwise people will doubt that he is a biophysicist. If he's talking to somebody about astronomy, they will say "I don't know, you are not talking about your area of competence, you're talking about astronomy, and there is the department of astronomy, those are the people over there," and things of that sort. Disciplines are an aftereffect of the institutional situation."
"... the reader should be aware that over the many years when he directed the Biological Computer Laboratory at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (1960-1975) Heinz was directly or indirectly a creative contributor to some key ideas that have stayed for good. Perhaps the most famous one is that the role of noise in a complex system might well lead to further organization, in a paradoxical effect Heinz dubbed the order-from-noise principle."
Pentti Määttänen pointed out a connection to John Dewey's pragmatist philosophy. Dewey's book "The Quest for Certainty. A Study of the Relation of Knowledge and Action" related to these themes will be published in Finnish soon (Pyrkimys varmuuteen, Gaudeamus).