Cybernetics & Cognitive Science

Threads of Cybernetics and Cognitive Science
A bit like the problem I had finding links from Kosko to the Fuzzy Logic “mainstream”, I’m finding difficulty cross linking several threads which claim to be the embracing the whole of cybernetics.

The Heylighen / Joslyn / Turchin axis under Principia Cybernetica (see links) does not seem to connect with the bibliography of Dupuy anywhere that I can find yet. (Though I find now that Joslyn includes a link to Kosko, so it’s not all bad news.)

Joslyn also inlcudes links to the Gordon Pask archive where the Guardian obituary by Paul Pangaro includes the line [ … Cybernetics was named in the 1940s as the discipline concerned with information, feedback, identity and purpose. These concerns were independent of whether the system in question was an animal or machine, individual or population ….]

Paine’s Age of Reason

Paine’s Age of Reason in 1794
[The most formidable weapon against errors of every kind is Reason …. My own mind is my own church ….. it is necessary to the happiness of man, that he be mentally faithful to himself …. infidelity consists in professing to believe what he does not believe.]

Hobbe’s Leviathan

Hobbes’ Leviathan
On organisational behaviour, natural language, and motivation in 1651.
There is absolutely nothing new under the sun.

Leviathan is Hobbes’ term for “commonwealth”, a self-organised “society” of humans acting as one “body” – ie an Organisation or almost literally a “Corporation” [ …. in which the sovereignty is an artificial soul, as giving life and motion to the whole body …..]

“Of speech” […. But the most noble and profitable invention of all other was that of speech, consisting of names or appellations, and their connexion; whereby men register their thoughts, recall them when they are past, and also declare them one to another for mutual utility and conversation; without which there had been amongst men neither ….. society, nor contract…]

“Of the interior beginnings of voluntary motions (commonly called passions) and the speeches by which they are expressed.” [There be in animals two sorts of motions peculiar to them: One called vital, …. to which motions there needs no help of imagination: the other is animal motion, otherwise called voluntary motion; as to go, to speak, to move any of our limbs, in such manner as is first fancied in our minds.]

Ahab’s Wife – Naslund / Spenser’s Una

Ahab’s Wife or The Star-Gazer by Sena Jeter Naslund
Pub Oct. 1999. 688p. illus. Morrow, $28 (0-688-17187-7).

Ahab’s wife, Una (nee Spencer), named by her mother after the personification of Truth in Spenser’s Faerie Queene, is so vividly portrayed that she seems more real than fictional in Naslund’s fanciful opus. (ref Booklist) “Captain Ahab was neither my first husband nor my last.” This is destined to be remembered as one of the most-recognized first sentences in literature – along with “Call me Ishmael.” Naslund has created an entirely new universe with a transcendent heroine at its center who will be every bit as memorable as Captain Ahab. (ref Reading Group Guides) The result is 668 pages of an interesting tale that focuses squarely on Una Spencer. The narrative traces the young woman?s childhood in Kentucky and her adolescence in Nantucket. Author Naslund has composed her book in a style that emulates Melville?s, with long scenes bearing a quiet dignity. Despite some interesting developments and the occasional appearance of the enigmatic Captain Ahab, Ahab?s Wife demands reading, but disappoints at the end, because it doesn?t seem to have a reason for having been written, other than as a lightweight piece of entertainment. (ref Unit101)

Fiction more real than “reality” – hold that thought (again).

[Post Note : the above was just copied off the page where I found the original reference. Since then, I have read and reviewed the book here, and had the conversation in the comments below.]

Renascence Editions
A (massive) Online Repository of Works Printed in English Between the Years 1477 and 1799
Francis Bacon (Advancement of Learning, et al)
George Berkeley (A Treatise Concerning the Principles of Human Knowledge)
Thomas Hobbes (Leviathan)
Joseph Hall (Charaters of Virtues and Vices)
David Hume (Enquiry Concerning the Human Understanding )
Samuel Johnson (The Vanitie of Human Wishes)
John Milton (Paradise Lost, Paradise Regained et al)
Thomas Paine (Age of Reason )
Adam Smith (The Wealth of Nations)
Edmund Spenser (The Faerie Queene),
Jonathan Swift (Gullivers Travels, complete)
Thomas Wilson (The Arte of Rhetorique)
and many more.

Pepperone Postcards – Fractal DOM

Semantic WebLog / Pepperone Postcards – Danny Ayers blogs.
RDF techie (must learn what RSS is / does)
but anyway some key tidbits, not least links to …

Orchard – “Data Manipulation Framework . Sounds familiar. Appears to be DOM grove based”.
See my Manifesto – Orchard, Grove, and Jorn’s Fractal Thicket.
Daniel Rivers-Moore had it right already with Grove-based DOM.

WIKI – Post-it Notes for the Web.

Dupuy’s History of Cognitive Sciences

Started – Mechanisation of the Mind – the History of Cognitive Sciences by Dupuy (See below)
Actually only read the 6-page preface so far and looking very promising. Not only do we encounter Poincare’s “dazzling intuitions” and self-organising systems in the first page – (the latter concept apparently pre-dating the intended scope of CogSci / Cybernetics from day#1 in 1976) – but we have a long quote from a Stanford lecture entitled “Beyond the Dualism between Cultured Ignorami and Hidebound Savants” in which he describes the schizophrenia …

between American Neo-Positivism
and French Post-Structuralism

between Hidebound Savants
and Cultured Ignorami (or Foggie Froggies)

between the philosophies of science, mathematics and logic
and the philosophies of the human and social “sciences”

between the analytic, rigorous, democratic, shallow and tedious
and the rich and meaningful on the other

between knowing everything about almost nothing
and knowing almost nothing about everything

between the need for formal models
and his nevertheless deeply held belief that ….
literature is a superior form of knowledge to science.

Wow, all this from a book on cybernetics. I can’t wait.
Must stop gathering and start organising threads of thought.

Bumped in to Michael and friend Gaylon in the Pick last night. Discover Gaylon taught ZAMM at Stanford (or was it Berkeley ?), but strangely didn’t know Lila. Must talk sometime, maybe next week.

Moby Dick turns out to be an excellent conversation piece with waiters, barmen and barflies, most seem to wish they’d read, or to be planning to read it. Few have, but everyone seems to have an opinion.

Need Meta-tagging capability in Blog (Klog) publishing.
Tools for meta-tag “library” selection / creation / management.
Then bingo, self-organising knowledge (well peer-organising anyway)

[Oh yeah, and half an hour ago, England lost to Brazil – life goes on.]