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Claus Pias (ed.): Cybernetics

Claus Pias (ed.)

Cybernetics
The Macy Conferences 1946–1953. The Complete Transactions

With a foreword by Claus Pias

Softcover, 736 pages

PDF, 736 pages

The biggest bite out of the fruit of Knowledge

Between 1946 and 1953 ten conferences under the heading "Cybernetics. Circular, Causal, and Feedback Mechanisms in Biological and Social Systems" were held. Sponsored by Josiah Macy Jr., the so-called Macy Conferences mark perhaps the most important event in the history of science after WW II. Using new terms such as "information", "feedback", and "analogical/digital" as starting point, the participants tried to develop a universal theory of regulation and control, that would be applicable to living beings as well as to machines, to economic as well as to mental processes, and to sociological as well as to aesthetical phenomena. These concepts permeate thinking in such diverse fields as biology, neurology, sociology, language studies, computer science, and even psychoanalysis, ecology, politics, and economy. They marked the epoch-making changes from thermodynamics to cybernetics (Wiener), from the disciplinary to control society (Deleuze), and from the industrial to information society (Lyotard).

The Macy Conferences are of special historical/scientific value since they do not deal with completed texts yet, but rather with interdisciplinary negotiations about an emerging epistemology. This edition contains the complete transcription and protocols of all Macy Conference contributions.

Content
  • Cybernetics
  • computational sciences
  • computer science
  • media studies
  • regulation
  • history of knowledge
  • media theory
  • theory construction
  • history of technology
  • mathematics
  • sociology
  • epistemology
  • history of science
  • historic documents

“The result of this breathtaking enterprise was nothing less than a new way of looking at human beings.” — N. Katherine Hayles: How We Became Posthuman

My language
English

Selected content
English, French

Claus Pias

is Professor for History and Epistemology of Media at the Institute for Culture and Aesthetics of Digital Media (ICAM) at Leuphana University Lueneburg, where he is also director of the Institute for Advanced Study in Media Cultures of Computer Simulation (MECS), the Centre for Digital Cultures (CDC) and the Digital Cultures Research Lab (DCRL). Main areas of interest are the media history and epistemology of computer simulations, the history of media studies, and the history and epistemology of cybernetics.
Other texts by Claus Pias for DIAPHANES
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