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A great reference


Roger
On 24 Feb 2008, at 14:12, Nick Green wrote:

> From a recent Ranulph Glanville (see below) posting to CYBCOM
>
> http://grace.evergreen.edu/%7Earunc/texts/readings.htm
>
> On that page are a number of papers and scanned books including  
> "Designing Freedom" and "Fanfare for Effective Freedom". Works by  
> von Foerster, Ashby, Maturana, Bateson and some classic papers from  
> Wiener (on Teleology), Shannon and Weaver. A bit of gold mine really.
>
>
> Best
> N.
> ----- Original Message ----- From: "Ranulph Glanville" <[log in to unmask] 
> >
> To: <[log in to unmask]>
> Sent: Saturday, February 23, 2008 11:52 PM
> Subject: Reading list and Studying Cybernetics
>
>
>> Someone was trying to access Arun Chandra's reading list. Here's a
>> url that gives access and requires no password:
>>
>> http://grace.evergreen.edu/%7Earunc/texts/readings.htm
>>
>> You can download individual papers, or packages that contain
>> collections.
>>
>> By the way, wouldn't it be helpful if, when a thread changes, we
>> changed the subject entry? Recent discussions of copyright are hardly
>> "Studying Cybernetics" and if we want to scan through messages to
>> find some content, having appropriate subjects is helpful. Just an  
>> idea.
>>
>> Ranulph
>>
>>
>>
>>
>> On 22 Feb 2008, at 19:57, Klaus Krippendorff wrote:
>>
>>> Randall is basically right. To republish individual articles  
>>> requires
>>> permissions of the copyright owner.  The problem is that it is
>>> difficult
>>> to find out who that is.  The author is only the last resort.  30
>>> years
>>> after publication the author can acquire the copyrights from the
>>> publisher (at no cost) but if s/he doesn't  request that, it stays
>>> with
>>> the publisher.
>>>
>>> The same applies to republishing a whole book.  If 30 years have
>>> elapsed
>>> since publication of roger conant's collection of ashby's papers he
>>> has
>>> to make an effort.  If he doesn't intersystems or its successor  
>>> keeps
>>> the copyrights.
>>>
>>> Because this can be very tedious, we used the copyright clearing  
>>> house
>>> (or center?) to do the work and then approach the publisher for a
>>> reduction of the costs.  It may well be that no publisher claims the
>>> copyright in which case it automatically reverts to the author.  I  
>>> had
>>> one case where the copyright agency found that out (for free).
>>>
>>> klaus
>>>
>>> -----Original Message-----
>>> From: Cybernetics Discussion Group [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On
>>> Behalf Of Kevin Kreitman
>>> Sent: Thursday, February 21, 2008 8:30 PM
>>> To: [log in to unmask]
>>> Subject: Re: Studying Cybernetics
>>>
>>> I'll take a shot at it...Let's talk.
>>> k
>>> On Feb 21, 2008, at 5:01 PM, Stuart Umpleby wrote:
>>>
>>>> Hi, Kevin, Yes, correct.  It might be one just needs to fashion a
>>>> persuasive letter requesting a lower rate.  That is where I got
>>>> stuck.
>>>> I was not sure what arguments to make.  "We are poor,"  didn't  
>>>> sound
>>>> quite right.  We need someone with a bit of hutzpah (sp?).  Best,
>>>> Stuart
>>>>
>>>> On 2/21/08, Kevin Kreitman <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>>>>> Hi Stuart--
>>>>>
>>>>> So, since Mechanisms of Intelligence was a collection of articles
>>>>> and
>>>>> papers, you were trying to get releases from each publisher of  
>>>>> each
>>>>> paper?  Actually, that opens another interesting possibility--
>>>>> reprinting the articles that we can get clearance for under a
>>>>> separate
>>>>> title.  And if there are one or two that are too expensive or
>>>>> difficult, we can just drop them, or supply a link/reference to  
>>>>> the
>>>>> source, who can make the articles available (or not) under their  
>>>>> own
>>>>> terms.  Is that about right?
>>>>> k
>>>>>
>>>>> On Feb 21, 2008, at 4:40 PM, Stuart Umpleby wrote:
>>>>>
>>>>>> Kevin,  Several years ago I was working on reprinting  
>>>>>> Mechanisms of
>>>>>> Intelligence through World Scientific in Singapore.  I was
>>>>>> gathering
>>>>>> permissions to reprint but hit a barrier with a very high charge
>>>>>> from
>>>>>> Nature.  I then went on sabbatical and have yet to return to the
>>>>>> task.
>>>>>> I would welcome someone continuing this effort.  An on-line  
>>>>>> version
>>>>>> would be ideal.  I do not know how an on-line permission differs
>>>>>> from
>>>>>> publication permission.  Best regards, Stuart
>>>>>>
>>>>>> On 2/20/08, Kevin Kreitman <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>>>>>>> Thanks. :-)  I can't find Mechanisms of Intelligence either,  
>>>>>>> but I
>>>>>>> have a copy of it from about 20 years ago.  At one point, when  
>>>>>>> An
>>>>>>> Introduction to Cybernetics was out of print and impossible to
>>>>>>> get, I
>>>>>>> contacted Ashby's estate and got permission to photocopy for my
>>>>>>> students.
>>>>>>>
>>>>>>> Don't know whether the copyright is held by Ashby's estate, or
>>>>>>> Roger
>>>>>>> Conant (whom I believe was the editor), but we might consider
>>>>>>> contacting the holder of the copyright to see if we might
>>>>>>> reproduce
>>>>>>> it
>>>>>>> electronically or make copies for academic use...
>>>>>>>
>>>>>>> k
>>>>>>>
>>>>>>> On Feb 20, 2008, at 2:25 PM, Joshua Madara wrote:
>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>> Hello, Kevin,
>>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>> I like your ECCO stuff; thank you for that.
>>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>> Re. your recommendations, I either own or have access to all of
>>>>>>>> those
>>>>>>>> books and articles except _Mechanisms of Intelligence_, which I
>>>>>>>> have
>>>>>>>> been
>>>>>>>> trying to acquire for some time now, with no joy. If anyone  
>>>>>>>> here
>>>>>>>> has
>>>>>>>> any
>>>>>>>> leads on an available copy, I would be most grateful.
>>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>> Best,
>>>>>>>> Joshua
>>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>>> Here is my contribution to those of you who might be  
>>>>>>>>> interested.
>>>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>>> When I teach, the way I trace the path from first-order
>>>>>>>>> cybernetics
>>>>>>>>> (the cybernetics of observed systems) to second-order
>>>>>>>>> cybernetics
>>>>>>>>> (the
>>>>>>>>> cybernetics of observing systems) is by starting with the
>>>>>>>>> work of
>>>>>>>>> McCullough and Pitts early work on the logical structure of
>>>>>>>>> neural
>>>>>>>>> nets in perception (and later the paper co-authored by  
>>>>>>>>> Humberto
>>>>>>>>> Maturana, then their student) on "What the Frog's Eye Tells  
>>>>>>>>> the
>>>>>>>>> Frog's
>>>>>>>>> Brain."  That is, in the visual cortex of the frog, the neural
>>>>>>>>> network
>>>>>>>>> functions as a "motion detector" or an "edge detector", and  
>>>>>>>>> that
>>>>>>>>> information is what is passed up the chain, neurologically
>>>>>>>>> speaking--
>>>>>>>>> not a "picture" of whatever the critter is looking at.
>>>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>>> Heinz von Foerster, the father of "second-order cybernetics"
>>>>>>>>> started
>>>>>>>>> looking at what was really happening in the brain that  
>>>>>>>>> resulted
>>>>>>>>> in
>>>>>>>>> things like what we call "memory" and published an early
>>>>>>>>> paper on
>>>>>>>>> "memory without record"--in answer to the question, how can we
>>>>>>>>> remember something (i.e. have the experience we call
>>>>>>>>> "remembering"
>>>>>>>>> unless the elements of the memory are somehow stored in
>>>>>>>>> particular
>>>>>>>>> locations (which they are not)?  And closely following that
>>>>>>>>> line of
>>>>>>>>> thought, how can we "know" some external world if all that  
>>>>>>>>> gets
>>>>>>>>> transmitted (or Maturana would say "triggered") are neural
>>>>>>>>> impulses
>>>>>>>>> of
>>>>>>>>> a fixed amplitude and variable frequency.  And how do we
>>>>>>>>> (biologically) construct our experience from these inputs-- 
>>>>>>>>> since
>>>>>>>>> what
>>>>>>>>> is biologically partially fixed and partially plastic is the
>>>>>>>>> neural
>>>>>>>>> connections that are either inhibitory or excitatory?
>>>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>>> I'm happy to share my list of papers/books you can use for
>>>>>>>>> reading to
>>>>>>>>> get the short version of the path from first order cybernetics
>>>>>>>>> into
>>>>>>>>> second-order cybernetics--then spun off by Maturana in some
>>>>>>>>> profound
>>>>>>>>> ways, which (last I heard) he doesn't quite regard as
>>>>>>>>> cybernetics.
>>>>>>>>> This is not an exhaustive list, or point of view--but it's the
>>>>>>>>> foundation that I've used as a basis for my journey in
>>>>>>>>> cybernetics
>>>>>>>>> and
>>>>>>>>> complex systems.
>>>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>>> The books I work from most in first-order cybernetics are W.
>>>>>>>>> Ross
>>>>>>>>> Ashby's:  Design for a Brain, An Introduction to Cybernetics.
>>>>>>>>> and
>>>>>>>>> Mechanisms of Intelligence.  I believe An Introduction to
>>>>>>>>> Cybernetics
>>>>>>>>> is available electronically here: http://pcp.lanl.gov/
>>>>>>>>> ASHBBOOK.html.
>>>>>>>>> Design for a Brain and Mechanisms of Intelligence are out of
>>>>>>>>> print,
>>>>>>>>> but also may be available used or thru Amazon.  Ashby is
>>>>>>>>> credited
>>>>>>>>> as
>>>>>>>>> one of the early thinkers in complex systems, and systems
>>>>>>>>> science
>>>>>>>>> as
>>>>>>>>> well...
>>>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>>> Modern Systems Research for the Behavioral Scientist, Walter
>>>>>>>>> Buckley,
>>>>>>>>> ed. Aldine Publishing Company, Chicago, copyright 1968.  ISBN:
>>>>>>>>> 0-202-30011-0
>>>>>>>>> It's out of print, but I've had luck getting copies from used
>>>>>>>>> bookstores, perhaps Powell's in Portland OR.    You could  
>>>>>>>>> start
>>>>>>>>> with
>>>>>>>>> Amazon.com...  The following articles in that volume may be of
>>>>>>>>> particular interest:
>>>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>>> Norbert Wiener:  Cybernetics in History
>>>>>>>>> McCullough and Pitts:   A Logical Calculus of the Ideas
>>>>>>>>> Immanent in
>>>>>>>>> Nervous Activity
>>>>>>>>> W. Ross Ashby:  Principles of the Self Organizing System;
>>>>>>>>> Regulation
>>>>>>>>> and Control;  and Variety, Constraint and the Law of Requisite
>>>>>>>>> Variety
>>>>>>>>> (excerpted from An Introduction to Cybernetics)
>>>>>>>>> Heinz von Foerster: From Stimulus to Symbol: The Economy of
>>>>>>>>> Biological
>>>>>>>>> Computation
>>>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>>> There are a number of other articles which may be of  
>>>>>>>>> interest as
>>>>>>>>> well
>>>>>>>>> from that volume, having to do with adaptation of biological
>>>>>>>>> systems,
>>>>>>>>> and an article by Garrett Hardin:  The Cyberetics of
>>>>>>>>> Competition: a
>>>>>>>>> Biologist's View of Society.
>>>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>>> Heinz von Foerster's work is best captured in his book
>>>>>>>>> "Understanding
>>>>>>>>> Understanding" which captures the fundamental biological and
>>>>>>>>> neurological foundations of second-order cybernetics from his
>>>>>>>>> work.
>>>>>>>>> This is still in print, I believe, and is a collection of his
>>>>>>>>> articles, published a few years ago.   Understanding
>>>>>>>>> Understanding:
>>>>>>>>> Essays on Cybernetics and Cognition, Heinz von Foerster,
>>>>>>>>> Springer-
>>>>>>>>> Verlag, New York, 2003.  ISBN 0-387-95392-2
>>>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>>> This is a wonderful book IMHO, and contains both technical and
>>>>>>>>> mathematical materials, and social interpretations.
>>>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>>> There is another book that Heinz and his students created in
>>>>>>>>> 1969,
>>>>>>>>> The
>>>>>>>>> Cybernetics of Cybernetics, which includes student work and
>>>>>>>>> illustrations, as well as a number of excellent and seminal
>>>>>>>>> articles
>>>>>>>>> about self-organization and second-order cybernetics.  It
>>>>>>>>> contains
>>>>>>>>> the
>>>>>>>>> most (IMHO) readable early articles by Maturana, including:
>>>>>>>>> Neurophysiology of Cognition; and Cognitive Strategies.
>>>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>>> Finally, the article "What the Frog's Eye tells the Frog's
>>>>>>>>> Brain"
>>>>>>>>> is
>>>>>>>>> available online at: jerome.lettvin.info/lettvin/ Jerome/
>>>>>>>>> WhatTheFrogsEyeTellsTheFrogsBrain.pdf.
>>>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>>> This is far from exhaustive, but I believe it provides firm
>>>>>>>>> foundation
>>>>>>>>> that will help in understanding work that came after, and even
>>>>>>>>> (perhaps) provide insight into the excursions and  
>>>>>>>>> exploration of
>>>>>>>>> other
>>>>>>>>> cyberneticians of the time.
>>>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>>> I would be happy to discuss this--probably off-list--with  
>>>>>>>>> anyone
>>>>>>>>> who
>>>>>>>>> is interested.
>>>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>>> Best,
>>>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>>> Kevin Kreitman
>>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>
>>>>>>
>>>>>>
>>>>>> --
>>>>>> Stuart Umpleby, Research Program in Social and Organizational
>>>>>> Learning
>>>>>> 2033 K Street NW, Suite 230, The George Washington University,
>>>>>> Washington, DC 20052
>>>>>> www.gwu.edu/~umpleby, tel. 202-994-1642, fax 202-994-5284
>>>>>>
>>>>>
>>>>
>>>>
>>>> --
>>>> Stuart Umpleby, Research Program in Social and Organizational
>>>> Learning
>>>> 2033 K Street NW, Suite 230, The George Washington University,
>>>> Washington, DC 20052
>>>> www.gwu.edu/~umpleby, tel. 202-994-1642, fax 202-994-5284
>>>>
>>
>>
>>
>> -- 
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>>
>
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