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Humanist Archives: Sept. 10, 2019, 6:09 a.m. Humanist 33.236 - cybernetics

                  Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 33, No. 236.
            Department of Digital Humanities, King's College London
                   Hosted by King's Digital Lab
                Submit to: humanist@dhhumanist.org

        Date: 2019-09-09 14:19:33+00:00
        From: Bill Benzon 
        Subject: Re: [Humanist] 33.235: cybernetics

I'd suggest people take a look at

Bernard Dionysius Geoghegan, "From Information Theory to French Theory:
Jakobson, Lévi-Strauss, and the Cybernetic Apparatus." Critical Inquiry.
Fall 2011.

It is excellent and, as the title indicates, makes important connections.

> On Sep 9, 2019, at 4:22 AM, Humanist  wrote:
>                  Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 33, No. 235.
>            Department of Digital Humanities, King's College London
>                   Hosted by King's Digital Lab
>                       www.dhhumanist.org
>                Submit to: humanist@dhhumanist.org
>        Date: 2019-09-09 05:58:35+00:00
>        From: Willard McCarty 
>        Subject: cybernetics
> Possibly not many of us are all that familiar with the hugely influential
> field of cybernetics. Cybernetics went through two major phases, the first,
> as Wikipedia puts it, "a transdisciplinary approach for exploring
> regulatory systems — their structures, constraints, and possibilities",
> and the second shifting to a focus on relations between cybernetic systems,
> including the role of the participant-observer. It was once thought to be an
> arena of activity that would gather in all disciplines. To explain its
> importance to us now (other than to those who are historians) would simply
> take too long even for a message on Humanist :-). Experience tells me that
> for interdisciplinary enquiry into some, if not many of the directions in
> which digital humanities could most rewardingly go, its history is a most
> powerful resource.
> Two books bring it to mind:
> (1)
> Jasia Reichardt, ed., Cybernetic Serendipity: The Computer and the
> Arts. London: Studio International, 1968; reissued 2018. See the
> announcement at:
> https://www.studiointernational.com/index.php/cybernetic-serendipity-the-
> computer-and-the-arts.
> Histories of computing and the arts during this exciting time are
> important (see e.g. Brown et al, White Heat Cold Logic), but Reichardt’s
> collective documentation of the event brings us wonderfully close to the
> primary evidence and points to the literature of the time. The artists
> who got involved then were WAY ahead of their time.
> (2)
> Philip Mirowski, Machine Dreams: Economics Becomes a Cyborg Science.
> Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002. There are other ways into
> cybernetics and its deep influence on the sciences; Steve Heims' The
> Cybernetics Group and Jean-Pierre Dupuy's Aux origines des sciences
> cognitives, trans. On the Origins of Cognitive Science, come to mind.
> But Mirowski's book is, I think, best for an understanding of the
> longer-term future under that continuing influence.
> Read them tonight, as my old friend used to say to me distressingly
> regularly.
> Yours,
> WM
> ------
> Willard McCarty (www.mccarty.org.uk/),
> Professor emeritus, Department of Digital Humanities, King's College
> London; Editor, Interdisciplinary Science Reviews
> (www.tandfonline.com/loi/yisr20) and Humanist (www.dhhumanist.org)

Bill Benzon



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