Tag: Andrew pickering

There’s an interesting section in Andrew Pickering’s The Cybernetic Brain discussing Ross Ashby’s experiments in building cybernetic systems and the design philosophy these undertakings led him to articulate. As Pickering describes on pg 128: If, beyond a certain degree of complexity, the performance of a machine could not be predicted from a knowledge of its […]

There’s an interesting aside in Andrew Pickering’s The Cybernetic Brain on pg 98 which has left me thinking about why I’m so interested in distraction: Here he tied his essay into a venerable tradition in psychiatry going back at least to the early twentieth century, namely, that madness and mental illness pointed to a failure to […]

This section of Andrew Pickering’s The Cybernetic Brain just reawakened my interest in psychedelic drugs and their effects upon consciousness. From pg 73: Walter’s 1953 book The Living Brain is largely devoted to the science of the normal brain and its pathologies, epilepsy and mental illness. But in different passages it also goes beyond the […]

Another theme which feels important to me in Pickering’s superb The Cybernetic Brain is the ontological gap between entities and interaction. If we imagine the world as composed of discrete entities with defined characteristics, it invites an approach to knowledge in which we merely place them into a taxonomy in a manner which leaves them in […]

It’s difficult to read Andrew Pickering’s The Cybernetic Brain and not be swept up in his infectious enthusiasm for the British cyberneticians. They were the fun wing of an approach which “emerged from nowhere as far as established fields and career paths were concerned” with the “cyberneticians and their projects were outsiders to established fields […]

This is a wonderful section from pg 9 of Andrew Pickering’s The Cybernetic Brain: Unlike more familiar sciences such as physics, which remain tied to specific academic departments and scholarly modes of transmission, cybernetics is better seen as a form of life , a way of going on in the world, even an attitude, that […]