• RRP: £52.50
  • You Save: £3.15 (6%)
FREE Delivery in the UK.
Only 1 left in stock (more on the way).
Dispatched from and sold by Amazon. Gift-wrap available.
Quantity:1
The Cybernetic Brain: Ske... has been added to your Basket
+ £2.80 UK delivery
Used: Good | Details
Sold by rbmbooks
Condition: Used: Good
Comment: Used, good: average wear, reasonable shape, may have limited notes and/or highlighting. Delivered in 10-12 business days from the USA. Money-back guarantee.
Have one to sell?
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See this image

The Cybernetic Brain: Sketches of Another Future Hardcover – 23 Apr 2010

5 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

See all formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price
New from Used from
Kindle Edition
"Please retry"
Hardcover
"Please retry"
£49.35
£38.90 £28.39
Note: This item is eligible for click and collect. Details
Pick up your parcel at a time and place that suits you.
  • Choose from over 13,000 locations across the UK
  • Prime members get unlimited deliveries at no additional cost
How to order to an Amazon Pickup Location?
  1. Find your preferred location and add it to your address book
  2. Dispatch to this address when you check out
Learn more
£49.35 FREE Delivery in the UK. Only 1 left in stock (more on the way). Dispatched from and sold by Amazon. Gift-wrap available.

Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.

  • Apple
  • Android
  • Windows Phone

To get the free app, enter your e-mail address or mobile phone number.




Product details

  • Hardcover: 560 pages
  • Publisher: University of Chicago Press (23 April 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0226667898
  • ISBN-13: 978-0226667898
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 3.6 x 22.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,235,874 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

"By focusing on the developments in Britain, Andrew Pickering's The Cybernetic Brain opens wide new vistas for exploring cybernetic practice and its legacy.... As a protean science with connections to psychiatry, theater, music, politics, and counterculture, it was a lot more glamorous and fun than previous accounts of the field would have us believe." (Science)"

About the Author

Andrew Pickering is professor and chair of sociology at the University of Exeter. He is the author of several books, including Constructing Quarks: A Sociological History of Particle Physics and The Mangle of Practice: Time, Agency, and Science, both published by the University of Chicago Press.


Customer Reviews

5.0 out of 5 stars
5 star
2
4 star
0
3 star
0
2 star
0
1 star
0
See both customer reviews
Share your thoughts with other customers

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Andrew Pickering seeks to rescue cybernetics from the margins and to make it more widely available. Writing from outside the cybernetic camp, he is able to approach the subject matter in an impartial way. Counting myself as a member of the cybernetic community, I believe he has met his aim with great success.

He makes a convincing case for a cybernetic worldview that is quite distinct from the traditional worldview of physics. Pickering argues that the latter rests on the assumption that everything is in principle knowable, and that if we know enough about things in themselves, it increases our control over them. Distinct from this, he describes cybernetics as having emerged with what he calls a `performative' worldview. This is complementary to the approach of physics, with a focus upon human interaction with the phenomenal world, rather than striving to understand it `out there' without reference to the observer of it. In this performative worldview, the basic assumption is the essential unknowability of things. Human knowledge is then seen as a`process of becoming' which arises through the cycle of doing followed by reflection on the effects of our doing. Such a cycle entails a view of human knowledge as a capacity to understand a dynamic and changing reality through our engagement with it over time - hence 'performative'.

There is no rejection of a physics-orientated view (after all, the background of the author is physics). But, during and immediately after the Second World War, in response to the huge challenges posed by increasing rates of change and complexity, certain individuals developed an approach intended to more effectively tackle indeterminate and massively complex dynamic systems.
Read more ›
Comment 14 of 14 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Hardcover
Nothing daunting about this book, despite the rather intimidating title.I was afraid it would be technical but it was a pleasure to read. The scale of Pickerings research is astonishing. He seems to have entered the lives of the cyberneticians, explaining their thinking through their actions and interactions. What a labour! The sense of creative endeavor comes through clearly - the energy of those early masters and the fun they shared is apparent - Im recommending to all my mates who are into cybernetics.
1 Comment 10 of 10 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse

Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0x8ee53f30) out of 5 stars 6 reviews
32 of 32 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x8f1b8d38) out of 5 stars Dealing with exceedingly complex systems 20 May 2010
By Roger John Harnden - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Andrew Pickering seeks to rescue cybernetics from the margins and to make it more widely available. Writing from outside the cybernetic camp, he is able to approach the subject matter in an impartial way. Counting myself as a member of the cybernetic community, I believe he has met his aim with great success.

He makes a convincing case for a cybernetic worldview that is quite distinct from the traditional worldview of physics. Pickering argues that the latter rests on the assumption that everything is in principle knowable, and that if we know enough about things in themselves, it increases our control over them. Distinct from this, he describes cybernetics as having emerged with what he calls a `performative' worldview. This is complementary to the approach of physics, with a focus upon human interaction with the phenomenal world, rather than striving to understand it `out there' without reference to the observer of it. In this performative worldview, the basic assumption is the essential unknowability of things. Human knowledge is then seen as a`process of becoming' which arises through the cycle of doing followed by reflection on the effects of our doing. Such a cycle entails a view of human knowledge as a capacity to understand a dynamic and changing reality through our engagement with it over time - hence 'performative'.

There is no rejection of a physics-orientated view (after all, the background of the author is physics). But, during and immediately after the Second World War, in response to the huge challenges posed by increasing rates of change and complexity, certain individuals developed an approach intended to more effectively tackle indeterminate and massively complex dynamic systems. This innovative work in what became known as cybernetics, has far-reaching implications for our present understanding of global issues including climate change, ecology and the financial system.

Pickering describes particular implications of such a worldview for human knowing and society. Knowledge is surely about the way things are and how they behave in response to our interactions with them. This is quite distinct from the more traditional notion that knowledge is gained from taking things apart and analysing them in greater and greater detail. In passing, he relates this to both continental philosophy and the pragmatism of William James without getting bogged down in philosophical issues. He also touches on ways in which this approach combines the spiritual/experiential on the one hand, and the rational on the other. The author uncovers intriguing material on all the key protagonists. The accounts of experimentation with cybernetic machines such as Ashby's `Homeostat' or Pask's `Colloquy of Mobiles', give clear and concrete examples which clearly convey the meaning of this `performative ontology' (Pickering).

There is excellent original material on Ross Ashby, Stafford Beer, Gordon Pask, Grey Walter and others. Pickering also makes a convincing if provocative link between the endeavors of such individuals with the emergence of the so-called counter-culture of 1960's (e.g. R.D. Laing), and the insights of Gregory Bateson.

On a more general note, the book provides wonderful insight into the creative process of such a performative ontology - how this disparate group of highly original thinkers 'ran their intuitions past reality' as it were, through the conception and construction of physical artefacts, artefacts whose behaviours embodied a radically novel insight into life and human experience of it, enabling further new realities to emerge in a range of new disciplines.

In summary - the book is a very rich account of how such early work in cybernetics impacted upon our contemporary intellectual landscape. It clearly and succinctly describes how the work and ideas of seminal British figures in cybernetics impacted on the emergence of major new disciplines. This is a must for anyone interested in the provenance of complex adaptive systems (CAS), artificial intelligence, cognitive science and artificial life as well as for students of cybernetics itself.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x8f1f79fc) out of 5 stars A very mixed bag: historically fascinating, technically dubious, philosophically muddle-headed 29 Nov. 2013
By David Auerbach - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Roger Harnden's review gives an excellent overview of the book, so I will just express some reservations here. Pickering's historical synthesis is fascinating and very readable, and I learned a lot about the peculiar eclectic history of cybernetics that added to my view of 20th century explorations in mind and artificial intelligence.

But Pickering's analysis is blinkered: he sets up a false dichotomy between the "nonmodern ontology" of the cyberneticists and the presumably "modern ontology" of everyone else, but he doesn't seem to be familiar enough with the full history of cognitive science to make the dichotomy stick. (References to the mushy There is no mention in the entire book of perceptron inventor Frank Rosenblatt, who gives lie to Pickering's insistence that *only* the cyberneticists were exploring the supposedly radical philosophical ideas Pickering chronicles. The cyberneticists were weird and unique in their way, but they didn't stand in opposition to a monolithic modern scientific establishment.

Instead, Pickering invokes Steven Wolfram, author of the overblown and almost universally reviled A New Kind of Science. I'm not sure why Pickering thought that Wolfram's theoretically ungrounded and ultimately inconsequential experiments with cellular automata deserved mention alongside the very real (if quirky) accomplishments of Ross Ashby and Grey Walter, but I suspect it has to do with Pickering putting his philosophical agenda before the technical facts. Unfortunately, his agenda is rooted in Heidegger's untenable philosophy of technology, and so it leads him down some blind alleys. He would have done better to discuss Stanislaw Lem, who read heavily in cybernetics and wrote some serious analysis of it, particularly in Summa Technologiae, but who goes unmentioned here.

Nonetheless, there's great stuff in this (overlong) book and the history is a great read. Just be very cautious in believing the polemic.
HASH(0x8f1c7bdc) out of 5 stars Cybernetics Today and Yesterday 19 July 2015
By Bill C. White - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Excellent history of Cybernetics and cybernetic thinking.
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x8edaa258) out of 5 stars Fascinating and well researched 20 Aug. 2013
By 01001101 01100001 01110010 01101011 - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a profound, well researched, and well written exposition on the history and philosophical implications of relatively recent research into self-organizing/self-regulating/complex systems. Wonderful book.
5 of 10 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x8ee50984) out of 5 stars One of the best and most original books I've read in a long time. 16 Nov. 2010
By History of Technology Fan - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Read this book, especially if you are interested in the history of science, of technology or science studies. It is incredibly refreshing and thought-provoking.
Were these reviews helpful? Let us know


Feedback