Biological Reflections

   Posted by: dhcsoul   in Books (Cybernetics), cybernetics

This entry is part 3 of 7 in the series A Learning Machine
Your first time here? Welcome, I'm glad you've dropped in.... David Soul (aka Bricoleur)
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Level II

Ashby, W. Ross, An Induction to Cybernetics, Chapman and Hall, 1956

Maturana, Humberto, and Varela, Francisco, Autopoeitic Systems

Powers, William T., Behaviour: The Control of Perception, Aldine, Chicago, 1973

Level III

Sommerhoff, G., Analystical Biology, OUP, 1950

Level IV

Rashevsky, Nicholas, Mathematical Principles in Biology, Charles C Thomas, Illinois, 1961

Waddington, C.H., The Strategy of the Genes, Allen & Unwin,  1957

Level V

Margalef, Ramon, Perspectives in Ecological Theory, University of Chicago, 1968

DHCS added selections

Maturana, Humberto, and Varela, Francisco, Autopoiesis and Cognition: the Realization of the Living, Springer, 1991

Level II

Introduction to Cybernetics – Ross Ashby

“Principia Cybernetica has selected Ashby’s “Introduction to Cybernetics” as a classic book that deserved to be published again electronically. The original version has been out of print for many years. A few copies may still be found in libraries or ordered through the Amazon bookshop. However, we believe that the book is so important that it should reach as an wide audience as possible. The best medium to achieve that seemed to be the world-wide web. This publication has been made possible largely through Mick Ashby, the author’s grandson, who has convinced the copyright holders (the Ashby estate) that they should allow us to produce an electronic version.”

Thanks to Principia Cybernetics, you can find the pdf format book here

Although  Ross Ashby was widely influential within the fields of cybernetics, systems theory and complex systems he not as publicly as well known as many of the scientists who were influenced by his work (including for example, Herbert Simon,  Norbert Wiener,  Ludwig von Bertalanffy,  Stafford Beer and  Stuart Kauffman). This textbook stands as a landmark work that helped  introduce precise and logical  thinking to the field.

DHCS selections

Autopoiesis and Cognition: the Realization of the Living – Maturana, Humberto & Varela, Francisco

Autopoiesis literally means “auto (self)-creation” (from the Greek: auto – αυτό for self- and poiesis – ποίησις for creation or production), and expresses a fundamental dialectic between structure and function. The term was originally introduced by Chilean biologists Humberto Maturana and Francisco Varela in 1973:

An autopoietic machine is a machine organized (defined as a unity) as a network of processes of production (transformation and destruction) of components which: (i) through their interactions and transformations continuously regenerate and realize the network of processes (relations) that produced them; and (ii) constitute it (the machine) as a concrete unity in space in which they (the components) exist by specifying the topological domain of its realization as such a network. (Maturana, Varela, 1980, p. 78)

[…] the space defined by an autopoietic system is self-contained and cannot be described by using dimensions that define another space. When we refer to our interactions with a concrete autopoietic system, however, we project this system on the space of our manipulations and make a description of this projection. (Maturana, Varela, 1980, p. 89)

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Tags: autopoiesis, cybernetics, humberto maturana, science, Stafford Beer, Systems theory, w.ross ashby

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