Open peer commentary on the article “Homeostats for the 21st Century? Simulating Ashby Simulating the Brain” by Stefano Franchi. Upshot: Ashby’s view of the organism as an essentially passive machine is not quite as original as the target article may suggest, since it can be traced to Freud’s pleasure principle and from there back to Fechner’s ideas about different kinds of stability in deterministic systems. A modification of the author’s distinction between “simulation of real objects” and “simulation of concepts” is also suggested, and it is argued that the main aim of Ashby’s simulations was to explore the possibility of high-level (structural) explanations of real phenomena, especially learning and memory.
Malmgren H. (2013) From fechner, via freud and pavlov, to ashby. Constructivist Foundations 9(1): 104–105. http://constructivist.info/9/1/104
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