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Cybernetics | Kybernetik
The Macy-Conferences 1946–1953

Volume 1 Transactions/Protokolle
Volume 2 Dokumente/Documents

Edited by Claus Pias

Published by Diaphanes: Zürich, Berlin

Can be ordered from
The second volume will appear soon



Editorische Notiz / Editorial Note

Circular Causality. The Beginnings of an Epistemology of Responsibility

Heinz von Foerster

Zirkuläre Kausalität. Die Anfänge einer Epistemologie

Heinz von Foerster



Introductory Discussion

The Psychological Moment in Perception

John Stroud

The Neurotic Potential and Human Adaptation

Lawrence S. Kubie

Quantum Mechanical Theory of Memory

Heinz von Foerster

Possible Mechanisms of Recall and Recognition

Sensory Prosthesises

Norbert Wiener




Josiah Macy jr. Foundation Conference Program

Frank Fremont-Smith

Introductory Remarks

Warren S. McCulloch

Some of the Problems Concerning Digital Notions in the Central Nervous System

Ralph W. Gerard

The Manner in Which and Extent to Which Speech Can Be Distorted and Remain Intelligible

J. C. R. Licklider

The Redundancy of English

Claude E. Shannon

Experience in Learning Primitive Languages Through the Use of Learning High Level Linguistic Abstractions

Margaret Mead

On the Development ofWord Meanings

Heinz Werner

The Development of Language in Early Childhood

John Stroud

The Relationship of Symbolic Function in Language Formation and in Neurosis

Lawrence S. Kubie

Appendix I: Body Symbolization and Development of Language

Lawrence S. Kubie

Appendix II: References



Josiah Macy jr. Foundation Conference Program

A Note by the Editors

Communication Patterns in Problem-Solving Groups

Alex Bavelas

Communication Between Men: The Meaning of Language

Ivor A. Richards

Communication Between Sane and Insane: Hypnosis

Lawrence S. Kubie

Communication Between Animals

Herbert G. Birch

Presentation of a Maze-Solving Machine

Claude Shannon

In Search of Basic Symbols

Donald M. MacKay

Appendix I: The Nomenclature of Information Theory

Donald M. MacKay

Explanatory Glossary

Alphabetical Index of Terms Used in Information Theory and Related Communication Theory

Appendix II: References



Josiah Macy jr. Founclation Conference Program

A Note by the Editors

The Position of Humor in Human Communication

Gregory Batson

The Place of Emotions in the Feedback Concept

Lawrence S. Kubie


W. Ross Ashby

Discrimination and Learning in Octopus

J. Z. Young

Reduction of the Number of Possible Boolean Functions

John R. Bowman

Central Excitation and Inhibition

Ralph W. Gerard

Mechanical Chess Player

W. Ross Ashby

Turbulence as Random Stimulation of Sense Organs

G. Evelyn Hutchinson

Investigations on Synaptic Transmission

Walter Pitts

Feedback Mechanism in Cellular Biology

Henry Quastler

Appendix I: References




The Josiah Macy, Jr. Foundation Conference Program

Introductory Remarks

Warren S. McCulloch

Studies on Activity of the Brain

W. Grey- Walter

Semantic Information and its Measures

Yehoshua Bar-Hillel

Meaning in Language and How it is Acquired

Yuen Ren Chao

Appendix I: Summary of the Points of Agreement Reached in the Previous Nine Conferences on Cybernetics

Warren S. McCulloch

Appendix II: References



This edition includes the complete text of the five volume documentation of the Macy-Conferences on Cybernetics, edited by Heinz von Foerster.* The pagination of the original document is set in the margin. Notes by the editor are enclosed in square brackets. I would like to thank the Josiah Macy jr. Foundation and its president June E. Osborn for generously allowing this new edition, Tobias Nanz and Katrin Richter for their editorial assistance.

Claus Pias, Berlin 2003