Macy conferences


Macy conferences

The Macy Conferences were a set of meetings of scholars from various disciplines held to discuss "Circular Causal and Feedback Mechanisms in Biological and Social Systems" held between 1946 and 1953. [ [http://www.asc-cybernetics.org/foundations/history/MacySummary.htm Summary: The Macy Conferences ] ] It was one of the first organized studies of interdisciplinarity, spawning breakthroughs in systems theory and leading to the foundation of what later was to be known as cybernetics

Overview

The Macy Conferences were organised by the Josiah Macy, Jr. Foundation, motivated by Lawrence K. Frank and Frank Fremont-Smith of the Macy Foundation. [http://www.asc-cybernetics.org/foundations/history2.htm HISTORY OF CYBERNETICS] by the American Society for Cybernetics, retrieved 15 April 2008] The participants were leading scientists from a wide range of fields. Casual recollections of several participants stress the communicative difficulties in the beginning, giving way to the gradual establishment of a common language powerful enough to communicate the intricacies of the various fields of expertise present.

The scientists participating in all or most of the conferences are known as the "core group." They include: [ [http://www.asc-cybernetics.org/foundations/history/MacyPeople.htm The Macy Conference Attendees ] ]

* William Ross Ashby; psychiatrist
* Gregory Bateson; anthropologist
* Julian Bigelow; electro technician
* Heinz von Foerster; biophysicist
* Lawrence K. Frank; social scientist
* Ralph W. Gerard; neuro physiologist
* Molly Harrower; psychologist
* Lawrence Kubie; psychatrist
* Paul Lazarsfeld; sociologist
* Kurt Lewin; psychologist
* Warren McCulloch (chair); psychatrist
* Margaret Mead; anthropologist
* John von Neumann; mathematician
* Walter Pitts; mathematician
* Arturo Rosenblueth; physiologist
* Leonard J. Savage; mathematician
* Norbert Wiener; mathematician

In addition to the core group several invited guests participated in the conferences. Amongst many others:
* Max Delbrück; geneticist and biophysicist
* Erik Erikson; psychologist
* Claude Shannon; information theorist

Some of the researchers present at the conferences later went on to do extensive government funded research on the psychological effects of LSD, and its potential as a tool for interrogation and psychological manipulation in such projects as the CIA's MKULTRA program. [ [http://www3.isrl.uiuc.edu/~unsworth/SLS.htm LSD, Mind Control, and the Internet: A Chronology] , retrieved 15 April 2008]

See also

* Cybernetics
* Complex systems
* Integrative learning
* Second-order cybernetics

References

Further reading

* 1949. "Cybernetics: Transactions of the Sixth Conference". New York : Josiah Macy, Jr. Foundation.
* 1950. "Cybernetics: Transactions of the Seventh Conference". Edited by Heinz von Foerster, Margaret Mead and Hans Lukas Teuber. New York : Josiah Macy, Jr. Foundation.
* 1952. "Cybernetics: Transactions of the Eighth Conference". Edited by Heinz von Foerster, Margaret Mead and Hans Lukas Teuber. New York : Josiah Macy, Jr. Foundation.
* 1953. "Cybernetics: Transactions of the Ninth Conference". Edited by Heinz von Foerster, Margaret Mead and Hans Lukas Teuber. New York : Josiah Macy, Jr. Foundation.
* 1955. "Cybernetics: Transactions of the Tenth Conference". Edited by Heinz von Foerster, Margaret Mead and Hans Lukas Teuber. New York : Josiah Macy, Jr. Foundation.
* 2003, Claus Pias (Eds). "Cybernetics/Kybernetik. The Macy-Conferences 1946-1953". Herausgabe. Berlin, Vol. 2.

External links

* [http://www.josiahmacyfoundation.org The Josiah Macy, Jr. Foundation]


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