Publication 1124

Clarke B. (2014) John Lilly, The Mind of the Dolphin, and Communication Out of Bounds. Communication +1 3: article 8. Fulltext at
In this essay I develop a systems-theoretical observation of John Lilly’s cybernetics of communication in his 1967 work “The Mind of the Dolphin.” The eight-year-old project that “The Mind of the Dolphin” recounts for public consumption details his aspiration to achieve an unprecedented breakthrough beyond companionate communion to fully abstract linguistic communication across species boundaries. Between 1959 and 1968 Lilly wagered and lost his mainstream scientific career largely over this audacious, ultimately inconclusive bid to establish and document for scientific validation “communication with a nonhuman mind.” In that effort, however, he mobilized the best available tools, a cutting-edge array of cybernetic concepts. He leaned heavily on the information theory bound up with first-order cybernetics and operated with heuristic computational metaphors alongside the actual computers of his era. Relevance: As I will elicit through some close readings of his texts, Lilly also homed in on crucial epistemological renovations with a constructivist redescription of cognition that may have influenced and motivated his colleague Heinz von Foerster’s more renowned formulations, arriving in the early 1970s, of a second-order cybernetics.


The publication has not yet bookmarked in any reading list

You cannot bookmark this publication into a reading list because you are not member of any
Log in to create one.

There are currently no annotations

To add an annotation you need to log in first

Download statistics

Log in to view the download statistics for this publication
Export bibliographic details as: CF Format · APA · BibTex · EndNote · Harvard · MLA · Nature · RIS · Science