Publication 4129

Pickering A. (2009) Psychiatry, synthetic brains and cybernetics in the work of W. Ross Ashby. International Journal of General Systems 38(2): 213–230. Fulltext at
This essay focuses on the historical development of W. Ross Ashby’s work up to the late 1950s. Two key landmarks are Ashby’s most famous machine, the homeostat, and the book in which it featured, Design for a Brain. The essay explores constitutive connections between Ashby’s cybernetics and his professional interest in psychiatry and the brain, his quest to build a synthetic brain and the DAMS project, and his subsequent development of cybernetics as a general theory of machines.

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