Publication 2837

Umpleby S. A. (2016) Reviving the American Society for Cybernetics, 1980-1982. Cybernetics & Human Knowing 23(1): 19–27. Fulltext at https://cepa.info/2837
Abstract: The early 1980s were a time for rebuilding the American Society for Cybernetics (ASC) after a few difficult years in the 1970s. Basic administrative functions were needed, and a series of annual, national conferences was resumed. Intellectual direction was provided by Heinz von Foerster and his idea of second-order cybernetics. Whereas other societies focused on technical aspects of cybernetics, ASC emphasized theory and philosophy in the biological and social sciences. New information technology was used, and there was close cooperation with scientists in Europe. An ongoing debate has been whether ASC should be a conventional academic society with a variety of special interest groups or a small, revolutionary group that self-consciously seeks to create an alternative to the prevailing view. This article describes my decisions and actions on behalf of ASC during my three years as president and in the years thereafter.

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