Publication 7641

Heims S. P. (1977) Gregory Bateson and the mathematicians: From interdisciplinary interaction to societal functions. Journal of the History of the Behavioral Sciences 13(2): 141–159.
An instance of fruitful cross-disciplinary contacts is examined in detail. The ideas involved include (1) the double-bind hypothesis for schizophrenia, (2) the critique of game theory from the viewpoint of anthropology and psychiatry, and (3) the application of concepts of communication theory and theory of logical types to an interpretation of psychoanalytic practice. The protagonists of the interchange are Gregory Bateson and the two mathematicians Norbert Wiener and John von Neuman; the date, March 1946. This interchange and its sequels are described. While the interchanges between Bateson and Wiener were fruitful, those between Bateson and von Neumann were much less so. The latter two held conflicting premises concerning what is significant in science; Bateson’s and Wiener’s were compatible. In 1946, Wiener suggested that information and communication might be appropriate central concepts for psychoanalytic theory – a vague general idea which Bateson (with Ruesch) related to contemporary clinical practice. For Bateson, Wiener, and von Neumann, the cross-disciplinary interactions foreshadowed a shift in activities and new roles in society, to which the post-World War II period was conducive. Von Neumann became a high-level government advisor; Wiener, an interpreter of science and technology for the general public; and Bateson, a counter-culture figure.
We will upload a full textversion shortly.

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