book at:President’s Series 12 Cybernetics, Cognitive Science and Philosophy Tickets, Wed 13 Oct 2021 at 17:00 | Eventbrite
President’s Series 12 Cybernetics, Cognitive Science and Philosophy
£0 – £20
Joe Dewhurst explores cybernetics and cognitive science while Carl Sachs discusses Wilfred Sellars as Philosopher of Cybernetics
About this event
Hosted by our President, Dr. John Beckford FCybS, the CybSights President’s Series is a new programme that will bring interesting people together to explore the relevance and contribution of cybernetics to addressing important challenges.
Each event will consist of contributions by two different speakers. Each will be followed by individual Q&A. These are then brought together by the President in a lively and engaging plenary discussion. Each will seek areas of convergence and divergence between the ideas explored.
Events will be held via Zoom on the 2nd Wednesday of each month from 1700 to 1900.
Meetings are open to members of the Cybernetics Society and also the general public. Non-members are invited to join or give a donation. Booking is required.
The Cybernetics Society has been hosting conversations and lectures since the late 1960s.
Computers With Bodies: The Contemporary Impact of Cybernetic Approaches in Cognitive Science
The cybernetics movement included many key founding figures of what would eventually become known as cognitive science. Despite this connection, the cybernetic origins of cognitive science are often downplayed in accounts of the discipline’s history, and it is only relatively recently that cybernetic principles have come to be seen as once again relevant to contemporary cognitive science. This paper will consider the contemporary impact of cybernetics in two distinct streams of cognitive scientific research, namely computation and embodiment, and then explore some ways in which these two streams can fruitfully collaborate with one another.
Joe is currently a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Munich Center for Mathematical Philosophy, where he works on topics to do with computation, mechanistic explanation, and more recently formal approaches to causation and emergence in complex systems. His doctoral research at the University of Edinburgh looked at the relationship between common-sense intuitions and scientific theories in contemporary cognitive science, and he worked at Edinburgh as a Teaching Assistant before moving to Munich in 2018. In his spare time Joe designs and develops simulation boardgames, and is interested in parallels between scientific modelling and the use of boardgames to model real-world situations.
Wilfrid Sellars as Philosopher of Cybernetics
The American philosopher Wilfrid Sellars often uses examples of guided missiles or robots in his speculative scientific metaphysics of mind, but few have noticed that he is implicitly referring to cybernetics when he does so. I shall argue that Sellars’s use of cybernetic examples shows that he was probably familiar with cybernetic ideas from Wiener, Ashby, and Wisdom. In this light we can better understand why Sellars uses the kind of examples that he does. I will also argue that Sellars should have discovered second-order cybernetics and why he failed to do so.
Carl is currently associate professor of philosophy at Marymount University (USA), where he works on American pragmatism, the Frankfurt School of critical theory, and philosophy of mind. His first book, Intentionality and the Myths of the Given (Routledge 2014) integrated Sellars’s linguistic account of discursive intentionality with Merleau-Ponty’s phenomenology of embodied intentionality. He is currently writing a second book on Wilfrid Sellars as a philosopher at the intersection of German Idealism, American pragmatism, cybernetics, and philosophy of cognitive science. In his spare time he cooks, bakes, and exercises.
The aim of this session, moderated by John Beckford, is to draw out the complementary and competing ideas emerging from the two sessions.
Dr. John Beckford, FCybS, President of the Cybernetics Society
John Beckford is a board member of WOSC, a partner in Beckford Consulting, Non-Executive Chair of the Board of Rise Mutual CIC, a Non-Executive Director of both Fusion21 and CoreHaus (social enterprises) and Visiting Professor in both the Department of Civil, Environmental and Geomatic Engineering at University College London and the Centre for Information Management, School of Business and Economics, Loughborough University. John holds a PhD in cybernetics from the University of Hull, is a Fellow of the Institution of Engineering and Technology and of the Royal Society for the Arts and a Member of the Institute of Management Services.