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Steps to an Ecology of Mind: Collected…
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Steps to an Ecology of Mind: Collected Essays in Anthropology, Psychiatry,… (original 1972; udgave 2000)

af Gregory Bateson

MedlemmerAnmeldelserPopularitetGennemsnitlig vurderingOmtaler
1,0441014,332 (4.15)9
Gregory Bateson was a philosopher, anthropologist, photographer, naturalist, and poet, as well as the husband and collaborator of Margaret Mead. With a new foreword by his daughter Mary Katherine Bateson, this classic anthology of his major work will continue to delight and inform generations of readers. "This collection amounts to a retrospective exhibition of a working life. . . . Bateson has come to this position during a career that carried him not only into anthropology, for which he was first trained, but into psychiatry, genetics, and communication theory. . . . He . . . examines the nature of the mind, seeing it not as a nebulous something, somehow lodged somewhere in the body of each man, but as a network of interactions relating the individual with his society and his species and with the universe at large."--D. W. Harding, New York Review of Books "[Bateson's] view of the world, of science, of culture, and of man is vast and challenging. His efforts at synthesis are tantalizingly and cryptically suggestive. . . .This is a book we should all read and ponder."--Roger Keesing, American Anthropologist  … (mere)
Medlem:doctorserafico
Titel:Steps to an Ecology of Mind: Collected Essays in Anthropology, Psychiatry, Evolution, and Epistemology
Forfattere:Gregory Bateson
Info:University Of Chicago Press (2000), Paperback, 565 pages
Samlinger:Dit bibliotek
Vurdering:
Nøgleord:Ingen

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Steps to an Ecology of Mind: Collected Essays in Anthropology, Psychiatry, Evolution, and Epistemology af Gregory Bateson (1972)

  1. 00
    Total Man af Stan Gooch (philAbrams)
    philAbrams: I read both books round round about the same time when I was developing an interest in psychology and they had a powerful impact on my thought processes.
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Bateson is an absolutely brilliant thinker and is worth reading just for the insight into the way his mind works. He covers a wide variety of topics in these collected essays, with the joint thread being applying systems thinking, cybernetics, communication and information theory to these diverse fields - from psychiatry to evolutionary theory/biology to policy making and more. Another common thread in all of them is ecology of mind/ideas, with special emphasis on unexamined tenets of a culture. The consequences of Western civilization's 'man vs nature' idea being the prime, but not the only example. ( )
  SandraArdnas | Jun 2, 2020 |
Started and couldn't finish. Not bad just not very interesting to me at this point.
  Skybalon | Mar 19, 2020 |
4
  serzap | Oct 3, 2018 |
Extremely intelligently written but at times quite hard to follow. Bateson was evidently an extremely intelligent man and his essay on "Morale and National Character" (written during the Second World War) was a masterpiece with a very remarkable insight and thesis regarding the fact that setbacks were a greater motivator to otherwise divergent English speaking groups (British and American) and an better motivator that successes. This he contrasted to the Germans, for whom the opposite was the case. His "metalogues" were also brilliant both in their content and the way in which their form highlighted the points he was trying to make.

However there were times when he overlooked the obvious. For example he described how he once asked his students (I am quoting/paraphrasing from memory) "What circumstances dictate that a given person will perceive events as being predetermined while another perceives them as being susceptible to control." He described the question as useful, but at no point did he appear to recognize that the the question contained the words "circumstances determine" and thus tacitly accepted pre-determination as a fact - albeit smugly the idea in via the back door and not actually acknowledging its presence as the elephant in the room.

That gripe notwithstanding, this is a fascinating book for anyone with an interest in psychology, sociology, cultural anthropology, philosophy, modern history, etc. ( )
  philAbrams | Aug 13, 2015 |
Bateson summarizes his research agenda as an effort to identify elements for understanding Mind: the unit of analysis, difference; the analysand, that emergent complexity which attends certain differences interacting in specific ways. (Thus his title.) He builds from biological data and systematically integrates mental data, avoiding the sort of muddled thinking which often arises from theories about ideas or mental activity, and steadfastly opposing empirical reductionism. So: substance and form integrated into a metaphysical realism, steering a course between the Scylla of idealism and Charybdis of nominalism.

Bateson organises the essays here under six headings, and provides a précis of sorts with his notes at the end of each. Steps outlines his thinking and published work in broadest scope; speculate later books emphasize one or another of the six sections here. So if Mind & Nature focuses on evolution but skimps on hard examination of learning, here we see that each fits as one aspect of his overall thought. In Steps, Part 3 focuses on learning especially with respect to examples of alcoholism & schizophrenia, with Part 4 focusing on biology & evolution. These fit alongside Part 1's figurative examination of mind via Bateson's characteristic metalogues, which essays lead into Part 2 on the influence of information theory / cybernetics / logical types. Part 5 examines ecology & epistemology. Part 6 is the weakest in implementation, an ambitious effort to apply his thinking to pathology in environmental public policy.

//

Bateson's "essential minimal characteristics of a system ... of mind": [482]
• system operates with and upon difference [distinct from albeit linked to neurochemical basis of synaptic firings]
• system consists of closed loops / networks of pathways along which are transmitted differences / transforms of differences [ideas]
• many events in system energized by respondent part (e.g. metabolism) not triggering part [cybernetic not Newtonian causality]
• system capable of self-correction in the direction of homeostasis or runaway; self-correction implies trial and error
• to this add: architecture of logical types [Russell-Whitehead]

Implications / consequences include:
-- Mind is necessary & inevitable given above conditions; mind is immanent in the relevant complexity of communication; Paul in Galations, "God is not mocked"

-- The boundaries of a mind then are defined in terms of pathways for information (creatura) not in terms of bodies or physical attributes of system's various parts (pleroma), except insofar as these bodies correspond with pathways. The terms are an allusion to Jung's essay "Septem Sermones ad Mortuos"; likewise Bateson refers to a secret history of mind, drawing on familiar names but unfamiliar aspects of their thought (Samuel Butler, Carl Jung, Lamarck, Korzybski).

-- Vital role played by 'flexibility' or room for adaption on part of a system, allowing it to retain integrity across a range of changing stimuli / environmental constraints

-- Ideas are transforms of difference "out there", that is: outside the mind

-- Cybernetic explanation is a simulated form of mathematical proof; no other scientific explanation provides such a proof [401]

-- Cybernetic explanation is negative, not causal / positive explanation; that is, alternative outcomes are restrained, rather than a preferred outcome being selected [399]

-- Mammals are 'about' patterns more than about specific events or things. Distinct functional roles played by aniconic communication (verbal language) & iconic (kinesic & preverbal: body language, facial expression). Aniconic focus on items outside the self; iconic focus on relations between self and other minds. Iconic often become pathogenic when guided / determined by conscious purpose, precisely because consciousness always involves the possibility of trickery / semblance / dishonesty, and once this possibility is open, iconic language has no reliable means of independent affirmation. That is, I may say The cat is on the mat, and you may look for yourself and see if my words are corroborated by your own eyes. But when I say I love you, that assertion is not open to independent confirmation in the same way.

//

Evidently Bateson's characteristic examples were touchpoints as he returns to them in various essays, with varying amounts of detail or discussion depending perhaps on his thinking about them, or perhaps only as needed for the purpose of the specific essay. Intentionally or not, they are also comforting to see recur: the cat meowing for food best understood as saying not I love you but dependency; the mind defined by person-axe-tree; the house thermostat as rudimentary discussion of a governor; numerous others.

2014 reading paired with Dawkins to have a more detailed & firmer grasp of evolutionary biology. ( )
1 stem elenchus | Sep 21, 2014 |
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» Tilføj andre forfattere (6 mulige)

Forfatter navnRolleHvilken slags forfatterVærk?Status
Bateson, Gregoryprimær forfatteralle udgaverbekræftet
Bateson, Mary CatherineForordmedforfatternogle udgaverbekræftet
Engel, MarkPrefacemedforfatternogle udgaverbekræftet

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The materialistic philosophy which sees “man” as pitted against his environment is rapidly breaking down as technological man becomes more and more able to oppose the largest systems. Every battle that he wins brings a threat of disaster. The unit of survival—either in ethics or in evolution—is not the organism or the species but the largest system or “power” within which the creature lives. If the creature destroys its environment, it destroys itself.
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Gregory Bateson was a philosopher, anthropologist, photographer, naturalist, and poet, as well as the husband and collaborator of Margaret Mead. With a new foreword by his daughter Mary Katherine Bateson, this classic anthology of his major work will continue to delight and inform generations of readers. "This collection amounts to a retrospective exhibition of a working life. . . . Bateson has come to this position during a career that carried him not only into anthropology, for which he was first trained, but into psychiatry, genetics, and communication theory. . . . He . . . examines the nature of the mind, seeing it not as a nebulous something, somehow lodged somewhere in the body of each man, but as a network of interactions relating the individual with his society and his species and with the universe at large."--D. W. Harding, New York Review of Books "[Bateson's] view of the world, of science, of culture, and of man is vast and challenging. His efforts at synthesis are tantalizingly and cryptically suggestive. . . .This is a book we should all read and ponder."--Roger Keesing, American Anthropologist  

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