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Cybernetics and the human sciences

Published on May 12, 2020in History of the Human Sciences0.839
· DOI :10.1177/0952695119887098
Stefanos Geroulanos7
Estimated H-index: 7
(NYU: New York University),
Leif Weatherby1
Estimated H-index: 1
(NYU: New York University)
Abstract
Cybernetics saturates the humanities. Norbert Wiener’s movement gave vocabulary and hardware to developments all across the early digital era, and still does so today to those who seek to interpret...
  • References (7)
  • Citations (1)
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References7
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Almost no attention has been given to Hannah Arendt’s discussion of automation despite her claim that it was of almost unparalleled importance. This article demonstrates how Arendt’s conception of political action came to depend on her assessment of American technological trends following nuclear fission, especially automation and cybernetics. It contextualizes Arendt’s engagement with American interlocutors, showing how this informed her conception of political action in The Human Condition (19...
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#1Waseem Yaqoob (University of Cambridge)H-Index: 1
This essay examines Hannah Arendt’s treatment of science and technology in her work during the 1950s and early 1960s. As scientific research acquired prominence in the United States and Germany after the Second World War, its public meaning was shaped by geopolitics and fears about nuclear weapons and the uncontrollable nature of technological development. A detailed exploration of the development of Arendt’s thought in this context has not been undertaken before. This essay refines our understa...
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#1Nicolas Guilhot (CNRS: Centre national de la recherche scientifique)H-Index: 11
International relations theory took shape in the 1950s in reaction to the behavioral social science movement, emphasizing the limits of rationality in a context of high uncertainty, weak rules, and the possibility of lethal conflict. Yet the same discipline rapidly developed “rational choice” models applied to foreign policy decision making or nuclear strategy. This paper argues that this transformation took place almost seamlessly around the concept of “decision.” Initially associated with an a...
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This article re-examines some of the principal concepts of cybernetics — control, communication, feedback — and its preoccupation with the ‘coupling’ of human and machine in an increasingly automated world. Historically, the rise of cybernetics coincides with the so-called Space Age, where the kind of computerized control systems theorized in cybernetics were essential to the guidance and operation of the complex machinery required to place humans and machines in space. Taking the Apollo program...
1 CitationsSource
#1Slava Gerovitch (Colby College)H-Index: 8
In this book Slava Gerovitch argues that Soviet cybernetics was not just an intellectual trend but a social movement for radical reform in science and society as a whole. Followers of cybernetics viewed computer simulation as a universal method of problem solving and the language of cybernetics as a language of objectivity and truth. With this new objectivity, they challenged the existing order of things in economics and politics as well as in science.
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#1Nicolas Guilhot (CNRS: Centre national de la recherche scientifique)H-Index: 11
This article questions the current vogue of Carl Schmitt among political theorists who read him as an antidote to the depoliticizing force of economics and technology in the age of neoliberalism an...
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