PCP-news digest
Principia Cybernetica Web

PCP-news digest

The following is a digest of the content of the Principia Cybernetica Newsletter, distributed every two months through the PCP-news mailing list.


News - Nov/Dec 2000

NEW ARTICLES

Ben Goertzel, an old acquaintaince of ours, has written an easy-to-read review of PCP for the big German newspaper "Frankfurter Algemeine Zeitung". His article, entitled "The Principia Cybernetica Project: Placing the Web at the Center of Man's Quest for Knowledge", can be found at: http://www.goertzel.org/benzine/PrincipiaCybernetica.htm For the same newspaper, Ben has also written profiles of PCP editors V. Turchin and F. Heylighen: see http://www.goertzel.org/benzine/

Francis Heylighen has written an in-depth review of PCP for the journal "Foundations of Science". It summarizes the motivation behind the project, its basic philosophical assumptions, and the practical methods and experiences behind the project's organization. This "Foundations and Methodology for an Evolutionary World View" is available at http://cleamc11.vub.ac.be/Papers/PCPworldview-FOS.pdf

Another new paper by Heylighen, provides a quick review and introduction of web learning and spreading activation, the methods we developed to create a "global brain", coupled with a review of psycholinguistic research on associations between words: "Mining Associative Meanings from the Web: from word disambiguation to the global brain". It is available at: http://cleamc11.vub.ac.be/Papers/MiningMeaning.pdf

GROWTH OF PCP-WEB

The number of hits on the main PCP server, http://cleamc11.vub.ac.be/, hovers around 28 000 per day, which is a significant improvement since about a year ago. Yet, the number of hits on our Los Alamos mirror server, http://pcp.lanl.gov is still only a fraction of that, showing that most people reach PCP-web via links pointing to the original server in Europe.

It is good that the links point all to the same, main address, because this makes our site more prominent for search engines, but we want to remind our readers that in many cases (especially for users in Latin America), they may get faster access through the mirror server in the US. To switch between servers, it suffices to click on the "Server: EU" or "US" option in the menu bar of the main PCP web pages.

It is interesting to compare the present hit rate with earlier ones, to study historical development. In 1994, one year after the creation of PCP-web, we got a mere 400 hits a day. In the beginning of 1998, we had nearly 8000/day. This means that the number of hits roughly doubles every year. That is a faster rate than the growth of the web, and it is interesting to look further into that trend and try to understand it.

Since the services we offer haven't grown that much during the period (and have actually declined relative to the overkill of special effects on other, commercial sites), it must be that our material has become more attractive to the average surfer. From the increasing number of reactions we receive about PCP web, we get the impression that what we are doing is more and more generally accepted as an excellent, needed service, rather than an interesting and somewhat eccentric idea.

This may be due in part to the growing acceptance of "evolutionary" and "Darwinian" approaches in various domains, and the continuing growth of complex systems related ideas. In that general domain, we are still the only ones that offer an integrated, philosophical outlook, but because of the better acceptance of evolutionary-systemic thinking, our philosophy seems less outrageous to the majority of people now. It appears our time has come!

Just to stress the point, it is worth quoting one or two of the reactions we got recently. A reader from Indonesia, who would like to translate some of our documents to Indonesian, notes:

"For months I've learned and inspired by your sites. It seem I was turn to a second live.æI've found what I need in my live, at last. [...] We need a new way of thinking, a new paradigm, but what is it? This is my question, before I found your site. Constructivism, autopoiesis theory, cybernetics, give answers to most of my questions. In the light of what you present in your web, I see how we can talk and discuss peacefully, how education can make an important contribution, etc. I can see everything in a very different way. A wat thay promote spontaneity, cooperation, tolerance, love, justice, equality and many others. [...]"

Another reader simply exclaims:

"No problems, just wanted to say THANK YOU! I am a student in Systems Science, and this web site is incredible!"

JOURNAL OF MEMETICS

The journal (http://www.cpm.mmu.ac.uk/jom-emit/), which is associated with PCP, is going through some reorganization, as the present managing editor (Hans-Cees Speel) is about to retire. To replace him, two new editors have joined the board, Michael Best, a computer scientist from the MIT Media Lab, and Martin de Jong, a policy analyst from Delft University of Technology. It was proposed that during an interim period of six months, Michael and Martin would assist Hans-Cees in managing the paper reviews, in order to take over completely later on.

Two other members of the editorial board, Liane Gabora and Susan Blackmore, have asked to retire as they are too busy with other activities, but they will normally remain as members of the advisory board. Several people have been nominated to join the editorial board, and a general reorganization of the board's activities are planned, but these proposals must still be discussed in depth before they can be implemented.

GLOBAL BRAIN

The Global Brain mailing list (http://cleamc11.vub.ac.be/GBRAIN-L.html) is becoming more active lately. Out of this activity, at least one concrete plan has emerged: to organize a conference on the Global Brain. At present, an organizing committee is being constituted. It will include PCP editors Francis Heylighen and Cliff Joslyn, and Global Brain Group members Ben Goertzel (overall chair) and Gottfried Mayer-Kress. The likely venue will be San Francisco, near Silicon Valley, and the proposed date would be the end of 2001. A Call for Papers and preliminary program are being prepared. They will be distributed via this and other mailing lists.


News - Jan/Feb 2001

NEW ARTICLES

Joslyn, Cliff (2001): "The Semiotics of Control and Modeling Relations in Complex Systems", Prepared for a special issue of Biosystems, a festschrift for Howard Pattee.

ftp://wwwc3.lanl.gov/pub/users/joslyn/biosystems.pdf

Howard Pattee's concept of semantic or semiotic closure has been foundational for a school of theoretical biology derived from systems theory and cybernetics. This paper proposes a conceptual analysis of some of the ideas and principles from systems theory which underlie semiotic closure, and which are fundamental to the philosophy of Principia Cybernetica. In particular, atomic control systems and models are described as the canonical forms of semiotic systems in relation to their environments. While they share measurement relations, they differ topologically in that control systems are circularly and models linearly related related to their environments.

Heylighen F. & Joslyn C. (2001): "Cybernetics and Second Order Cybernetics", in: R.A. Meyers (ed.), Encyclopedia of Physical Science & Technology (3rd ed.), (Academic Press, New York). [in press]

http://cleamc11.vub.ac.be/Papers/Cybernetics-EPST.pdf

Although it is obviously very difficult to summarize all the main ideas of cybernetics in a single paper without remaining very superficial, we believe we have managed to do a quite decent job of it, especially since several colleagues told us they would recommend it to their students. The paper provides an introduction to and overview of the main concepts (e.g. variety, feedback, closure, control, constructivism, ...) and principles (e.g. law of requisite variety, requisite hierarchy, self-organization, ...) of cybernetics. Where possible, the ideas have been made explicit using simple formulas and diagrams.

ANOTHER ACCOLADE FOR PCP WEB

The Institute for Scientific Information (ISI), a long standing organization publishing such prestigious volumes as the Science Citation Index and Current Contents, has selected PCP web for inclusion in its new Current Web Contents:

"You are publishing important, high-quality material on the Web. For this reason, ISI has selected your site http://cleamc11.vub.ac.be/DEFAULT.html for inclusion in Current Web Contents (http://www.isinet.com/isi/products/cc/cwc/webselect.html), a new section of Current Contents Connect TM.

CC Connect (http://www.isinet.com/isi/products/cc/ccconnect/cccind.html) offers Web access to Current Contents, the ISI premier current awareness database that provides information in the fields of science, social science, technology, and the arts & humanities. For more than 40 years, ISI has delivered this multidisciplinary table-of-contents database to researchers, scientists and information professionals around the world. Since its inception, this journal-based resource has reflected the strict guidelines for selection developed by the ISI Editorial Development Staff. The result is the most prestigious database available internationally.

High standards of selection -- and data quality -- have made ISI a leader in the information industry. ISI has now applied similarly high selection standards (http://www.isinet.com/isi/hot/essays/23.html), specialized to the medium, in the creation of Current Web Contents, an ever-growing collection of high-quality, scholarly Web sites. ISI editors have visited your site, reviewed it, developed a standardized descriptive record, written an abstract and created a link from CC Connect to your site."

IN MEMORIAM

Two of the most important thinkers in the cybernetics and systems field have passed away during the last month: Herbert A. Simon (on Feb. 9) and Claude E. Shannon (on Feb. 24).

Nobel laureate Herbert Simon was a truly universal mind, with contributions ranging from economics, psychology, management, evolutionary theory, and philosophy to artificial intelligence, a domain he helped to found. His focus was on the problem solving techniques that adaptive systems (people, organizations, computers, ...) use to cope with complexity. His book "The Sciences of the Artificial" provides a good introduction to his ideas. It includes his classic essay on "The Architecture of Complexity", where he proposed an evolutionary explanation for hierarchical organization, thus formulating one of the basic principles that came to underly our PCP philosophy.

Claude Shannon is the creator of the mathematical theory of information (or communication), and one of the founding members of the cybernetics group at MIT in the 1940's. A classic paper of his, "A mathematical theory of communication" (1948) had just been added the month before to our Principia Cybernetica Library. It is available at: http://cleamc11.vub.ac.be/books/Shannon-TheoryComm.pdf

More info: http://news.altavista.com/scripts/editorial.dll?ei=2402814&ern=y (Shannon obituary)

http://www.cmu.edu/home/news/herb_simon.html (Simon obituary)

GLOBAL BRAIN

The plans to organize a conference on the Global Brain are starting to get a more concrete shape. An organizing committee has been formed, together with some mailing lists for the members. At present, the plan is to hold a small-scale preparatory workshop this summer (probably hosted by the PCP office at the Free University of Brussel), and a large conference next year (probably at San Jose State University) in Silicon Valley. Several prominent people are being invited to participate, including Bill Gates and computer pioneer Douglas Engelbart. A conference website and MUD are also being prepared.


News - Mar/April 2001

There is little news in this issue of the Principia Cybernetica Newsletter, as we all have been very busy, preparing a workshop and the PhD defense of PCP assistant editor Johan Bollen among other things.

GLOBAL BRAIN

The Global Brain workshop in Brussels (July 3-5) is shaping up nicely, with some 20 scheduled talks by members of the Global Brain Group, invited speakers, and contributors whose abstract was selected by the organizing committee. There are still a few places available for last minute contributions, provided they are submitted shortly and are precisely on target. It may also be possible to attend without presenting a talk, provided you have a special interest in the matter. For all details about the program, available abstracts of talks and submissions, see .http://cleamc11.vub.ac.be/Conf/GB-0.html

JOURNAL OF MEMETICS

The new Volume 5, Issue 1 - 2001, is available, with the following content:

Articles

Mutation, Selection, And Vertical Transmission Of Theistic Memes In Religious Canons by John Gottsch (211Kb)

Is Suicide Contagious? A Case Study in Applied Memetics by Paul Marsden (47Kb)

Towards a Cognitive Memetics: Socio-Cognitive Mechanisms for Memes Selection and Spreading by Cristiano Castelfranchi (74Kb)

Reviews

The Human Agency Of Meme Machines - An extended review of The Meme Machine by Gary Boyd (26Kb)

Available at: http://www.cpm.mmu.ac.uk/jom-emit/2001/vol5/index.html#issue1


News - May/Aug 2001

As we were all very busy with the activities sketched below, the last issue of the Newsletter (to appear beginning of July) was skipped. Therefore the present issue will cover the full past 4 months.

GLOBAL BRAIN WORKSHOP

The Global Brain workshop (http://cleamc11.vub.ac.be/Conf/GB-0.html) in Brussels (July 3-5), the first ever international meeting, on this topic was quite succesful. Some 20 talks were given by members of the Global Brain Group, invited speakers, and contributors whose abstract was selected by the organizing committee. Each of the three days was concluded by an extensive discussion session.

Moreover, we had some remote participants, interacting virtually from the US. Luis Rocha, a PCP associate, followed the first two days via videos of the presentations that had been made available on a private website, and then presented his talk via webcast, commenting on some of the ideas presented previously. Kirstie Bellman and Chris Landauer gave a short demonstration of the interactive possibilities of MUDs (text-based virtual environments). Some photos and videotaped comments from participants are available at http://www.comdig.de/Conf/GB0/

The topics and approaches discussed were wide-ranging, from the emotional values that should govern the Global Brain (GB), to the use of collective intelligence for forecasting of stock prices, and the possibilities of direct brain-machine interfaces. (The page http://cleamc11.vub.ac.be/Conf/GB-0-abs.html lists the abstracts of all talks that were presented, and full papers or slide presentations for most of them.) This experience shows that there is still quite some work to do to focus GB-related thinking, and integrate the various approaches. On the other hand, the workshop succeeded in creating a real enthusiasm for further discussion and collaboration, showing that there really is a GB community emerging.

As a result of the workshop, a new mailing list was created for participants to discuss issues, together with an experimental web-based discussion system (developed by PCP assistant editor Alex Riegler). Our plans are to further develop an extensive GB-website, with all papers and other results presented at the workshop, together with some interactive demonstration systems for discussion and self-organization of ideas.

The complete workshop was registered on video by volunteers: Margeret Heath, Sascha Ignjatovic and Gottfried Mayer (who also presented a paper). These video recordings are now being edited, and will be made public on the web and on CD-ROM. Margeret Heath is also preparing a transcript of all discussions, on the basis of which she will be developing a knowledge map of the main concepts and issues. Other volunteers were responsible for the computing infrastructure: Corinne Ciechanow and Didier Durlinger, and for the practical issues of food: Michael Pleumeekers.

Although a few things still didn't work out quite as planned (the drinks for the reception that didn't arrive, and a lecture room and restaurant that were adapted to the reigning heat wave), it can be safely said that without all this volunteer effort, the workshop would have been a much less pleasant experience: so, a big thank you to all of them.

PHD DEFENSE

After a number of delays and extensive discussions of various technical points, the PhD thesis of assistant editor Johan Bollen was finally submitted to the examination committee of the Faculty of Psychology of the Free University of Brussels in June. The title of the thesis is "A cognitive model of adaptive web design and navigation". It proposes and tests a theory of how people navigate the web, together with a number of algorithms, inspired by neural mechanisms, that would allow the web to adapt to its users, thus helping them to find the information they are looking for in a more intelligent and intuitive way. The full text is available at http://www.c3.lanl.gov/~jbollen/diss_index.html

The private defense took place on July 6, the first day after the workshop. The PhD committee, which included PCP editors Francis Heylighen and Cliff Joslyn, was unanimous in its appreciation for Johan's achievements, and impressed by his mastery of the subject. The official, public defense (which is basically a formality) is planned for Oct. 23. There is no doubt that Johan will receive his doctor's degree, thus making him the first person to develop a PhD study from the beginning till the end within the Principia Cybernetica framework.

Although independent from PCP, it is worth noting that Liane Gabora, a researcher at the Center Leo Apostel which houses the Brussels office of PCP, also successfully defended her PhD thesis, on June 27. Reflecting the very wide range of the work, the jury, including Francis Heylighen, included specialists in disciplines as diverse as psychology, philosophy, archeology, biology, quantum mechanics, and AI. The thesis is entitled "Cognitive Mechanisms Underlying the Origin and Evolution of Culture", and it explores a generalized evolutionary theory that may explain the evolution of culture and especially the emergence of the capacity of the human mind to freely develop new ideas through association. For more info on this work, see http://www.vub.ac.be/CLEA/liane/

A COURSE ON EVOLUTIONARY CYBERNETICS

For the first time students have been able to follow a course wholly devoted to the basic concepts of PCP. The 30 hour course, entitled "Evolution and Complexity", was given by Francis Heylighen to philosophy undergraduates at the Free University of Brussels in Spring. The course ended in May with an oral examination on which all students succeeded. From next year on, the course will be opened up to students from other disciplines who are interested in the subject.

The course started with a historical introduction to the domains of evolutionary theory, self-organization, systems theory, cybernetics and complex adaptive systems. It then laid the foundations for an evolutionary-cybernetic world-view, by introducing the interrelated concepts of distinction, connection, state space, variety, constraint, entropy and information, pointing out their relations with the more intuitively defined concepts of order, disorder and complexity, and illustrating their meaning with plenty of concrete examples.

To tackle the problem of evolution, variation and selection were introduced. Their consequences were formulated as a set of basic principles, including the second law of thermodynamics, asymmetric transitions and the stepping stone principle. The concept of fitness was defined as the most basic selection criterion. This background made it possible to tackle the evolution of complexity, first discussing supersystem transitions leading to more structural complexity, then metasystem transitions producing higher functional complexity. The course concluded by applying this evolutionary-cybernetic framework to some eternal philosophical questions (see http://cleamc11.vub.ac.be/ETERQUES.html).

Since this was the first time ever that this material was presented to undergraduate students and organized into a self-contained whole, the course can be seen as an experiment to test in how far these complex and abstract ideas can be summarized and communicated to a lay public. The experiment has mostly succeeded, as shown by the interest and enthusiasm of the students, and the fact that they succeeded rather well in the examination. Yet, the observation that the students had difficulties keeping an overview of the whole and that they did not grasp some of the more abstract, technical points (one problem being that philosophy students lack a good mathematical background, which made it difficult for them to grasp even the most basic formula of entropy) suggests some improvements for the future.

One planned improvement is to rework the rather improvised notes that the students received at the beginning of each lecture into a coherent, textbook-like whole, available at the beginning of the course. This would clearly separate the more technical examples or applications (that require basic mathematics) from the more general conceptual elaborations, so that students who lack the mathematical background can skip these parts. The subsections would also be written as much as possible in a self-contained way, so that they can be easily converted to "nodes" for PCP web.

These lecture notes can then form the basis for a real textbook on evolutionary cybernetics, which may provide the first true successor to Ashby's 1956 "Introduction to Cybernetics" (downloadable for free at http://cleamc11.vub.ac.be/ASHBBOOK.html). The ambition to write such a textbook was in part fueled by the success encountered by our article on "Cybernetics and Second-Order Cybernetics" (http://cleamc11.vub.ac.be/Papers/Cybernetics-EPST.pdf), which several colleagues, both cybernetics experts and non-specialists, have welcomed as the best review they have read.

IN MEMORIAM FRANCISCO VARELA

Yet another important contributor to cybernetics passed away in the last few months. Francisco Varela, co-originator of the theory of autopoiesis, died on May 28 from cancer. Varela was a deep and original thinker, who starting from a background in neurophysiology, made contributions to the study of autonomous systems, self-reference, cognition, artificial life, man-machine interaction, consciousness and the working of the brain. For more details on his life and work, check the following obituaries:

http://psyche.cs.monash.edu.au/v7/psyche-7-12-thompson.html http://www.enolagaia.com/Varela.html


News - Sep/Oct 2001

PARTIAL BOARD MEETING

In October, part of the Principia Cybernetica Editorial Board (Johan Bollen, Cliff Joslyn and Francis Heylighen) met. The occasion for getting together was Johan's public PhD defense at the Free University of Brussels on Oct. 22 (see previous Newsletter), which was very succesful as expected. During the next few days, we had a little (too little!) time to discuss PCP matters, such as the concepts underlying Evolutionary Cybernetics. Afterwards, the three of us went to Barcelona, to participate as invited speakers in a one-day workshop on "The Intelligent Web": http://jornada.enredando.com/ENG/index.html

Because of the events of September 11, the workshop organizers had quite some problems to get the speakers from the USA to travel to Barcelona. Tim Berners-Lee, the creator of the world-wide web, unfortunately had to cancel his participation, while his "semantic web" collaborator, Jim Hendler, had to resort to a virtual presentation, via a high-quality, interactive video link. It initially seemed that Cliff and Johan too would not be able to travel from Los Alamos, but the problem was fortunately resolved shortly before the planned journey. In the end, the workshop went smoothly, and turned out to be a very interesting and pleasant (if tiring) experience.

VARIOUS NEWS

Articles about our "Global Brain" work have been published in two authoritative European newspapers, the German "Die Zeit" (http://www.zeit.de/2001/40/Media/200140_global_brain.html) and the French "Le Monde" (http://interactif.lemonde.fr/article/0,5611,2857--229514-0,FF.html).

Mikhail Burtsev has written a report on Evolutionary Cybernetics that was mostly inspired by PCP. It is available at http://www.keldysh.ru/mrbur-web/philosophy/ecp.htm

Claus Pias is working on a new edition of the famous "Macy Conferences", which founded the field of cybernetics. Volume 2 will contain the complete text of the five last conferences previously edited by Heinz von Foerster (1949-1953). Volume 1 will contain a selection of documents related to the first five (unpublished) conferences, and several essays about the influence of cybernetics on various domains. The essays will be published first in German, but possibly also in English translation.

We have established contact with Robert Wright, the author of "Non-Zero. The Logic of Human Destiny" (Pantheon Books, 2000) (http://www.nonzero.org/). This is a very well-written, non-technical book that develops a similar philosophy as PCP of evolutionary progress towards greater complexity, intelligence and eventually global integration of humankind. Wright retells human history (and a little bit of biological history), emphasizing the evolution of higher-order forms of cooperation and synergy allowed by non-zero sum games.


News - Nov/Dec 2001

PCP PEOPLE

After his succesful PhD defense in Brussels, PCP assistant editor Johan Bollen has accepted a faculty position at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia. He has recently moved from Los Alamos National Laboratory to ODU, where he will teach computer science and continue his research on human-machine interaction as applied to an intelligent web.

Michael Pleumeekers, an undergraduate student who helped us to organize the Global Brain Workshop in Brussels last summer, has started to work on a Master's thesis in philosophy under the guidance of PCP editor Francis Heylighen. The subject is evolutionary and constructivist epistemology,

Nick Deschacht, a graduate student in economics who made an excellent Master's thesis on the long-term evolutionary mechanisms underlying the information economy, will start to work on a PhD on the same subject, with Francis Heylighen as supervisor. He is presently writing a proposal to receive funding for this research.

Assistant editor Alex Riegler is similarly writing a research proposal to get a renewal of his 3 year PostDoc position. The subject is "Knowledge Acquisition and Representation in Closed-Loop Scientific Discovery Systems".

VARIOUS NEWS

Some members of the "Association Franaise de SystŽmique Cognitive et Technique" (http:// www.afscet.asso.fr , the French society for cognitive and technical systems science) are planning to translate our cybernetics and systems glossary into French, and to use that as a basis to develop an interactive semantic web on the subject.

David Hales, a social system simulator, and Paul Marsden, a psychologist working on contagion, have joint the "Journal of Memetics - Evolutionary Models of Information Transmission" (http://www.cpm.mmu.ac.uk/jom-emit) as managing editors, to replace Michael Best.

Nanomagazine has published an interview on the web with PCP editor Francis Heylighen, about the Global Brain and the future of the Internet: http://www.nanomagazine.com/nanomagazine/01-11-07

Pierre Levy has joined the Global Brain Group. Pierre is a French philosopher working in Canada on collective intelligence, the internet, globalization and network representations of knowledge, from a perspective inspired by cybernetics and complex systems. He has written several books and papers on the matter (in French, but one of which, "Collective Intelligence" has been translated to English and can be found in Amazon). He maintains an excellent collection of links on this subject at: http://www.mikro.org/Events/OS/wos2/Levy-pp/liensIC.html

Alex Riegler has created a flexible database of publications for the Center "Leo Apostel", the Brussels office of PCP. This means that you can now easily search and download all publications (some 100) of Francis Heylighen and Alex Riegler, some of which were co-authored by other PCP editors, Bollen, Turchin and Joslyn: http://www.vub.ac.be/CLEA/pub/index.shtml


News - Jan/Feb 2002

VARIOUS NEWS

Not a lot of news this time, as we have all been quite busy with various activities outside PCP proper. Johan Bollen has started to work in his new position at Old Dominon University, where he has two PhD students who will help him to analyse the log of our PCP web server, so as to apply and test some of our new algorithms for learning links and spreading activation.

Francis Heylighen has finished writing his lecture notes for his course on "Complexity and Evolution", which provides a simple and coherent introduction to the concepts and principles underlying the PCP approach. The lecture notes are available for free on the web, albeit only in Dutch (as the course is given in Dutch). The text counts some 140 pages, with table of contents, index, bibliography, execercises and illustrations. It has already received several very positive reactions. It will form the basis for a forthcoming textbook (in English) on evolutionary cybernetics. The course itself has started in February, with 11 students who generally seem very interested and motivated, and whose questions and comments will help us further clarify the subject. For more info on the course (in Dutch): http://cleamc11.vub.ac.be/CLEA/CompEvCursus.html

Nick Deschacht has submitted a research project on the evolutionary dynamics of the information economy, under the supervision of Francis Heylighen. His excellent Master's thesis on that subject (in Dutch) is going to receive a price from the university, and he has started to prepare a paper (in English) on the same subject.

TOP SEARCHES LEADING TO PCP WEB

A first analysis of a one week log of the PCP website has allowed us to extract the keywords that most commonly lead people to reach PCP pages from outside search engines. This means that people who enter on of the following keywords into a general search engine, such as Google or AltaVista, are referred to PCP web.

Note that these keywords are typically rather specific, technical terms. More general terms, such as "complexity", "evolution" or "self-organization" apparently seldom lead people into PCP pages, even though we provide a lot of information on those subjects. The reason is probably that there exist a lot of other websites with information on those general subjects, and therefore the probability to end up in PCP web is relatively small. For the more specific terms, on the other hand, we are probably one of the few websites that provides good info, and therefore users end up in our pages. The moral of the story is that it pays to provide a lot of specific information even if you want to propose a very general philosophical theory.

#searches search word

  • 126 occam's razor
  • 114 epistemology
  • 112 homeostasis
  • 79 peter principle
  • 71 meaning of life
  • 66 cybernetics
  • 65 prisoners' dilemma
  • 59 systems theory
  • 52 non-verbal communication
  • 47 web dictionary
  • 45 metaphysics
  • 41 hawthorne effect
  • 33 memes
  • 29 economy of scale
  • 27 conformity
  • 21 hamming distance
  • 20 game theory
  • 20 laws thermodynamics
  • 18 life
  • 17 memetics
  • 17 semiotics
  • 16 sensitivity analysis
  • 15 delphi method
  • 15 evolution theory
  • 15 general systems theory
  • 14 information overload
  • 13 law diminishing returns
  • 13 opportunity cost
  • 13 philosophical questions
  • 13 punctuated equilibrium
  • 12 cartesian product
  • 12 nietsche
  • 12 pareto optimality
  • 12 solipsism
  • 11 anomie
  • 11 externalities
  • 11 principia cybernetica

JOURNAL OF MEMETICS

A new issue (6:1) of the Journal of Memetics - Evolutionary Models of Information Transmission (which is associated with PCP) has appeared, offering the following content:

Articles

Syntactic Structure in Birdsong: Memetic Evolution of Songs or Grammars? by William Majoros (135Kb)

Darwinian Processes and Memes in Architecture: A Memetic Theory of Modernism by Nikos Salingaros and Terry Mikiten (80Kb)

The Spread of Irrational Behaviours by Contagion: An Agent Micro-Simulation by Derek Gatherer (111Kb)

Reviews

A Review of: Selection Theory and Social Construction: the evolutionary naturalistic epistemology of Donald T. Campbell - Cecilia Heyes and David Hull (eds.) by Bruce Edmonds (15Kb)

Available at: http://jom-emit.cfpm.org/2002/vol6


Copyright© 2002 Principia Cybernetica - Referencing this page

Author
F. Heylighen,

Date
Mar 15, 2002 (modified)
Jun 1, 1998 (created)

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