Kybernetika 44 no. 3, 299-306, 2008

Sixty years of cybernetics: the philosophical foundations of cybernetics

Ladislav Tondl


The interdisciplinary workshops, focused on methodological and philosophical aspects, have helped - and still undoubtedly are helping - in forging links among different members of the academic community or research teams, which are today described as "intellectual networks" or "invisible colleges". Their focus of interest is known to transcend the boundaries of the traditionally divided scientific disciplines or research areas. That is also why the network that was instrumental in shaping the genesis of cybernetics includes, to this day, the names of C.Shannon, the pioneer of the mathematical theory of information, J.von Neumann, the founder of the theory of games and decision-making, linguist R.Jakobson, the above-mentioned specialists in the medicine- and biology-oriented branches, and many other scholars. Similar conceptions and aspirations connected therewith also proved to be conducive to the emergence and expansion of the works and studies devoted to the role of the sign, its creation, significance and function in communication, i.e. semantics and semiotics. Efforts were made to uncover more profound links and subsequently to outline paths leading to a unification of different scientific domains, particularly by integrating the language of science. There was a mounting interest in methodological and epistemological problems and - generally speaking - in finding ways and means of attaining more profound and thorough learning. All these and similar tendencies had and still have one common trait: they kept enhancing respect, weight and significance attached to mathematics, to mathematical methods of expressing and depicting problems, and to mathematical thinking in general.