Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Rebel GeniusWarren S. McCulloch's Transdisciplinary Life in Science$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Tara H. Abraham

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780262035095

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: September 2017

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262035095.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM MIT PRESS SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.mitpress.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright The MIT Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in MITSO for personal use.date: 23 June 2021

Introduction

Introduction

Chapter:
(p.1) 1 Introduction
Source:
Rebel Genius
Author(s):

Tara H. Abraham

Publisher:
The MIT Press
DOI:10.7551/mitpress/9780262035095.003.0001

This chapter argues that the best way to understand McCulloch’s various identities is to understand them as performatively produced. Drawing on Judith Butler’s framework of performative identity, the chapter outlines the ways that McCulloch’s identities were neither straightforward products of his own agency nor solely shaped by his context. It also argues that in spite of McCulloch’s self-fashioning as a philosopher and his characterization of cybernetics as universal and unified, McCulloch’s identities varied and the cybernetic project was anything but unified. At the heart of McCulloch’s scientific practices were his ways of asking grand humanistic questions, his penchant for theoretical modelling, and his rhetorical strategies. Much of these practices were responses to his institutional and cultural milieux. When seen in this light, McCulloch’s brand of cybernetics was less focused on command and control and more on introducing new scientific practices to the life and human sciences.

Keywords:   Performative identity, cybernetics, scientific practice, historiography, rhetorical strategies in science, discipline, modelling

MIT Press Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs, and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us.