Beer and Malik
This page offers you information about a range of leading
minds in the fields of cybernetics, systems theory, computer sciences and
information and communications theory, who are not included in the Model
of a Reading List from Stafford Beer's book The Heart of Enterprise.
The majority of them are representatives of systems thinking and
transdisciplinarity, though in some individual cases their work does not have
a direct connection. However, it is characterized by a systems approach and
Anyone who sets off on a journey through the links that
we recommend will inevitably find themselves in a complex series of networks
and cycles. Most of the people involved form a strong but often only informal
We recommend that you visit the cyberneticists' sites
first, in particular if you believe you have a startling new thought, or if
you think you are on the track of an ingenious solution. If someone else has
long since asked the questions that most people are not accustomed to think
of, then you are fairly likely to find out about them from these leading
thinkers. The list is in alphabetical order. It makes no claim to be
complete, because particularly in cybernetics every ending is also a
The links listed below will take you to independent
Websites run by other operators.
The Cwarel Isaf Institute takes no
responsibility for the operation or the content of these Websites
Engineer, worked in the early days with Norbert Wiener and John von Neumann;
later a computer scientist at IBM.
Kenneth E. Boulding
One of the founding fathers of general systems theory
Cyberneticist at the Max Planck Institute for Biological
Cybernetics in Tübingen
Pioneer of biomathematics
Discovered the famous "Bremermann's Limit" that forms the
computational limit in complex systems. This is the basis of intelligent
systems design and of all the cybernetic strategies involved in variety
Eduardo Renato Caianiello
Donald T. Campbell
One of the pioneers of evolutionary epistemology
Founder of soft systems methodology
Pioneer of communications theory
Edward De Bono
One of the most important researchers into creativity. An important
cyberneticist in terms of his way of thinking, although he never uses the
term. Has published numerous books. His most important publication in this
context is "The Mechanism of Mind", 1969
Sir John Carew Eccles
Neurophysiologist and Nobel prize winner.
Co-author with Karl Popper of "The Self and Its Brain".
Friedrich A. Hayek
Economist, social theorist, order theorist, Nobel prize winner 1974.
Eminent cyberneticist, although not generally known as such. This is evident from one of his later works "Law, Legislation and Liberty", 3 volumes, London 1973 – 1979.
Systems philosopher, systems designer, evolution theorist. Applied evolution theory to social systems.
Book: "Design for Evolution".
The most important cyberneticist from the former German Democratic Republic.
One of the pioneers of St. Gallen systems-oriented management theory. Together with Hans Ulrich created the St. Gallen management model.
Charles E. Lindblom
Rolf Lohberg und Theo Lutz
The first authors writing in German to produce a "comprehensible introduction to a modern science". This is the subtitle of their book "Keiner weiss was Kybernetik ist" [No one knows what cybernetics is] that appeared for the first time in 1968 and was reprinted in 1990.
Behaviorist and evolution theorist.
Donald M. MacKay
Eminent brain scientist, and information and communications theorist, who was one of the first to investigate the meaning of information, i.e. semantics.
Margaret Mead took part from the start in the Macy conferences, where cybernetics was born. It is impossible to imagine the group of cybernetics pioneers without her, although she herself was not a cyberneticist.
The most important developmental psychologist of the 20th century.
Together with Warren McCulloch wrote "A Logical Calculus of Ideas Immanent in Nervous Activity", a pioneering work in the field of neuronal networks, the theory of automata, information technology and cybernetics.
Sir Karl R. Popper
Scientific philosopher and founder of critical rationalism.
Gilbert J. B. Probst
Physiologist who worked with Norbert Wiener and Julian Bigelow. One of their
joint papers, which appeared in 1943 in "Philosophy of Science",
was entitled "Behavior, Purpose and Teleology".
This was the first time the term "cybernetics" was used. At around
the same time Warren McCulloch and Walter Pitts published their paper "A Logical Calculus of the Ideas Immanent in Nervous
Activity" in the "Bulletin of Mathematical Biophysics". The
appearance of these two papers in 1943 is considered to represent the birth
Herbert A Simon
Decision theory, complexity theory. Nobel prize for economics.
John D. Steinbrunner
The father of the St. Gallen management model and pioneer of systems-oriented
Frederic Vester is the best-known cyberneticist in the German-speaking
countries. Originally a biochemist, he has truly unlimited creativity and is
a master of the art of didactics. Frederic Vester works closely together with
Fredmund Malik. His sensitivity model is used at the St. Gallen Management
Heinz von Foerster
Physicist and founder of the legendary Biological Computer Laboratory (BCL) at the University of Illinois. He is one of the most enigmatic pioneers of cybernetics. His books contain the most fascinating descriptions of the growth of the new scientific discipline. The film "90 Jahre Heinz von Foerster - die praktische Bedeutung seiner Arbeiten" [90 years of Heinz von Foerster – the practical significance of his work] is a vivid illustration of the development of cybernetics. He tells the story shortly before his 90th birthday. The film can be obtained from www.mzsg.ch.
John von Neumann
The father of modern computer architecture, who, together with Oskar
Morgenstern, developed game theory, that nowadays, in the form of decision
theory, has an influence on a large number of scientific fields, including
ethics and economics.
Together with Gregory Bateson described double bind
theory and played a leading role in the development of systemic family
therapy. Co-author with Janet H. Beavin and Don D. Jackson of the most
important principles of communications psychology, on a deeply biological and
His books on popular science have made a significant
contribution to the dissemination and understanding of cybernetic and
Vero C. Wynne-Edwards