The Phenomenon of Science: A Cybernetic Approach to Human Evolution

Turchin, Valentin Fedorovich

This is the first book to introduce the ideas of Metasystem Transitions Theory. It is directed at a broad, non-specialised public, and requires not more than high school mathematics. It discusses the evolution of humanity, starting from the first living cells up to human culture and science. It shows how the great advances in intelligence and cognition, from simple reflexes, to learning, thought, mathematical reasoning and the most advanced realms of metascientic analysis, can be understood as metasystem transitions, in which a higher level of control emerges. Its originality lies in the integration of a cybernetic analysis of knowledge with the trial and error process of natural selection, which creates ever higher levels in the hierarchical organization of mind. Prof. Valentin Turchin, a cyberneticist, computer scientist and physicist, started his research career in the Soviet Union, but is presently an emeritus professor at the City College of the City University of New York. He is a founding editor of the Principia Cybernetica Project. Although the original text is almost 30 years old, this visionary document is still highly relevant to our present situation and state of knowledge.

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