Editor’s Introduction - Issue 21.3

The collected works of Warren S. McCulloch are vast. Our goal in re-introducing them through this four-part series in E:CO is to whet the reader’s appetite for the wealth of insight found in the full four-volume collection. We also hope to excite the researcher with our use of latent semantic analysis tools in creating a context in which to place the McCulloch works. The 30+ years during which the collection lay fallow deprived current day researchers of a what should have been a rich intellectual ecology to situate the works. Our goal with the use of technology is to provide researchers with a similar intellectual habitus.

The third issue in this four-part series begins with a review article by Stuart Umpleby the President of the International Academy for Systems and the Cybernetic Sciences (and a past President of the ASC). It contains five articles by McCulloch:

  1. The projection of the frontal lobe on the hypothalamus, Volume 2, Chapter 50, cited 143 times.
  2. A recapitulation of the theory with a forecast of several extensions, Volume 2, Chapter 59, cited 30 times.
  3. Reflex inhibition by dorsal root interaction, Volume 3, Chapter 90, cited 173 times.
  4. Agathe Tyche, of nervous nets, Volume 3, Chapter 101, cited 74 times.
  5. What's in the brain that ink may character? , Volume 4, Chapter 122, cited 27 times.

There are, of course, some commonalities amongst the articles. When their contents are run through the American Society for Cybernetic’s epi-search software the following are displayed as recommended book from the ASC’s ISCE Library:

ISCE Library Recommendations of “Related Books”

The projection of the frontal lobe on the hypothalamus

A recapitulation of the theory with a forecast of several extensions

Reflex inhibition by dorsal root interaction

Agathe Tyche, of nervous nets

What's in the brain that ink may character?

This subset of articles is focused on the brain, the mind and the make-up of cognition. In addition, the notions of Science, Neuroscience, Philosophy, Understanding, and Biology underlie the commonalities in the articles. Running the full text of all the articles combined through a key concept extractor highlights a different aspect of these articles: their common concern with the mechanics of the brain itself: Cortex, Nucleus, Nuclei, Hypothalamus, Posterior, Projections, Lobe, Surface, Feedback, and Circuits. A word cloud of the five articles in this issue shows: Activity, Afferent, Area, Case, Cell, Central, Change, Compute, Conditioning, Cortex, Current, Different, Dorsal, Electrode, Error, Feedback, Fibers, Figure, Form, Formula, Frac, Functions, Impulses, Inhibition, Jot, Logic, Mechanism, Msec, Nervous, Net, Neurons, Number, Organism, Partial, Point, Possible, Potential, Propositions, Recording, Relations, Requires, Root, Signal, Stability, Stimulation, Structure, System, Threshold, Values, and Volley. This confirms the emphasis on brain mechanisms.

Similar analyses are shown for each of the articles. We have prepared a word cloud, extracted key concepts or topics, and run several key word generatorsall with a goal of finding a good short-hand representation of the article itself over and above the abstract of the article prepared by the author. When these shorthand representations are combined (using the ASC’s epi-search technology or its equivalentwe recommend http://findrelatedbooks.com), it becomes possible to look for related books and articles which build upon the original McCulloch article and illustrate where a contemporary researcher might find linkages and inspiration. Thus the shorthand representations are followed by a list of prominent works which cite the McCulloch article (citations per Google Scholar) and a list each of related articles (Google Scholar) and books (Google books) derived by running the complete shorthand representation (abstract plus word cloud plus concepts plus keywords) through the recommendation engine at http://findrelatedbooks.com. It is our intent that by providing this material current day researchers will be able to quickly see how a given McCulloch article relates to their own work or to works they are interested in.

What I find to be of the most interest is locating the McCulloch articles in the current context of today. When I use epi-search on the collection of citations, related articles, and related books from each of the five McCulloch pieces in this issue, the following list of related books is produced:

Fundamental NeuroscienceLarry Squire, ‎Floyd E. Bloom, ‎Nicholas C. Spitzer, 2008http://asclinks.live/vp5w
Micro-, Meso- and Macro-Dynamics of the BrainGyörgy Buzsáki, ‎Yves Christen, 2016http://asclinks.live/xoou
The Dynamic Brain: An Exploration of Neuronal Variability and its Functional SignificanceMingzhou Ding, ‎Dennis Glanzman, 2011http://asclinks.live/oq0c
Cerebral Cortex: Principles of OperationEdmund T. Rolls, 2018http://asclinks.live/sro5
Embodiments of MindWarren S. McCulloch, 2016http://asclinks.live/hgqa
Cortex and Mind : Unifying Cognition: Unifying CognitionJoaquin M. Fuster 2002,http://asclinks.live/maqg
Neuroergonomics: A Cognitive Neuroscience Approach to Human Factors and ErgonomicsA. Johnson, ‎R. Proctor, 2013http://asclinks.live/zp93
Dream Consciousness: Allan Hobson’s New Approach to the Brain and Its MindNicholas Tranquillo, 2014http://asclinks.live/c5zp
Psychiatric NeuroimagingVirginia Ng, ‎Gareth J. Barker, ‎Talma Hendler, 2003http://asclinks.live/11jz
Behavioral Neuroscience of MotivationEleanor H. Simpson, ‎Peter D. Balsam, 2016http://asclinks.live/0l6i
Neuroeconomic and Behavioral Aspects of Decision Making: Proceedings of the 2016 Computational Methods in Experimental Economics (CMEE) ConferenceKesra Nermend, ‎Małgorzata Łatuszyńska, 2017http://asclinks.live/ln72
Spike-timing dependent plasticityHenry Markram, ‎Wulfram Gerstner, ‎Per Jesper Sjöström,http://asclinks.live/bkvc
Neurophysiology of ConsciousnessBenjamin Libet, 2012http://asclinks.live/eocn
Brain-Computer Interfaces: Principles and PracticeJonathan Wolpaw, ‎Elizabeth Winter Wolpaw, 2012http://asclinks.live/y1ma
The Neuronal Codes of the CerebellumDetlef Heck, 2015http://asclinks.live/ac7c
Cortex: Statistics and Geometry of Neuronal ConnectivityValentino Braitenberg, ‎Almut Schüz, 2013http://asclinks.live/x8vv

What this collection demonstrates is the high relevance of McCulloch's work to current research. These works, in turn, are focused around the following keywords or concepts: Brain, Cortex, Cybernetics, Science, Neuroscience, Stimulation, Neurons, Psychology, Theory, Physiology.

The lists of concepts and key words can, of course, be used to find related material from any corpus. For example, if one wanted to find items in the JStor collection related to these five articles as a group, the following search would be entered into Google: site:jstor.org Brain, Cortex, Cybernetics, Science, Neuroscience, Stimulation, Neurons, Psychology, Theory, Physiology.

This results in:

Self-Organization in the Dreaming Brain S Krippner, ‎2000https://www.jstor.org/stable/43853940
Dissolution of the Binding Problem VG Hardcastle, ‎1996https://www.jstor.org/stable/43854140
Experience and Brain Development WT Greenough, ‎1987https://www.jstor.org/stable/1130197
Man as Machine: A Review of "Memory and the Computational Brain: Why Cognitive Science Will Transform Neuroscience"JW Donahoe, ‎2010https://www.jstor.org/stable/41806290
Mirror Neuron Forum V Gallese, ‎2011https://www.jstor.org/stable/41613510
correlating consciousness: a view from empirical science A CLEEREMANS, ‎1999https://www.jstor.org/stable/23955733
central nervous system and computation D Guidolin, ‎2011https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1086/662456
125 Years of Perceptual-Motor Skill ResearchD Elliott, ‎2012https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.5406/amerjpsyc.125.1.0009
The Nervous System and General Semantics: IV. The Fiction of the Thalamus as the Neural Center of EmotionsR MEYERS, ‎1950https://www.jstor.org/stable/42580889
A Biofunctional Model of Distributed Mental Content, Mental Structures, Awareness, and AttentionA Iran Nejad, ‎1984https://www.jstor.org/stable/43853321
A Theory of Hemispheric Specialization Based on Cortical ColumnsRA Moss, ‎2012https://www.jstor.org/stable/43854339
Where are the Cyborgs in Cybernetics? R Kline, ‎2009https://www.jstor.org/stable/27793297
Humbled BY HISTORYRB Illing, ‎2004https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.2307/24939370
Psychobiological Politics G Schubert, ‎1983https://www.jstor.org/stable/3227395
The Explanatory Force of Dynamical and Mathematical Models in Neuroscience: A Mechanistic PerspectiveDM Kaplan, ‎2011https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1086/661755
The Status of Brain in the Concept of Mind H Cohen, ‎1952https://www.jstor.org/stable/3747963
The life of the cortical column: opening the domain of functional architecture of the cortexP Haueis, ‎2016https://www.jstor.org/stable/44752340
Cranial Capacity, Neural Reorganization, and Hominid Evolution: A Search for More Suitable ParametersRL Holloway, ‎1966https://www.jstor.org/stable/668065
Marr on Computational-Level Theories by O Shagrir, ‎2010https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1086/656005
The Age of Neuroelectronics A Keiper, ‎2006https://www.jstor.org/stable/43152218
The Turn to Affect: A Critique R Leys, ‎2011https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1086/659353
The Neural Time - Factor in Perception, Volition and Free WillB Libet, ‎1992https://www.jstor.org/stable/40903218
Nonlinear Neurodynamics of Intentionality WJ Freeman, ‎1997https://www.jstor.org/stable/43853825

This list of JStor articles shown above is yet another good representation of the work in this issue.

At the end of each article we present the results of the "epi-search" analysis: first a word cloud list of the fifty most used words in the article, then the "topics" as analyzed by the software, and three lists of keywords: the final output of our analysis (generated from the "lexical profile" of the article, a preliminary list generated from the full text of the article using the epi-search software, and a similar list compiled using software from cortical.io.) These are then followed by a list of the top articles which Google Scholar shows to be citing that McCulloch article, a list of "related articles" produced by using the final keywords from the epi-search software as a search in Google Scholar, and a list of "related books" produced by using the final keywords from the epi-search software as a search in Google Books. There will be similar “end pieces” for each McCulloch article in this series.

On behalf of the American Society for Cybernetics, it is my great honor to welcome you to a contemporary read of the great works of Warren S. McCulloch.

Michael Lissack

President, American Society for Cybernetics and Founding Editor, E:CO, Emergence and Complexity in Organizations