Book Review: The Cybernetic Brain, by Andrew Pickering

Download the COMPLETE book review: The Cybernetic Brain, by Pickering

In this critical review I try to point out the flaws of the book and expose the weak arguments of Pickering. The book is awful. It is probably one of the worst books I have read. Aside from the egotistic and narcissistic tone of Pickering, it is full of misunderstandings and theoretical distortions.

Its sole purpose is to distort theoretical traditions and original thought so they can fit in the “intellectual” agenda of the author, who tries to portray himself as an all-knowledgeable, well-establish thinker. The book refers constantly to Heideggerian ontology, but it is far away from even touching any of the actual thoughts of Heidegger. Not to mention the references to Eastern philosophy, which are systematically mistaken in order to give a sense of spirituality to cybernetics. His idea – agenda – was to use Heidegger and the roots of phenomenology to support the general claims and positions of cybernetics, as understood by the author.

Actually, the book pretends to be a story of cybernetics. But it is more an awkward self-tribute and an example of bad scholarship, that consists of the distortion of ideas to fit in personal-intellectual agendas, a poisoned rhetoric that attacks the very principle of scientific and intellectual work, which is the collective development of knowledge.

If you want to read the complete book review, with the detailed arguments, download the PDF

I wrote this review for Jean François Blanchette PhD course, Theoretical traditions in Information Studies (Winter 2013), IS Department at UCLA.

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