Analog-Digital Bibliography by Alan Sondheim
last edited 3 years ago by sbaldwin
Short bibliography on analytical/digital thinking vis-a-vis semiotics.
Most of this material is fairly old; use with care! The concepts are there, hovering in the background, however.
Barthes, Roland, Elements of Semiology, Noonday, 1967. As with S/Z a literary semiotics, not so useful epistemologically, but phenomenologically of great value.
Barthes, Roland, S/Z, Hill and Wang, 1974. On literary codes, of some use. As with Elements of Semiology, the definitions are largely philosophical, somewhat inexact, but more than useful in considerations of the lifeworld. (See The Fashion System as well.)
Bateson, Gregory, and Mead, Margaret, Balinese Character: A Photographic Analysis, New York Academy of Sciences, 1962 (1942). Sign/psychoanalytics/culture/signifiers/rites/rituals. A seminal work.
Bateson, Gregory, Gregory Bateson’s Mind and Nature: A Necessary Unity, Bantam, 1980. I find Bateson fun, frustrating, useful. Good material on hierarchy, logical types, analog/digital, etc.
Bateson, Gregory, Steps to an Ecology of Mind, Ballantine, 1972. Equally frustrating, fun, and useful. Much on the epistemology of cybernetics, coding, redundancy, etc.
Bruck, R. Hubert, A Survey of Binary Systems, Springer-Verlag, 1966. Like the Piaget volume, analysis and classification of binary relations, from groupoids on.
Colapietro, Vincent, Glossary of Semiotics, Paragon, 1993. Succinct definitions, glossary, useful as a beginning.
Eco, Umberto, A Theory of Semiotics, Indiana, 1976. Probably the most useful work on code, language, sign production.
Gardenfors, Peter, Conceptual Spaces: The Geometry of Thought, MIT, 2000. Material on Semantics, properties, Voronoi tessellations, and other material incredibly useful.
Kristeva, Julia, Le texte du roman, Mouton, 1970. Literary semanalyse, covers actants, operators of recit, etc.
Kristeva, Julia, Rey-Debove, Josette, and Uniker, Donna, editors, Essays in Semiotics / Essais de Semiotique, Mouton, 1971. Essays by Todorov, Sebeok, Birdwhistle, Genette, Hymes, Metz, Pontalis, von Bertanlanffy, Guiraud, Derrida, Lotman, Kristeva, and others. Extremely useful.
Piaget, Jean, Essai de Logique Operatoire, Dunod, 1971. Valuable book on the fundamental processes of propositional logic etc, and its relationship to trellises, processes, etc.
Ruesch, Jurgen, Semiotic Approaches to Human Relations, Mouton, 1972. I find this oddly useful; it presents a theory of communication, analysis of rules, etc., all from a psychoanalytical / semiotic position.
Ruesch, Jurgen, and Bateson, Gregory, Communication: The Social Matrix of Psychiatry, Norton, 1968 (1951). An early work by both, including a chapter by Bateson on “Information and Codification.”
Schreider, Ju. A., Equality, Resemblance, and Order, Mir, 1975. An amazing book on order, equivalence, tolerance, “General Concept of a Text.” This book should be much better known; it was published in Moscow and might be hard to find today.
Sebeok, Thomas, and Ramsay, Alexandra, editors, Approaches to Animal Communication, Mouton, 1969. Essays by Sebeok, Bateson, Moles, Carpenter, etc. Outdated of course (like many of the books here) but valuable for the approach.
Simon, Herbert A., The Sciences of the Artificial, MIT, 1969. Development of the idea of nearly-decomposable hierarchies.
Sondheim, Alan, The Structure of Reality, NSCAD and Williams College, 1977 (bound xerox). Coming to grips with structure, transformation, “immersive” and “experiential” hierarchies, etc.
The Way Things Work Book of the Computer: An Illustrated Encyclopedia of Information Science, Cybernetics, and Data Processing, Simon and Schuster, 1974, from the original 1969 German edition. This is very little about computers and a great deal about information, processing, and so forth. Heavily illustrated and a fun/useful read.
Thom, Rene, Modeles mathematiques de la morphogenese, Inedit, 1974. Additional essays on catastrophe theory, including material on linguistics.
Thom, Rene, Paraboles et Catastrophes, Flammarion, 1980. Interviews with Thom on science, catastrophe, epistemology, philosophy. A follow-up to the other work.
Thom, Rene, Structural Stability and Morphogenesis: An Outline of a General Theory of Models, Benjamin, 1975. What, today, is most of use here is the section “From Animal to Man: Thought and Language” which develops a fundamental morphology of language/behavior, stemming from his “elementary” catastrophes.
Waddington, C. H., editor, Towards a Theoretical Biology, 4 volumes, Aldine, International Union of Biological Sciences, 1968. A seminal collection that appeared over several years; contributors include Waddington, Bateson, Thom, Pattee, etc. While Waddington’s chreod theory is somewhat discredited, it had a great influence on Thom. These books exist at the intersection of biology, cybernetics, fledgling computer science and cognitive science.
Wark, McKenzie?, A Hacker Manifesto, Harvard, 2004. Information/production/property/class/etc. I’ve found this valuable in its relation to both Marx and abstraction.
Werner, Heinz, and Kaplan, Bernard, Symbol Formation: An Organismic-Developmental Approach to Language and the Expression of Thought, Wiley, 1963. Another early but extremely relevant book. The phenomenology of language, visual sign, etc. In other words, a philosophical approach to specificity from a broadened psychology.
Wiener, Norbert, Cybernetics: Or Control and Communication in the Animal and the Machine, MIT, 1948 (first edition). The classic of cybernetics, with material on information, society, self-organizing systems, and a great deal of mathematics.
Wiener, Norbert, The Human Use of Human Beings, Cybernetics and Society, Anchor, 1950/54. Philosophical and social implications of cybernetics.
Wilden, Anthony, System and Structure: Essays in Communication and Exchange, 2nd edition, Tavistock, 1980. Contains just about the only detailed analysis of analog and digital orders. Wilden is an early interpreter of Lacan.
Wolfram, Stephen, A New Kind of Science, Wolfram Media, 2002. What is ultimately a radically new way of thinking through the real of fundamental physics and the discrete.
... —sbaldwin, Mon, 04 Apr 2005 13:31:03 -0400 reply
I’m going to periodically supplement Alan’s list.
One I find useful is: The Universal Turing Machine, A Half-Century Survey. ed. Rolf Herken. Oxford University Press, Oxford, 1988. The universal Turing Machine and its correlate, the physical Church-Turing thesis, promised that all systems, including physical systems, could be modelled algorithmically/digitally. This book reviews the history of this notion and surrounding debates. Its relatively technical. A pdf of one of the best chapters, Charles Bennett’s account of “Logical Depth and Physical Complexity,” is here.
Levi-Strauss—sbaldwin, Thu, 05 May 2005 09:35:44 -0400 reply
Much of Claude Levi-Strauss’ structural anthropology presumed social organization sprang from organizing (cutting up?) the continuum into the discrete. While he only occasionally refers to this in terms of the analog / digital, it’s clearly the same process. Often there’s a kind of trickster figure involved in this change, and the insertion of some kind of object – something that breaks the continuous / analog – a digitizing technology, as it were. I think a good reference is The Savage Mind, which also draws on information theory in interesting ways. Not sure who Levi-Strauss is thinking of when he writes about information theory: perhaps Shannon & Weaver, and it’s important to note the wartime years L-S spent in New York, but it may also be a French source like Moles.