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Brennan Young
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Hello it's me, [IncomprehensibleID] - I thought signing in with my google id would at least put me real name in there. Google knows it, after all. Yes, Bateson's use of the word 'epistemology' differs slightly from the way it tends to be used in general philosophy, although it is strongly related. In fact it is somewhat similar to the Marxian concept of ideology - a relationship between what we believe and what we experience, or knowledge as a structured and necessarily incomplete mapping of reality. So whereas philosophers may treat epistemology as an area of study, Bateson says we all *have* an epistemology, and further - that it is a fiction (or 'figment') - however Bateson extends the concept into genetics, and reaches out for a universal truth he calls 'the pattern which connects'. In particular, he says that this pattern is to be found both in evolutionary biology and in psychology, and indeed in any of the 'cybernetic' disciplines. Oddly enough, he invokes Russell and Whitehead to make his point that 'logical type errors' lie behind most of the pickles we find ourselves in, whether they be global crises, family feuds or dead loops in software. Actually Chris I am surprised you haven't any of read his books yet because you seem to be exploring much of the same territory - which is also why I subscribe to your feed. (I have some kind of game design background too)
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Gregory Bateson has made an interesting cybernetic model of addiction - he even defines addiction is strict cybernetic terms (i.e. hard science), and his model would certainly rule out the idea that all behavior is addiction. He explores the model in various essays, but it is the centerpiece of "The Cybernetics of 'self' - a theory of alcoholism" which you can find in "Steps to an Ecology of Mind". I also remember seeing a table comparing the various 'street drugs' with each other, and amongst heroin, cocaine, alcohol etc. there was the 'control' entry 'trousers' (i.e. pants in the USA). The author sought to point out that it was not necessarily a bad thing to depend on something or to suffer withdrawal symptoms. (Imagine how you would get by if your trousers were forbidden/removed).
Toggle Commented May 30, 2009 on Behaviour as Addiction at Only a Game
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