Principia Cybernetica Symposium-CFP

Francis Heylighen fheyligh at VNET3.VUB.AC.BE
Wed Mar 18 03:50:55 EST 1992

                      Call For Papers

     *      computer-supported cooperative development       *
     *        of an evolutionary-systemic philosophy         *

                        as part of the

            13th International Congress on Cybernetics
               NAMUR (Belgium), August 24-28, 1992


About the Principia Cybernetica Project
The Principia Cybernetica Project (PCP) is a collaborative attempt to
develop a complete and consistent cybernetic philosophy. Such a
philosophical system should arise from a transdisciplinary unification and
foundation of the domain of Systems Theory and Cybernetics. Similar to the
metamathematical character of Whitehead and Russell's "Principia
Mathematica", PCP is meta-cybernetical in that we intend to use cybernetic
tools and methods to analyze and develop cybernetic theory.

   These include the computer-based tools of hypertext, electronic mail,
and knowledge structuring software. They are meant to support the process
of collaborative theory-building by a variety of contributors, with
different backgrounds and living in different parts of the world.

   As its name implies, PCP will focus on the clarification of fundamental
concepts and principles of the cybernetics and systems domain. Concepts
include: Complexity, Information, System, Freedom, Control,
Self-organization, Emergence, etc. Principles include the Laws of Requisite
Variety, of Requisite Hierarchy, and of Regulatory Models.

   The PCP philosophical system is seen as a clearly thought out and
well-formulated, global "world view", integrating the different domains of
knowledge and experience. It should provide an answer to the basic
questions: "Who am I? Where do I come from? Where am I going to?". The PCP
philosophy is systemic and evolutionary, based on the spontaneous emergence
of higher levels of organization or control (metasystem transitions)
through blind variation and natural selection. It includes:

 a) a metaphysics, based on processes or actions as ontological primitives,

 b) an epistemology, which understands knowledge as constructed by the
subject, but undergoing selection by the environment;

 c) an ethics, with survival and the continuance of the process of
evolution as supreme values.

   PCP is to be developed as a dynamic, multi-dimensional conceptual
network. The basic architecture consists of nodes, containing expositions
and definitions of concepts, connected by links, representing the
associations that exist between the concepts. Both nodes and links can
belong to different types, expressing different semantic and practical

   Philosophy and implementation of PCP are united by their common
framework based on cybernetical and evolutionary principles: the
computer-support system is intended to amplify the spontaneous development
of knowledge which forms the main theme of the philosophy.

PCP is managed by a board of editors (presently V. Turchin [CUNY, New
York], C. Joslyn [NASA and SUNY Binghamton] and F. Heylighen [Free Univ. of
Brussels]). Contributors are kept informed through the Principia
Cybernetica Newsletter, distributed in print and by email, and the PRNCYB-L
electronic discussion group, administered by C. Joslyn (for subscription,
contact him at cjoslyn at Further activities of
PCP are publications in journals or books, and the organization of meetings
or symposia. For more information, contact F. Heylighen at the address

About the Symposium
After the succesful organization of a symposium on "Cybernetics and Human
Values" at the 8th World Congress of Systems and Cybernetics (New York,
June 1990), and of the "1st Workshop of the Principia Cybernetica Project"
(Brussels, July 1991), the third official activity of the Principia
Cybernetica Project will be a Symposium held at the 13th Int. Congress on

The informal symposium will allow researchers potentially interested in
contributing the Project to meet. The emphasis will be on discussion,
rather than on formal presentation. Contributors are encouraged to read
some of the available texts on the PCP in order to get acquainted with the
main issues (Newsletter available on request from the Symposium Chairman).

Papers can be submitted on one or several of the following topics:

The Principia Cybernetica Project
Cybernetic Concepts and Principles
Evolutionary Philosophy
Knowledge Development
Computer-Support Systems for Collaborative Theory Building

About the Congress
The International Congresses on Cybernetics are organized triannually
(since 1956) by the Intern. Association of Cybernetics (IAC), whose
founding members include W.R. Ashby, S. Beer and G. Pask. The 13th Congress
takes place in the "Institut d'Informatique, Facultes Universitaires
Notre-Dame de la Paix, 21 rue Grandgagnage, B-5000 Namur, Belgium". The
official congress languages are English and French.

Namur is a quiet little city on the confluence of the Meuse and Sambre
rivers, at the foot of a hill supporting impressive medieval
fortifications. The congress atmosphere is relaxed and informal, with a lot
of small symposia going on in parallel in adjacent rooms. There will be a
welcome cocktail, a congress dinner, and a meeting room available for
coffee breaks. Participants will receive a list of nearby hotels after
sending in the registration form. They can also reserve inexpensive
accommodation in student rooms.

Registration fee :
members of the IAC and authors of papers:      6000 BF (about $180)
other participants:                           10000 BF (about $300)
Young researchers under 30 years               2000 BF (about $60)
(with certificate of their university)

The fee covers congress attendance, conference abstracts and coffee-breaks.

Partial Congress Programme
The Congress will feature over 30 symposia, including the following:

Evolutions and Metaevolutions from the Point of View of the Invariants
Associated to the Transformation Groups

BAHG C. (China)
Complex Systems and their Evolution

COLLOT F-C. (France)
Les notions de temps et d' e'volution en Cyberne'tique

FRANCOIS C. (Argentina)
Les syst`emes humains home'ostatiques ou e'mergents

HEYLIGHEN F. (Belgium)
The Principia Cybernetica Project : Computer-supported Cooperative
Development of an Evolutionary-systemic Philosophy

JDANKO A. (Israel)
- Cybernetic Systems Approach to History
- Cybernetic Systems Interpretation of the Religious Idea : From the
Primitive to the Monotheist

Cybernetics and Human Behaviour

GELEPITHIS P.(United Kingdom)
Invariants of Cognitive Science : Scope, Limits, Implications

Determinacy and Indeterminacy in Complex Systems

VANDAMME F. (Belgium)
Cognitive Modelling for Knowledge and Information Technology : Manual
and Automatic Tools

Submission of papers
People wishing to present a paper in the Principia Cybernetica symposium
should quickly send the filled-in application form below, together with an
abstract of max. 1 page, to the addresses of the Symposium chairman
(Francis Heylighen) and of the Congress secretariat (IAC) below.
Submissions or requests to the chairman can be done directly by email, but
for the secretariat it is advisable to also send an application in paper
form. All applications should be received by March 31, 1992. People wishing
to present a paper in a different symposium can directly submit their
abstract to the secretariat.

   You will be notified about acceptance not later than 1 month after
receipt of the  abstract, and will receive instructions for the preparation
of the final text. Final papers (max. 5 pages) should be ready by the end
of the congress. Abstracts will be published in Symposium booklets
available at the Congress. The Proceedings will be published by the IAC
about 1 year after the congress.


* for abstract submission:                            March 31, 1992
* for final texts (max 5 pages):                August 28, 1992


For submissions of papers or further information about the Principia
Cybernetica project, contact the symposium chairman:

Dr. Francis Heylighen
PO-PESP, Free Univ. Brussels, Pleinlaan 2, B-1050 Brussels, Belgium
Phone   +32 - 2 - 641 25 25     Email  fheyligh at
Fax     +32 - 2 - 641 24 89     Telex  61051 VUBCO B

More information about the Neur-sci mailing list