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Brunswik's Copy of Shannon's 1949 Book

Ryan D. Tweney

Bowling Green State University tweney@bgnet.bgsu.edu

ABSTRACT

Brunswik read Shannon's Mathematical Theory of Communication (1949) intensively, and his copy of the book has recently been obtained. His notes and underlinings reveal much about his attitudes toward information theory and to cognitive issues. In addition, notes on other books included as loose slips reveal his concerns with unified science, with the place of measurement and statistics within science, and with extensions of his theory.

All images and text Copyright 2006 by Ryan D. Tweney. Permission required for non-personal use.

Shannon’s 1949 book:

Seminal text of information theory

Used by Brunswik in Conceptual Framework of Psychology (1952):

“Shannon’s diagram showing the fanning out of ‘reasonable causes’ (messages, inputs) for a given ‘high probability received signal” or effect, and of 

‘reasonable effects’ (signals, outputs) from a given ‘high probability message’ (or cause) ‘in a channel,’ bears formal resemblance to the present writer’s diagram showing the univocal and equivocal types of ‘coupling between intra- and extraorganismic regions’ which can also be read into our diagram of the lens model.” (p. 91)

https://docs.google.com/drawings/u/0/d/sr1olRJ0r-nhBFVSCy-661w/image?w=921&h=624&rev=1&ac=1&parent=15KCBBG4tLCP6EUawBuHwRR39XLtLO1EU

https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/VhTOo1kG6YLUD4BEHEYQI_xiq7nIjqLqPNjiq7f3F1OYBvlp-XCPQk1u145Ir8OY8j93W3JvKvrMM84Iu4llMMMyx5ClmgJMEBct1tqdtOizlz0MU3Mf0EgfvtgbRrHhNZmYkbs

https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/bOOSceOOC0ZOZzUh8zioUVZUYa8m5waMOBUew0qsVN-_eUF7RoZIjNwXwsZ8YGt_zYXsj77U4Nqu3s2J0ta00rNCB_3sEwFXccUeocB7ZIW_3zqaDguiyy39mLRzgSlAdu22fFA

Shannon, p. 35

https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/nwkZ5wy5BMipIOJn0AwGslPL6YnT6ugiLbEZcDcjcUreLQYMmv1B_l1Ee2rhvWEIHS47guZ88Nu1fSQbbmtx3S_jnqvr7CcG8DQ8BJvpUvuamMmid8x7rqrOsslMUSRKG61n9ao p. 41

Conceptualhttps://lh4.googleusercontent.com/d0VeC7Kfpg6Yp1X8XH8u3l192NUMshw-NNLyf2oRl3HeoFmQUdvlXW8WLY_Kt_bjhXtdRi0184tkFw7XsyXLH8JkFO-Ff8w_PlH2v0-GQe9ELHhnnafZZ2CuOFBEpHlFUB1KYok

Foundations

(1952), p. 92

Perhaps more interesting: Inserted notes on 

WORKS READ BY BRUNSWIK

Alfred J. Lotka (1925), Elements of Physical Biology

George Kingsley Zipf (1949), Human Behavior and the Principle of Least Effort

D’Arcy W. Thompson, (1942), On Growth and Form (2nd edn, 2 vols.)

W.M. Smart (1938), Stellar Dynamics

And others, briefly noted:

Ernst Mach (1902), Science of Mechanics (as quoted by Thompson),

Boltzmann

Clausius

https://docs.google.com/drawings/u/0/d/ssBUG64luXBWBeLALJfu8Ow/image?w=904&h=655&rev=1&ac=1&parent=15KCBBG4tLCP6EUawBuHwRR39XLtLO1EU

https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/i91vz5rBs5fW_3O6znna_JIxtHaGv_iBRGpyA07VitdHwPKNjleuBw_ilcwwPBNHfw1U5CVUyqPMeKxgOmOjIHBIEnZ5VXWB3RS4lPmJYuDj85YoRIuJDiDXbmkO6aDeg7tRMR4

https://docs.google.com/drawings/u/0/d/smszUc-c6OTlg4l25auU6mQ/image?w=916&h=603&rev=1&ac=1&parent=15KCBBG4tLCP6EUawBuHwRR39XLtLO1EU

https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/9t6N11lE5C_51WfhD6OHRBxuVFNbmRJerEBOJBJ-neA2lS0sA-ceaZ57uIWsh1Rg-0ULCkFemMhpsKO1vtGFOY2y6N4wCvJD2h-2aOSsa-Gjt_4C7PTos3afb2JNwccy-qOzmPg

https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/0AEAVW5CZioo2h-EihxWP3hy_GfVfBu9sqoH6TrKOdCKZeBQ9Btj5T5cMjt9aSn6A7AZ7iwZkbHWM8QOwW_MGLFRmuR1DtM4dVIIxYALBHzUnFw22Z-AnTvgb4rswWfMLmXFVsw

https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/taftIKxHCDrUl47QeTr_aYBo1VE_ty-bMl9JkWmNZJCh5EXnHWVpiY_p2ZFsywia_JF5tTFmYw2S0L2UISDdVlHMY_z9PGlStLSqIa9CpuhyeR5zaSBW1-CEovgUdMtpKG4_oYw

https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/dNAfGVW56TYpgIuxNEXAPG_Do7Fxa2jD5b63CFomRlKnErvRXtziEeP6ju4_cV2vk6DK-kz-S3gKJyoM9d0BOaBDenncYbrJwQwmQfeghJAR7BvZb-gSzF1pu_1HqiJiNaBoWl8

https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/mTs7CNSDh4ZJwYjUvVUO_FclVHT5Y4z1Ueoddi5WMdwt8InOzoLsFQExbhlRgximHyIom8bRdT64TRcprVeam74wmEYkqZFfFdbd2E0_U5gP82lfkh1HLN7OYS_5Ms3YQVNIr7I

https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/kyUvf_T85qEPNo-Ehr1fmwq0KGNOpSebUthaig9SKNBhqDqOdAQ90YH4MMMgLuYdk4w9N7nAsDxehqZxbt0ziFmhonB29BUafL5atxuaKGFeVVQzD0uevUUUwg284c_loo2G8ZI

Some Common Themes:

Relation of Organism & Environment

Possible use of physical energy concepts Use of probability in thermodynamics:

Microstatistical vs. Macrostatistical

Methodological:

Unity of Science

Probabilistic & Statistical Analysis

These themes converge in Shannon’s book:

Information, H, is an entropy measure

Correlation of Environment & Organism (as Channel, as Receiver, 

etc.)

Macrostatistical approach

Importance of Redundancy; “Nature takes payment by requiring just that much uncertainty …” (p. 39) [limiting information to channel capacity, C]

Conclusions:

Brunswik searching for broader synthesis

Can see why both 1952 and 1956 books end with account of Shannon

Can see relation of 

Vicarious Functioning to Redundancy

Lens Model to Communication Theory

Probabilistic Functionalism to Unified Sciences

 

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