Steps to an Ecology of Mind  

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Steps to an Ecology of Mind is a collection of Gregory Bateson's short works over his long and varied career. Subject matter includes essays on anthropology, cybernetics, psychiatry and epistemology. It was originally published by Chandler Publishing Company in 1972 (republished 2000 with foreword by Mary Catherine Bateson).

The book begins with a series of metalogues, which take the form of conversations with his daughter Mary Catherine Bateson. The metalogues are mostly thought exercises with titles such as "What is an Instinct" and "How Much Do You Know." In the metalogues, the playful dialectic structure itself is closely related to the subject matter of the piece.


Part I: Metalogues

DEFINITION: A metalogue is a conversation about some problematic subject. This conversation should be such that not only do the participants discuss the problem but the structure of the conversation as a whole is also relevant to the same subject. Only some of the conversations here presented achieve this double format.</br></br> Notably, the history of evolutionary theory is inevitably a metalogue between man and nature, in which the creation and interaction of ideas must necessarily exemplify evolutionary process.<ref>Steps To an Ecology of Mind</ref>
  • Why Do Things Get in a Muddle? (01948, previously unpublished)
  • Why Do Frenchmen? (01951, Impulse ; 01953, ETC.: A Review of General Semantics, Vol. X)
  • About Games and Being Serious (01953, ETC.: A Review of General Semantics, Vol. X)
  • How Much Do You Know? (01953, ETC.: A Review of General Semantics, Vol. X)
  • Why Do Things Have Outlines? (01953, ETC.: A Review of General Semantics, Vol. XI)
  • Why a Swan? (01954, Impulse)
  • What Is an Instinct? (01969, Sebeok, Approaches to Animal Communication)

Part II: Form and Pattern in Anthropology

Part II is a collection of anthropological writings, many of which were written while he was married to Margaret Mead.

  • Culture Contact and Schismogenesis (01935, Man, Article 199, Vol. XXXV)
  • Experiments in Thinking About Observed Ethnological Material (01940, Seventh Conference on Methods in Philosophy and the Sciences ; 01941, Philosophy of Science, Vol. 8, No. 1)
  • Morale and National Character (01942, Civilian Morale, Watson)
  • Bali: The Value System of a Steady State (01949, Social Structure: Studies Presented to A.R. Radcliffe-Brown, Fortes)
  • Style, Grace, and Information in Primitive Art (01967, A Study of Primitive Art, Forge)

Part III: Form and Pathology in Relationship

Part III is devoted to the theme of "Form and Pathology in Relationships." His essay on alcoholism examines the alcoholic state of mind, and the methodology of Alcoholics Anonymous within the framework of the then-nascent field of cybernetics.

  • Social Planning and the Concept of Deutero-Learning was a "comment on Margaret Mead's article "The Comparative Study of Culture and the Purposive Cultivation of Democratic Values," 01942, Science, Philosophy and Religion, Second Symposium)
  • A Theory of Play and Fantasy (01954, A.P.A. Regional Research Conference in Mexico City, March 11 ; 01955, A.P.A. Psychiatric Research Reports)
  • Epidemiology of a Schizophrenia (edited version of a talk, "How the Deviant Sees His Society," from 01955, at a conference on "The Epidemiology of Mental Health," Brighton, Utah)
  • Toward a Theory of Schizophrenia (01956, Behavioral Science, Vol. I, No. 4)
  • The Group Dynamics of Schizophrenia (01960)
  • Minimal Requirements for a Theory of Schizophrenia (01959)
  • Double Bind, 1969 (01969)
  • The Logical Categories of Learning and Communication (01968)
  • The Cybernetics of "Self": A Theory of Alcoholism (01971)

Part IV is a collection of writings on "Biology and Evolution."

Part V is devoted to "Epistemology and Ecology."

Part VI is entitled "Crisis in the Ecology of Mind."

See also

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