Conversation, design and ethics: the cybernetics of Ranulph Glanville

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One of the major themes of Ranulph Glanville’s work has been the intimate connection between cybernetics and design, the two principle disciplines that he has worked in and contributed to. In this paper I review the significance of the analogy that he proposes between the two and its connection to his concerns with, firstly, the cybernetic practice of cybernetics and, secondly, the relation between cybernetics and ethics. I propose that by putting the cybernetics-design analogy together with the idea that in cybernetics epistemological and ethical questions coincide, we can understand design as not just a form ofcybernetic practice but also one in which ethical questions are implicit.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationRanulph Glanville and how to live the cybernetics of unknowing
EditorsS. Brier, P. Guddemi, L.H. Kauffman
Place of PublicationExeter, UK
PublisherImprint Academic
Number of pages7
ISBN (Print)9781845409012
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2016


  • cybernetics
  • design
  • ethics
  • conversation theory


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