International Encyclopedia of Systems and Cybernetics

2nd Edition, as published by Charles François 2004 Presented by the Bertalanffy Center for the Study of Systems Science Vienna for public access.


The International Encyclopedia of Systems and Cybernetics was first edited and published by the system scientist Charles François in 1997. The online version that is provided here was based on the 2nd edition in 2004. It was uploaded and gifted to the center by ASC president Michael Lissack in 2019; the BCSSS purchased the rights for the re-publication of this volume in 200?. In 2018, the original editor expressed his wish to pass on the stewardship over the maintenance and further development of the encyclopedia to the Bertalanffy Center. In the future, the BCSSS seeks to further develop the encyclopedia by open collaboration within the systems sciences. Until the center has found and been able to implement an adequate technical solution for this, the static website is made accessible for the benefit of public scholarship and education.


MIND (Society of the) 2)4)5)

A model of the brain as a vast network of elements (neurons) constantly and simultaneously interacting in multiple and varied ways.

This model has been elaborated by M. MINSKY (1986). It is closely related to von NEUMANN's initial work on reliability in automata; to Mc CULLOCH and PITTS's neuron model, to ROSENBLATT's perceptron (heavily criticized by MINSKY around 1960) and to MINSKY's own early work on a neural network model.

Curiously however, MINSKY manages to construct an impressive, but nearly completely abstract model of the "mind" without practically refering himself to nerves, and still less to neurones, which one should suppose to be the "agents" he invoques as the basic elements whose interactions lead to the emergence of the " mind" as an organized society.

Quite surprisingly, and except for quotes at the begining of each chapter – mostly from novelists and philosophers unrelated to the subject – his book does not contain references to works by biologists, physiologists and neurologists. However it contains numerous figures and graphs that look like abstracted forms of neural connections and paths of interactions. At first Sight, there is thus no incompatibility between his model and neuro-biological research of the last 50 years, of which one may surmise that he has a good knowledge.

The abstract character of his model may have been at least partly motivated by his belief that it would be possible to construct computers (made of interconnected and interactive agents – in this case electronic; and working in parallel), able to mimic higher cerebral and mental functions.

The model could also probably be used to study the "societies of minds", i.e. interactive cooperative minds, which are a universal feature of human groups and in a near future, the massive planetary society of brains that seems to be now in the making.

K. BAUSCH gives an interesting synthesis of many of the foregoing opinions: "Mind emerges from relations among physical entities but is not itself a physical entity. It is an emergent constellation of patterns and processes generated through the interaction of neurons and the general transceiver functions of the brain in interaction with the embedding holographic memory field "(Glossary, pers. comm., 2002)



  • 1) General information
  • 2) Methodology or model
  • 3) Epistemology, ontology and semantics
  • 4) Human sciences
  • 5) Discipline oriented


Bertalanffy Center for the Study of Systems Science(2020).

To cite this page, please use the following information:

Bertalanffy Center for the Study of Systems Science (2020). Title of the entry. In Charles François (Ed.), International Encyclopedia of Systems and Cybernetics (2). Retrieved from www.systemspedia.org/[full/url]

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