armonie del disordine

ABSTRACTS OF SOME LEONE MONTAGNINI'S PUBLICATIONS

[MONTAGNINI 1998]
MONTAGNINI, Leone, Comunicazione "ipermediale" e cultura umanistica, in «La Critica Sociologica», n.127, agosto-settembre (1998), pp. 13-27.

«Coming from mathematical and cybernetics studies with a special interest for Norbert Wiener, the author contends that there is a real possibility for a positive reconciliation between the "two cultures", and finally that there is no reason to believe that the book, as a cultural vehicle, is doomed to failure and historical disappearance».

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[MONTAGNINI 1999-2000]
MONTAGNINI, Leone, Bit & Plutonium, inc. Le relazioni tra Norbert Wiener e John von Neumann alle origini della cibernetica, in «Atti dell'Istituto Veneto di Scienze, Lettere e Arti. Classe di Scienze Fisiche, Matematiche e Naturali», 158 (1999-2000), fascicolo II, pp. 361-390.

«The outstanding contribution John von Neumann gave to the construction of modern computers are widely-known, whereas the links between his vigorous activity in this field and his engagement in the Manhattan project are rather obscure, as is von Neumann's relationship with Norbert Wiener's research work in cybernetics. This paper analyzes the close links between the two prominent scientists during and immediately after the Second World War, and emphasizes the role Norbert Wiener played in von Neumann's research in computer science. It also offers a novel picture of cybernetics as a joint effort of Wiener and von Neumann to create a general theory of biological and artificial automata, i.e. a new science meant to unify the world of life and mind with that of inanimate objects. When cybernetic research was about to include the living cell and the genetic code, suddenly between the two scientists was interrupted. After Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Wiener experienced a deep conflict of conscience and refused to take part in war-oriented scientific projects. On the other hand von Neumann became the most authoritative government adviser on nuclear weapons».

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[MONTAGNINI 2000]
MONTAGNINI, Leone, Cibernetica e guerra fredda, in «Ácoma. Rivista Internazionale di Studi Nordamericani», n. 19, primavera estate (2000), pp. 76-84.

«Cybernetics originated as an interdisciplinary science meant to develop war-oriented inquiries on digital computers, automatic systems and neurophysiology within information, communication and control theories. During the Cold War period, it provided technical and theoretical bases for building automatic guided missiles, fire-control systems and H-bomb computer systems. As a Game theory and an automatic-control theory based on feedback it also tended to become a sort of grammar for social scientists and military experts to see and influence the URSS/USA conflict. This essay outlines this process focussing on the two major figures in the field of cybernetics research, Norbert Wiener and John von Neumann.»

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[MONTAGNINI 2000-2001]
MONTAGNINI, Leone, Norbert Wiener e le scienze sociali. Il qualitativismo metodologico di un matematico, in «Atti dell'Istituto Veneto di Scienze Lettere e Arti. Classe di Scienze Fisiche, Matematiche e Naturali», n. 159 (2000-2001), fascicolo III, pp. 469-501.

«In social sciences there is «much which we must leave, whether we like it or not, to the un-'scientific', narrative method of the professional historian». In this way American mathematician Norbert Wiener concluded a chapter of his book Cybernetics showing the inapplicability of cybernetics, and of mathematics in general, to social sciences. This speech was mainly addressed to Gregory Bateson, Margaret Mead, Paul Lazarsfeld and other social scientists that, during Macy Conferences, required Wiener to include social sciences in cybernetics programs. This paper seeks to discover the complex reasons which urged the prominent mathematician to engage himself in such positions that look very much like those of the supporters of the qualitative methods in sociology. These reasons are framed within an in-depth discussion about various scientific and philosophical perspectives present in first cybernetics.»

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[MONTAGNINI 2001]
MONTAGNINI, Leone, Il bello della scienza. Aspetti qualitativi nel pensiero matematico, in «Oikos. Rivista quadrimestrale per una ecologia delle idee», 12 (2001), pp. 39-52.

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[MONTAGNINI 2002a]
MONTAGNINI, Leone, Gli occhiali nuovi di un matematico. Il periodo filosofico di Norbert Wiener, in «Atti e memorie dell'Accademia Galileiana di Scienze, Lettere ed Arti già dei Recovrati e Patavina», v. 114 (2001-2002), parte II: Memorie della Classe di Scienze Matematiche e Naturali, pp. 55-86.

«The outstanding mathematician Norbert Wiener followed a philosophical curriculum, before his forty years long appointment at M.I.T. department of mathematics. When he was a child was acquainted with W.James. He obtained his Ph.D. in philosophy at Harvard University under the Idealist philosopher Royce, after which spent a postdoctoral period under Russell, Husserl and Dewey, while wrote an amount of both philosophical and logic papers. This article studies that scarcely known period of life and thought of Wiener, bringing out the philosophical environment that influenced him, especially the influence of Pragmatism, Idealism and Bergsonianism. It outlines Wiener's very original views that anticipated the ideas of last Wittgenstein and, somehow, the outcomes of Gödel prove. When Wiener gave up philosophy for mathematics, his philosophical views will form new glasses to see universe».

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[MONTAGNINI 2002a]
MONTAGNINI, Leone, La rivoluzione cibernetica. L'evoluzione delle idee di Norbert Wiener sulla scienza e la tecnica, in «Atti e memorie dell'Accademia Galileiana di Scienze, Lettere ed Arti già dei Recovrati e Patavina», v. 114 (2001-2002), parte II: Memorie della Classe di Scienze Matematiche e Naturali, pp. 109-135.

«Giving up the world of professional philosophers, Norbert Wiener did not stop to reflect about science, engineering and their social consequences, after his appointment at M.I.T. as a mathematician in 1919. This article studies the evolution of this forty years long reflection, ranging from the period of the Great Depression to the Cold War. Astonishingly, Wiener's views of the Thirties are mainly concerned with the ideas of energy and matter: production and storage of power, air transport, cheap power from atomic fusion, and so on. Only after his war researches on computers and fire-control systems, he discovered the importance of information, and had the insight of the cybernetic revolution: the coming of a new age, a time of "control and communication", based on communication machines and concerned with information, as much as the Nineteenth century was centred on steam engines and concerned with energy and matter. In Wiener's cybernetic revolution we can trace the first appearance of what is now called "post-industrial society", "information society", "post-modern age"» [John TovT].

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[MONTAGNINI_2002a]
MONTAGNINI, Leone, Leone il Matematico, protagonista del rinascimento bizantino, in «Il Foro Ellenico», maggio-giugno (2002), pp. 16-17. (Rivista dell'Ambasciata di Grecia in Italia).

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[MONTAGNINI_2002b]
MONTAGNINI, Leone, Leone il Matematico, un anello mancante nella storia della scienza, in «Studi sull'Oriente cristiano» 6 (2002), fascicolo II, pp. 89-108. (Direttore della rivista: Gaetano Passarelli).

«This paper deals with one of the most significant scholar of Byzantium: Leo, known as “the Mathematician” or “the Philosopher”, who lived in 9th century. It prospects a general review of the historical literature about this scholar, focussing on the fundamental role played by Leo in the “traditio” of Euclides, Archimedes and the others Hellenistic scientists, not only towards the Latin Middle Ages and the Renaissance, but also towards the Arabs of the Bayt al-Hikma of Baghdad. Besides, the article suggests detailed reflections about some of the technological devices credited to Leo by medieval sources: in particular a large range optical telegraph and the automata built for the throne of the Emperor Theophilus».

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[MONTAGNINI_2003]
MONTAGNINI, Leone, Bibliografia su “Innovazione e Responsabilità nella Information Society”, Bibliografia, ragionata e guidata, con numerosi abstracts dei titoli, Giugno-Luglio 2003.

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[MONTAGNINI_2010b]
MONTAGNINI, Leone, Identities and Differences. A stimulating aspect of Early Cybernetics. In: R. Trappl, editor., in Cybernetics and Systems 2010, pp. 157-162.

«The paper wants to present and discuss an aspect of the method followed in Early Cybernetics, that, in the author’s opinion, can be described as a “Heuristic Strategy through Identities and Differences”. This method is described on the basis of a rereading of some texts, as Rosenblueth et al. (1943), and some papers and discussions on the parallel between brain and computers».

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[MONTAGNINI_2005]
The book MONTAGNINI, Leone, Le armonie del disordine. Norbert Wiener, matematico-filosofo del Novecento, Venezia, Istituto Veneto di Scienze Lettere ed Arti, 2005 (XVI, 314 pagine).

«The book Le armonie del disordine traces the intellectual itinerary of the distinguished mathematician, Norbert Wiener, one of the fathers of – among other things – what is today known as computer science. He was one of the first and most profound interpreters of the information society, a scholar who, as far back as the 1950's, was involved in such concepts as teleworking, limits to growth, and automatic factories without workers. Compared with other works on Wiener, this book stands out for its in depth research into his training among the major Anglo–American philosophers of the beginning of the Twentieth century. Leone Montagnini, M.A. in Philosophy and M.A. in Sociology, brings an extensive scientific background to bear on the influence of Wiener's philosophy on his later work as a mathematician, his reflections on the science and technology of the Thirties as well as on his research during the war years is shown, casting new light to his later books, from Cybernetics to God & Golem, inc.» [Giovanni Tovt]

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