I am grateful to those who have done me the honour of asking me to give this address. I am also diffident, for I am conscious of being a stranger to the disciplines of the Faculty which has invited me. I approach my subject not as a scientist but as a layman, turning to science in search of the tools which he needs for his work.


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Notes and References

  1. 1.
    For a recent statement of this view I am indebted to Bertalanffy, L. von, Problems of Life. (1952) London: Watts and Co.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    This point is elaborated by Ruyer, R., Néo-Finalisme. (1952) Paris: Presses Universitaires de France, p. 89.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Since these words were written, biologists believe that they have identified the structure which carries the genetic code. This astonishing achievement still falls short of breaking the code.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Weizsäcker, C.F. von, The History of Nature. (1951) London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, p. 94.Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Cannon, W.B., The Wisdom of the Body. (1939) London: Routledge. Cannon and many others since have described the homeostatic processes of the body. The directiveness of organic behaviour as an observed phenomenon, irrespective of the rival theories which have been built on it, has been described by Russell, E.S., in The Directiveness of Organic Activities (1945. Cambridge University Press); and the justification for accepting this provisionally as an organic law which is not at present to be further resolved has been cogently stated byGoogle Scholar
  6. Dingle, H., in The Scientific Adventure. (1952) London: Pitman, pp. 249 and 250.Google Scholar
  7. 6.
    Space does not permit me to explore these modes of interaction adequately here. I distinguish competition from conflict, though I am aware that many regard it as merely a form of conflict. Trees in a wood mututally intensify their propensity to grow taller and mutually restrain their tendency to grow laterally. It seems to me that two forms of interaction which have such markedly different effects deserve different names. The fact that some, defeated in the race for light and air, wither and die, merely shows that the competitive situation may become conflictual. The analysis of co-operation would unduly expand the limits of a note.Google Scholar
  8. 7.
    The question is, of course, debatable. Space does not permit me to attempt a justification of the view here expressed. Much of the evidence is reviewed in the proceedings of a conference held at the University of Chicago in 1942 and edited by Dr Robert Redfield, c. f. particularly the paper on higher levels of integration by Dr R.W. Gerard, who would seem to hold a view different from that which is here expressed. (Redfield, R., editor, ‘Levels of Integration in Biological and Social Systems’, Vol. VIII of Biological Symposia. (1942) Lancaster, Pennsylvania: The Jacques Cattell Press.)Google Scholar
  9. 8.
    c. f. Poulton, E.C., ‘Anticipation in Open and Closed Sensori-motor Skills’. (1950) Medical Research Council Applied Psychology Research Unit Report No. 138.Google Scholar
  10. 9.
    c. f. Jacques, E., Measurement of Responsibility. (1956) London: Tavistock Publications, pp. 52–60.Google Scholar
  11. 10.
    Such is the homeostat described by Ashby, Ross W., in Design for a Brain. (2nd ed. 1960) London: Chapman and Hall.Google Scholar
  12. 11.
    This apparent paradox is more fully treated by Simon, H.A., in Administrative Behaviour. (2nd ed. 1959) New York: Macmillan, pp. 17 and 18.Google Scholar
  13. 12.
    The possibility, referred to above, that a random running through of the repertory of responses will in time provide the right one is no exception to this statement; for it assumes that the situation will remain regular at least throughout the period of search and for sufficiently long thereafter to enable the response to be effectively used.Google Scholar
  14. 13.
    These possibilities are analysed in a paper to which I am indebted in many ways by Mackay, D.M., ‘Towards an Information-Flow Model of Human Behaviour’, British Journal of Psychology. (1956) p. 33.Google Scholar

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© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 1967

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  • G. Vickers

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