Forgetfulness Of Purpose • 4

Ashby now invites us to consider a series of games, beginning as follows.

11/3.   Play and outcome.  Let us therefore forget all about regulation and simply suppose that we are watching two players, R and D, who are engaged in a game.  We shall follow the fortunes of R, who is attempting to score an a.  The rules are as follows.  They have before them Table 11/3/1, which can be seen by both:

\begin{array}{cc|ccc}  \multicolumn{5}{c}{\text{Table 11/3/1}} \\[4pt]  & & & R & \\  & & \alpha & \beta & \gamma \\  \hline    & 1 & b & a & c \\  D & 2 & a & c & b \\    & 3 & c & b & a  \end{array}

D must play first, by selecting a number, and thus a particular row.  R, knowing this number, then selects a Greek letter, and thus a particular column.  The italic letter specified by the intersection of the row and column is the outcome.  If it is an a, R wins;  if not, R loses.

I’ll pause the play here and give readers a chance to contemplate strategies.


  • Ashby, W.R. (1956), An Introduction to Cybernetics, Chapman and Hall, London, UK.  Republished by Methuen and Company, London, UK, 1964.  Online.
This entry was posted in Anamnesis, Ashby, C.S. Peirce, Cybernetics, Memory, Peirce, Pragmata, Purpose, Systems Theory and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Forgetfulness Of Purpose • 4

  1. Pingback: Homunculomorphisms • 1 | Inquiry Into Inquiry

  2. The Hawk says:

    Two points worth considering, should you find the time: 1) look at Russell Ackoff’s book “On Purposeful Systems,” which Eric Trist dealt with via humour via asking Russ: “Yes Russ, but what about porpoiseful systems?”, sending Russ to the world of systems thinking to find larger life. If you are still unsure of this point of Russ needing to move on take a look at page 94 of Russ’s book to see how he proposes to measure love, in that all purpose requires measurement. then, 2) I’d go easy on Ashby’s concepts of gaming, as he favoured strategic thinking. As my corporate advisement since 1992 argues: “get over strategic thinking.” A much more exciting and successful approach is via taking note of Anatole Rappaport’s attitude to gaming, e.g., Prisoner’s Dilemma. Their are alternatives to earth as humans have come to define it …ha..ha..

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