Steps to an Ecology of Mind Collected Essays in Anthropology, Psychiatry, Evolution, and Epistemology
by Gregory Bateson
University of Chicago Press, 1999
Cloth: 978-0-226-03906-0 | Paper: 978-0-226-03905-3 | Electronic: 978-0-226-92460-1
DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226924601.001.0001


University of Chicago Press (paper)


Gregory Bateson was a philosopher, anthropologist, photographer, naturalist, and poet, as well as the husband and collaborator of Margaret Mead. With a new foreword by his daughter Mary Katherine Bateson, this classic anthology of his major work will continue to delight and inform generations of readers.

"This collection amounts to a retrospective exhibition of a working life. . . . Bateson has come to this position during a career that carried him not only into anthropology, for which he was first trained, but into psychiatry, genetics, and communication theory. . . . He . . . examines the nature of the mind, seeing it not as a nebulous something, somehow lodged somewhere in the body of each man, but as a network of interactions relating the individual with his society and his species and with the universe at large."—D. W. Harding, New York Review of Books

"[Bateson's] view of the world, of science, of culture, and of man is vast and challenging. His efforts at synthesis are tantalizingly and cryptically suggestive. . . .This is a book we should all read and ponder."—Roger Keesing, American Anthropologist



Gregory Bateson (1904-1980) was born and educated in the United Kingdom, and spent most of his professional life in the United States where he was lecturer and fellow of Kresge College at the University of California, Santa Cruz. Among other influentital books he authored Naven and Mind and Nature.


Foreword by Mary Catherine Bateson, 1999

Foreword, 1971

Introduction: The Science of Mind and Order

Part I: Metalogues

Metalogue: Why Do Things Get in a Muddle

Metalogue: Why Do Frenchmen?

Metalogue: About Games and Being Serious

Metalogue: How Much Do You Know?

Metalogue: Why Do Things Have Outlines?

Metalogue: Why a Swan?

Metalogue: What Is an Instinct?

Part II: Form and Pattern in Anthropology

Culture Contact and Schismogenesis

Experiments in Thinking about Observed Ethnological Material

Morale and National Character

Bali: The Value System of a Steady State

Style, Grace, and Information in Primitive Art

Comment on Part II

Part III: Form and Pathology in Relationship

Social Planning and the Concept of Deutero-Learning

A Theory of Play and Fantasy

Epidemiology of a Schizophrenia

Toward a Theory of Schizophrenia

The Group Dynamics of Schizophrenia

Minimal Requirements for a Theory of Schizophrenia

Double Bind, 1969

The Logical Categories of Learning and Communication

The Cybernetics of "Self": A Theory of Alcoholism

Comment on Part III

Part IV: Biology and Evolution

On Empty-Headedness among Biologists and State Boards of Education

The Role of Somatic Change in Evolution

Problems in Cetacean and Other Mammalian Communication

A Re-examination of "Bateson's Rule"

Comments on Part IV

Part V: Epistemology and Ecology

Cybernetic Explanation

Redundancy and Coding

Conscious Purpose versus Nature

Effects of Conscious Purpose on Human Adaptation

Form, Substance and Difference

Comment on Part V

Part VI: Crisis in the Ecology of Mind

From Versailles to Cybernetics

Pathologies of Epistemology

The Roots of Ecological Crisis

Ecology and Flexibility in Urban Civilization