William L. Benzon


1973-78 Ph.D., English, State University of New York at Buffalo.

1970-73 M.A., Humanities, The Johns Hopkins University.

1965-69 B.A., Philosophy, The Johns Hopkins University.

Professional Memberships and Service

Research Advisory Board, Institute for Music and Neurologic Function, Beth Abraham Health Services, New York City, 2001 to present

American Association for the Advancement of Science

Modern Language Association

Editorial Board, Journal of Social and Evolutionary Systems, 1994-2000


2003-present: Association Director, World Development Endowment Foundation, New York, NY

1995-2000: Senior Scientist and Consultant, MetaLogics, Inc., Hoboken, NJ.

1995-1996: Editor, Gravity, a website with an African-American focus.

1992-1995: Communications Consultant, Troy, New York.

1990-1992: Technical Writer, MapInfo Corporation, Troy, New York.

1989-1990: Acting Director, Troy Neighborhood Council, Troy, New York.

1978-1985: Assistant Professor of Communication, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.



Beethoven’s Anvil: Music in Mind and Culture. Basic Books, Inc. 2001. Paperback editions: Oxford University Press, 2002 (UK), Basic Books, 2002. Chinese translation: Business Weekly Publications, 2003.information and communication sciences

Visualization: The Second Computer Revolution. Harry N. Abrams, Inc.1989. Paperback edition: W.H. Freeman, 1991. (with Richard M. Friedhoff)

Scholarly Articles

Talking with Nature in “This Lime-Tree Bower My Prison,” PSYART: A Hyperlink Journal for the Psychological Study of the Arts, November, 2004, [link]

“Kubla Khan” and the Embodied Mind, PsyArt: A Hyperlink Journal for the Psychological Study of the Arts, November 29, 2003, [link]

African Music in the World. In D. C. Major and J. S. Major, eds. The Future of Africa. The New York Society for International Affairs, 2003, pp. 199-208.

First Person: Neuro-Cognitive Notes on the Self in Life and in Fiction, PSYART: A Hyperlink Journal for Psychological Study of the Arts, August 21, 2000, [link]

At the Edge of the Modern, or Why is Prosper Shakespeare’s Greatest Creation? Journal of Social and Evolutionary Systems, 21(3), 259-279, 1998.

Culture’s Evolutionary Landscape: A Reply to Hans-Cees Speel. Journal of Social and Evolutionary Systems, 20(3), 314-322, 1997.

Culture’s Evolutionary Landscape: A Reply to Hans-Cees Speel. Journal of Social and Evolutionary Systems, 20(3), 314-322, 1997.

Music Making History: Africa Meets Europe in the United States of the Blues. In Nikongo Ba’Nikongo, ed., Leading Issues in Afro-American Studies. Durham, North Carolina: Carolina Academic Press, 1997, pp. 189-233.

Culture as an Evolutionary Arena. Journal of Social and Evolutionary Systems, 19(4), 321-362, 1996.

The United States of the Blues: On the Crossing of African and European Cultures in the Twentieth Century. Journal of Social and Evolutionary Systems, 16(4), 401-438, 1993.

Stages in the Evolution of Music. Journal of Social and Evolutionary Systems, 16(3): 283-296, 1993.

The Evolution of Narrative and the Self. Journal of Social and Evolutionary Systems, 16(2): 129-155, 1993.

Ontology of Common Sense. Handbook of Metaphysics and Ontology. Philosophia Verlag, 1991.

Visual Thinking. Encyclopedia of Computer Science and Technology. Volume 23, Supplement 8. Marcel Dekker, 1991, 411 – 427.

The Evolution of Cognition. Journal of Social and Biological Structures 13, 297-320, 1990. (with David G. Hays)

A Note on Why Natural Selection Leads to Complexity. Journal of Social and Biological Structures 13, 33-40, 1990. (with David G. Hays)

Principles and Development of Natural Intelligence. Journal of Social and Biological Structures 11, 293 – 322, 1988. (with David G. Hays)

Metaphor, Recognition, and Neural Process. American Journal of Semiotics 5: 59 – 79, 1987. (with David G. Hays)

Order and Disorder in Computer Art. The Journal of Chaos and Graphics 3: 8 – 11, 1988.

A Picture is Sometimes Worth More Words that You Can Count: Computer Graphics for the Technical Communicator. Robert Krull, ed., Text Processing for the Technical Writer. Farmingdale, NY: Baywood Publishing, 1988, 115 – 137.

Computing and the Future of Technical Communication. Michael G. Moran and Debra Journet, eds., Research in Technical Communication. Westport, CT: The Greenwood Press, 1985, pp. 353 – 380.

Articulate Vision: A Structuralist Reading of “Kubla Khan.” Language and Style 18: 3 – 29, 1985.

Educating Engineers: The Usefulness of the Humanities. ADE Bulletin No. 75: 18 – 21, Summer 1983. (with David Porush)

System and Observer in Semiotic Modeling: An Essay on Semiotic Realism. In Michael Herzfeld and Margot D. Lenhart, compilers, Semiotics 1980, Proceedings of the Fifth Annual Meeting of the Semiotic Society of America. New York: Plenum Press, 1982, pp. 27 – 36.

Lust in Action: An Abstraction. Language and Style 14: 251 – 270, 1981.

Metaphoric and Metonymic Invariance: Two Examples from Coleridge. MLN 96: 1097 – 1105, 1981.

The Computer and Technical Communication. Technical Writing and Communication 11: 103 – 114, 1981.

Computational Linguistics and Discourse Analysis. Centrum, New Series 1: 57 – 64, Spring 1981.

Sir Gawain and the Green Knight and the Semiotics of Ontology. Semiotica 21: 267 – 293, 1977.

Computational Linguistics and the Humanist. Computers and the Humanities 10: 265 – 274, 1976. (with David G. Hays)

Cognitive Networks and Literary Semantics. MLN 91: 952-982, 1976.

Touchstones. Paunch 42 – 43: 4 – 16, December 1975.


Gregory L. Murphy, The Big Book of Concepts, Human Nature Review 3 (2004) 138-141.

The Door is Open: Scorsese’s Blues 2. CounterPunch, October 11/13, 2003: [link]

Scorsese’s Blues. CounterPunch, October 3/5, 2003: [link]

F is for Fake: Ken Burn’s “Jazz.” First of the Month, Fifth Issue, 3.1.2001: 10.

Ayahuasca Variations. Human Nature Review 3 (2003) 239-251.
Rock art in Darwin’s Cathedral. Evolutionary Psychology, 1:28-41, 2003: [pdf]

Colorless Green Homunculi. Human Nature Review. 2: 454-462, 2002.

A Tale of Two Geniuses. Reviews of James Gleick, Genius, and Norman MacRae, John von Neumann. Journal of Social and Evolutionary Systems. 17(2): 227-230, 1994.

W. H. Masters, V. E. Johnson, and R. C. Kolodny. Masters and Johnson on Sex and Human Loving. Journal of Mind and Behavior 8: 351 – 356.

Colin Cherry. On Human Communication, 3rd Ed. American Journal of Computational Linguistics. Microfiche 77: 40 – 45, 1978.

Marc Shell. The Economy of Literature. MLN 93: 1075 – 1080, 1978.

E.D. Hirsch, Jr. The Philosophy of Composition. MLN 93: 1080 – 1088, 1978.

Miscellaneous Scholarly Publications

How Now, I and Thou: In Memory of David Glenn Hays, Journal of Social and Biological Structures, 18 (2): 110-111, 1995.

Reply to Lindley Darden concerning abstraction. AI Magazine 8, 2: December 1987. (with David Hays)

Comment on Powers’ Letter. MLN 91: 1619 -1624, 1976.

Comment on Dyson-Hudson’s essay on “Levi-Strauss and Radcliffe-Brown,” in Macksey and Donato, eds., The Languages of Criticism and the Sciences of Man. Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1970, pp. 244 – 245.

Technical Reports

Computation and Strategic Intelligence: Notes on Sherman Kent, Double Contingency, Gibsonian Psychology, and Metagramming. In David G. Hays and Benzon, Metagram Software – A New Perspective on the Art of Computation. Rome Air Development Center, Final Technical Report, RADC-TR-81-118: 46 – 62, October 1981.

An Executive Guide to the Computer Age. Raymond T. Yeh and Paul B. Schneck, Co-Directors, Computer Science: Key to a Space Program Renaissance: Final Report of the 1981 NASA/ASEE Summer Study on the Use of Computer Science and Technology in NASA. University of Maryland, Computer Science Technical Report Series, No. 1168, Vol. II: F-1 – F-14, January 1982.

Policy, Strategy, Tactics: An Essay in H & SS Curriculum Design. Prepared for the Committee on Core Curricula and Undergraduate Programs, School of Humanities and Social Sciences, RPI, August 1984.

Information Infrastructure Rotterdam: Evaluation of SOPHONET. Prepared for the Graduate School of Management – Delft. October 1984. (with Abbe Mowshowitz)

Knowledge Representation, Expert Systems and Process Design: Some Preliminary Notes. Center for Manufacturing Productivity and Technology Transfer, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. Report No. CIMBS85TR033, January 1985.

Ontology in Knowledge Representation in CIM. Center for Manufacturing Productivity and Technology Transfer, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. Report No. CIMNW85TR034, January 1985.

Recent Presentations

Music, the Social Mind, and Language. Thirty-First LACUS Forum. Linguistic Association of Canada and the United States, University of Illinois at Chicago, July 28, 2004. (invited)

Healing Sounds: Neural Links between Music and Health. Conference on the Power of Music Therapy with the Geriatric Population. The Jewish Home and Hospital Lifecare System, New York, New York, May 12, 2004. (invited)

The Communal Journey: Arabian Song. The 24thAnnual Krost Symposium. Texas Lutheran University, Seguin, Texas, September 19, 2003. (invited)

Magic of the Bell: Music and the Making of Community. Fifth Annual Student Research Symposium. Goshen College, Goshen, Indiana, April 11, 2003 (invited)

Healing Sounds. Concluding remarks at Dialogues Across Disciplines: Cognitive Neuroscience and Music Processing in Human Function. Institute for Music and Neurologic Function, New York, NY, December 2. 2002. (invited)

Being Itself: Unicorns, Virgins, and the Great Chain. Languaging 99: A Conference Across Linguistics, Literature, and Writing. University of North Texas, Denton, Texas, March 5, 1999.

The Ontology of Mental Space in Coleridge’s “Kubla Khan.” Languaging: The Tenth Annual Conference of Language and Literature. University of North Texas, Denton, Texas, January 30, 1998.