SYSTEMIC PHILOSOPHY

General Principles

ALFRED NORTH WHITEHEAD


"While each scientific theory selects out and abstracts from the world's complexity a peculiar set of relations, philosophy cannot favor any particular region of human enterprise. Through conceptual experimentation it must construct a consistency that can accommodate all dimensions of experience, whether they belong to physics, physiology, psychology, biology, ethics, etc.." (-)


This is a significant statement that is not understood by many scientists. It means that a philosopher cannot be particular. It means that the philosopher cannot say anything that the scientist can verify empirically. Some scientists disparage the philosopher who "doesn't say anything." but in truth, philosophy is about general principles and science is about particular applications of those general principles. The other side of this coin is the scientist who tries to create a general principle using particulars. This is a trap, and anyone caught in it does not see that what appears to be truth, is only truth in that particular situation. A^ + B^ = C^ is general, but does not say anything in particular. A particular instance, 3^ + 4^ = 5^, is a true statement, but it is not general. Science will not, cannot, find their "Theory of Everything" because they always are talking about something. And any something can never be everything.

 

Bela H Banathy


"Systemic philosophy asks the question, "How can we understand systems?" With the perspectives of systems philosophy, we look at the world in terms of facts and events in the context of wholes, and we understand them as integrated sets purposefully arranged in systemic relations. In contrast to the analytic, reductionist, linear, single cause-and-effect view of the philosophy of classical science, systems philosophy brings forth a reorganization of ways of thinking and knowing perceived reality, a view manifested in synthetic, expansionist, dynamic, and multiple/mutual causality modes of thinking and inquiring, how things work more than what things are. "

 

Serving Humanity as an Objective

I"t is the main objective of GST says Boulding, to develop "generalized ears" that overcome the "specialized deafness" of the specific disciplines. meaning that someone who ought to know something that someone else knows isn't able to f ind it out for lack of generalized ears. Developing a framework of a general theory will enable the specialist to catch relevant coumniunication from others. In (the closing section of this paper, Boulding referred to the subtitle of his paper. GST as "the skeleton of science"


GO TO THEORY


COMMENTS

Knowledge, Action, Spiritual Considerations

"...What so we mean by systems science? While the different historical disciplines of the sciences have all developed their specific conceptual tools and rules, systems science hold that the large diversity of observable phenomena around us, can be made intelligible by using a limited number of abstract, primordial, and universal invariants and of relations between them."

Why a Systems View?

"The second half of the twentieth century is marked by massive changes affecting all aspects of our lives. We are experiencing the major societal TRANSFORMATION from the industrial machine age to the post-industrial information/knowledge age. These changes and transformations are reshaping our thinking and recasting the way we view ourselves, the systems of which we are part, the environments in which we live, and THE WAY WE VIEW the world."

Jan Smuts, Father of Holism

"Holism (from the Greek Holos, whole) is the theory, which makes the existence of "wholes" a fundamental feature of the world. It regards natural objects, both animate and inanimate, as "wholes" and not merely as assemblages of elements or parts. It looks upon nature as consisting of discrete, concrete bodies and things, and not as a diffusive homogeneous continuum. And these bodies or things are not entirely resolvable into parts; in one degree or another they are wholes which are more than the sum of their parts, and the mechanical putting together of their parts will not produce them or account for their characters and behaviour. The so-called parts are in fact not real but largely abstract analytical distinctions, and do not properly or adequately express what has gone to the making of the thing as a whole."

A Starting Place

"A top-down systemic strategy, this involves imagining the whole oceanic unity of the universe, as we all vaguely remember experiencing it in the womb, then making a division, say between self and other, then conversationally and experimentally exploring the connections across the boundary between self and other. Then successively by making other analagous distinctions, say between the self and the family and the other, or between the living and the non-living, we can explore the connections across those boundaries using guiding metaphors as heuristics and rigorous logic for detailed self-correcting theory and model building."

 

Synergy and the Systems Sciences: Peter Corning

"Although it plays a significant role in most, if not all, of the scienctific disciplnes its importance is not widely appreciated because it travels under many different aliases, including emergence, cooperativity, symbiosis, coevolution, symmetry, order, interactions, interdependencies, systemic effects, even complexity and dynamical attractors. In this paper it is proposed that the term "synergy" be utilized as a pan-disciplinary lingua franca for co-operative effects of various kinds."

 

New Concepts of Matter, Life and Mind: Ervin Laszlo

I"n light of what scientists are beginning to glimpse regarding the nature of the quantum vacuum, the energy sea that underlies all of spacetime, it is no longer warranted to view matter as primary and space as secondary. It is to space or rather, to the cosmically extended "Dirac-sea" of the vacuum that we should grant primary reality. The things we know as matter (and that scientists know as mass, with its associated properties of inertia and gravitation) appear as the consequence of interactions in the depth of this universal field. In the emerging concept there is no "absolute matter," only an absolute matter- generating energy field."

 

General Semantics as a philosophy Pula

“... a language, any language, has at its bottom certain metaphysics, which ascribe, consciously or unconsciously, some structure to the world.” (Science and Sanity, p.89) “We do not realize what tremendous power the structure of an habitual language has. It is not an exaggeration to say that it enslaves us through the mechanism of s.r. (semantic reaction) and that the structure which a language exhibits, and imposes upon us unconsciously, is automatically projected upon the world around us."

Whorf Sapir Hypothesis: Ludwig von Bertalanffy

"We are thus introduced to a new principle of relativity which holds that all observers are not led by the same physical evidence to the same picture of the universe, unless their linguistic backgrounds are similar...We cut up and organize the spread and flow of events as we do largely because, though our mother tongue, we are partes of an agreement to so so, not because nature itself is segmented in exactly that way for all to see." (Whorf, 1952, pg. 21)

Is there a general System? Tom Mandel

The idea of a General System is not necessarily new. If we discard our cultural and spiritual affinities, the concept of a General System can be traced back three thousand years to when the Chinese Yin/Yang was first conceived. Since that time, many writers, East and West, have spoken of a General System, although most if not all of their systems have been stated in the cultural specific language of the author. It is this necessary particularity that limits and confines the system to his culture and subsequently eliminates the generality. We call it the problem of "Misplaced Generality."

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