Posted on October 10, 2022 9:00 AM by Janos Korn
Categories: Education, General
janos korn
This writing is about ‘systems thinking’ which is a topic within the subject matter of the ‘systemic or structural view’ of aspects of chosen parts of the world. We are engaged in ‘systems thinking’ when we view a part of the world, concrete, symbolic, abstract, imaginary, in terms of its structural or systemic properties.
For example,
‘A book may be described as : ‘It consists of 250 pages bound by hard cover’ as opposed to ‘It is interesting’ which is a description by a qualitative property’. Or
‘The government raised the interest by 1% which annoyed many people’ as opposed to ‘The government has the power to raise the interest by 1%’ which is a description by a qualitative/quantitative property’.
All sentences conform to the ‘subject – predicate’ structure. We observe that ‘systems thinking’ refers to static or dynamic aspects of the empirical world which may or may not be observable. We aim to construct an ‘empirical, systems theory’ not a ‘view concerning or not ‘systems thinking’’. Here we attempt to introduce the basic notions behind such a theory.
A description of parts of the world
Living things cannot exist in static state, they are engaged in incessant activities of interaction with their physical and/or mental environments in terms of transfer of material as ‘physical [matter and energy] and/or sensual [matter as medium carrying influence or information]’ realised as far as this discussion is concerned by :
Inputting raw material,
Processing the resulting raw material, and Producing output and waste material.
These activities, individually or together ‘necessary’ to define the concept of ‘living’ but not all details are restricted to such. Natural and artificial non-living things like a ‘volcano’, ‘control, computer systems’, ‘robots’ can be active as well.
The objectives of living things in carrying out these activities, are physical survival and/or realising ambitions details of which are conjured up by imagination or created by thoughts as a result of input from the sense organs. The results of mental activity can be expressed in terms of symbolic structures known as ‘models’ for representation and communication. We can say that :
A.   Survival is about maintenance of status quo or current state
B.   Ambition is about achievement of future state.
Accordingly, living things are incessantly engaged in changes of state one way or another which is called problem solving. The intellectual activity of ‘problem solving’ involves :
A.    The perception or vision of = =
An undesirable in some sense, physical or mental initial state followed, or not, by A consistent, desirable, physical or mental final state of ---
An aspect of a selected part of the world which is expected to satisfy a particular living thing.
B.   The executor of change of state called system or overall structure consisting of a = =
x. ‘Physical or intellectual product’ the function of which is to generate the interaction
required to accomplish the change of state, and the
y. ‘Structure’ the function of which is to create and/or or to prompt the ‘product’ so that it can exert the required interaction.
C.    Selection or design of = =
The appropriate ‘product’ and ‘structure’ as prompted by Point A. so as to create Point B.
We are considering ‘Utilising systems’ which are in general use and ‘Manufacturing systems’ consisting of the principles of = 1. Generality of systems, 2. Equilibrium, 3. Purposive activity plus linguistic modelling of processed natural language. Point A. involves the exercise of creativity, innovation, ingenuity, Point B. needs familiarity with :
Available, existing hard, soft and living ware, Organising manufacture or fabrication and application of design thinking.
Accordingly, we have outlined a scheme of integrated whole of a problem solving functional entity of Points A. and B. related by Point C. operating in a purposive configuration. It involves concepts abstracted from consideration of aspects of the natural world and as such it is close to the disciplines of natural sciences and engineering. The underlying effect may be described as the principle of change of equilibrium of physical [or mental] state which allows the idea of problem solving to be extended to inanimate and artificial or non-living things.
‘Problem solving’ activity is innate and universal in the living sphere. In addition humans possess a range of abilities or ‘properties’ such as emotions, ingenuity, creativity, innovation etc which have enabled them to evolve social, artistic and technical advances reaching the current level of complexity and of convenience and performance in life.
Humans have also created a range of intellectual products to facilitate understanding the nature of the world including own body and to help solving problems. This writing so far has introduced the background ideas to a proposed ‘systems theory’ which is the analytical expression of the ‘integrated whole of problem solving’.
The extended version intends to describe these products including ‘systems thinking’. Their diversity produced by the fertile human imagination and the lack of clarity in their role in ‘problem solving’ constitutes the problematic issue. The aim of this version is to examine the contribution of the intellectual products to the activity of ‘problem solving’ concluding with a brief description and comparison of the proposed ‘systems theory’ which is the paradigm change. It is offered as a possible resolution of the problematic issue. This ‘theory’ subject to peer review, addition of software and more extensive application is thought to be in line with the by laws of the ISSS regarding ‘purpose, education and implementation’ : It is sufficiently general to cope with the generality of the systemic view, teachable at all levels and can be expressed in operational terms unless refuted.
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