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Posted on February 1, 2023 10:00 AM by Peter Tuddenham
I have just been made aware of the record of the Governing the Anthropocene Workshop organized in conjunction with the ISSS 2015 conference in Berlin. I post the link here as it contains a number of important presentations and outcomes.  Some of the slides are on this slideshare site
Posted on December 30, 2022 10:00 PM by Peter Tuddenham
Categories: General
Research Network for Philosophy and Technology has published a YouTube Series, "Cybernetics for the 21st Century", hosted by Yuk Hui 
 
This is a series of videos. 
 
 
The latest video is https://youtu.be/3o9MahtU7lY
 
Posted on December 24, 2022 8:00 AM by Peter Tuddenham
Categories: General
United Kingdom Systems Society 2023 Conference
 
St Hilda’s College, Oxford, UK
14th – 15th September 2023

Download the full flyer:
 
Systems: Transition to a Sustainable World 
  
System – A set of interconnected parts named and embodied within a boundary that, for us, forms a meaningful whole: something which, taken together has meaning for us
 
Transition – The action or process of passing or passage from one condition, action, or (occas.) place, to another (shorter Oxford dictionary)
 
Sustainable  – causing, or made in a way that causes, little or no damage to the environment and therefore able to continue for a long time (Cambridge dictionary)
 
World – Natural environment – a place of settlement
The need for a transition to a more sustainable world is widely accepted but it cannot be assumed that understanding what sustainability is, is a given. Isolated efforts to tackle what are perceived to be key issues do not always yield anticipated outcomes, they may even be counter-productive. What we should recognize is that what we have is a network of interconnected problems, described by Ackoff as systems of problems or ‘messes’. To make sense of these messes we need to adopt a holistic perspective. Systems thinking provides the intellectual framework and systems practice the lessons which enrich the theory. The conference is designed to promote and capitalise upon such thinking and will provide examples of how these ideas might contribute to sustainability.
 
Keynote Speakers 

Rodney Irwin, Chief Operating Officer (COO) and a member of the Senior Management Team (SMT) at the World Business Council for Sustainable Development.

Ray Ison is a Professor of Systems at the Open University and President of the International Federation of Systems Research.
Posted on October 18, 2022 10:00 AM by John Kineman
 
 
I gave a talk via Zoom for a conference in Bangalore about consciousness last month. It was presented as a pre-recorded video. I thought I would share it here because it gives examples of the holon theory. I decided that the best way to understand cyclical causality is by example. That was what the Vedic masters also decided when they produced the Vedas and Upanishads. The reason is that the elements of the holon are archetypes that can apply to any system. Thus they will take on different labels depending on what it is describing. That can be confusing for a lot of people, it seems undefined. But it is self-defining - that is one of the most intriguing aspects of it. Basically, it describes causal order - how events and their contextual meanings relate to each other as a whole. 
 
In this talk I focus on “Post-truth” and challenge the popular view that truth is only relative. Holon relations reach throughout nature, so “truth” can have an ultimate meaning while also being locally relative to different contexts. The immanent harmony with nature is the gauge for truth. I proposed in this talk that truthfulness can be evaluated by the degree of harmony any system has with other systems, with itself, and with the cosmos (as a reflection of the holon causal order).
 
Comments welcome.
 
John
Posted on October 10, 2022 9:00 AM by Janos Korn
Categories: Education, General
PARADIGM CHANGE IN ‘SYSTEMS THINKING’
janos korn janos999@btinternet.com
 
Introduction
 
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.
 
Conclusions
 
‘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.
Posted on October 1, 2022 9:00 AM by Peter Tuddenham
 
Yesterday, Friday 30 September 2022, I was in Portland and met with Professor Wayne Wakeland, Chair of the Systems Science program at Portland State University. He told me the program began in 1969 and has been going ever since. The program offers PhD's, Masters and also a Systems Minor at the Undergraduate level. We discussed how we might work together to do more to promote the value of a systems science education. Read about the program here https://www.pdx.edu/systems-science/
 
 
Wayne Wakefield and Peter Tuddenham at Badder House, home of Systems Science Program at Portland State University
 
 
Posted on September 24, 2022 9:00 AM by Peter Tuddenham
 
I have known Alexander Christakis since the late 80's when he was a professor at George Mason University Virginia working with another former ISSS President John Warfield. His life's work is seeking ways to emancipate people to be their best and work to address the world's problematique and to seek peace in areas of conflict. His life's commitment continues at 85. I joined him, Maria Kakoulaki and Jeff Dietrich as they delivered a training on Structured Dialogic Design and the supporting software Logosophia. Along with 6 other participants we gathered in Arhanes, Crete for the past week. Although I have known and read about SDD for all these years I finally, I think. get the Science behind the Systems Mapping outcomes of this human systems process. We were all being trained as facilitators. I look forward to doing more "CoLabs" using the SD process and the Logosophia software.
 
and a presentation to ISSS by Aleco and Maria here https://vimeo.com/502853832
 
 
Posted on September 13, 2022 9:30 AM by Peter Tuddenham
Interesting to see this "promotion" of systems thinking from the United Kingdom Government in a You Tube video dated April 2022.
 
Tamara Finkelstein, Permanent Secretary for the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and Sir Patrick Vallance, Government Chief Scientific Adviser, set out what Systems Thinking is and the advantages it offers for good policy making. They also offer advice to those getting started with a systems thinking approach.
 
 
 
 
Systems Thinking was the title of a book by F.E. Emery published in 1970
Posted on July 29, 2022 8:30 AM by Peter Tuddenham
Dennis Finlayson, ISSS member, sent this to me to share with members and readers of ISSS. A blog post "Definition as a Coffin” – Cybernetics to Systems Thinking"
 
http://www.psybertron.org/archives/15807.   It is worth reading....
Posted on March 7, 2022 2:00 PM by Peter Tuddenham
The SGSR was the name of this society before it was renamed the International Society for the Systems Sciences. Dr. James Grier Miller was at the beginning of the SGSR. He recounts factors that were influencing colleagues to form the SGSR. One factor stands out for me and it was the reaction of scientists who had been involved in creating atomic and hydrogen nuclear bombs who wanted science to serve mankind, not destroy it.
 
Dr. Miller recounts these conversations in his first lecture introducing Living Systems Theory. at the 11 minute mark he calls these scientists   "a very interesting group. They included, Enrico Fermi and Harold Urey, both of whom had been involved in the development of the plutonium bomb". And at minute 14 and 25 seconds he goes on "Certainly a feeling of of deep responsibility for being the father of the plutonium bomb and for the work he was doing at that time, on the development of the hydrogen bomb. I don't think, as far as I could tell from talking to him and his, some of his friends and, on one occasion to his wife and reading what his wife has written about him, and he ever talked much to people, generally to physicists about this inner sense of guilt that he had."  
 
Sense of guilt Miller implies is one of the factors that brought scientists together to form the SGSR.
 
Today Russia and Ukraine are at war and the prospect of a nuclear accident or nuclear war event is present I think reflection on one of the founding purposes of the now ISSS was to understand how humans get to this situation and how to prevent it. Some 68 years on we still have a lot to learn.
 
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