Whenever an adequate theory is found in science, we will still be left with two questions: why this theory rather than some other theory, and how should this theory be interpreted? I argue that these questions can be answered by a theory of system relations. The basic idea is that fundamental characteristics of systems, viz. those arising from the general systemic nature of those systems, cannot be comprehended with the aid of discipline-specific methods. The (...) systems theory required should commence with an analysis of the qualitatively different relations possible between systems, because it is precisely the nature of those relations that determines the basic structures of systems. That the theory of the fundamental system relations and their ontological and epistemological implications is indeed able to provide the answers sought is demonstrated in theoretical physics and Plessner's analysis of the basic structures of plant, animal and human being. (shrink)
Having entered into the problem structuring methods, system dynamics (SD) is an approach, among systems’ methodologies, which claims to recognize the main structures of socio-economic behaviors. However, the concern for building or discovering strong philosophical underpinnings of SD, undoubtedly playing an important role in the modeling process, is a long-standing issue, in a way that there is a considerable debate about the assumptions or the philosophical foundations of it. In this paper, with a new perspective, we have explored (...) class='Hi'>theory of knowledge in SD models and found strange similarities between classic epistemological concepts such as justification and truth, and the mechanism of obtaining knowledge in SD models. In this regard, we have discussed related theories of epistemology and based on this analysis, have suggested some implications for moderating common problems in the modeling process of SD. Furthermore, this research could be considered a reword of system dynamics modeling principles in terms of theory of knowledge. (shrink)
Neural organization contains a wealth of facts from all areas of brain research and provides a useful overview of physiological data for those working outside the immediate field. Furthermore, it gives a good example that the approach of dynamical systemtheory together with the concepts of cooperative and competitive interaction can be fruitful for an interdisciplinary approach to cognition.
This paper proposes that neurodynamic systemtheory may be used to connect structural and functional aspects of neural organization. The paper claims that generalized causal dynamic models are proper tools for describing the self-organizing mechanism of the nervous system. In particular, it is pointed out that ontogeny, development, normal performance, learning, and plasticity, can be treated by coherent concepts and formalism. Taking into account the self-referential character of the brain, autopoiesis, endophysics and hermeneutics are offered as elements (...) of a poststructuralist brain (-mind-computer) theory. (shrink)
A fundamental link between systemtheory and statistical mechanics has been found to be established by the Kolmogorov entropy K. By this quantity the temporal evolution of dynamical systems can be classified into regular, chaotic, and stochastic processes. Since K represents a measure for the internal information creation rate of dynamical systems, it provides an approach to irreversibility. The formal relationship to statistical mechanics is derived by means of an operator formalism originally introduced by Prigogine. For a Liouville (...) operator L and an information operator $\tilde M$ acting on a distribution in phase space, it is shown that i[L, $\tilde M$ ]≡KI (I=identity operator). As a first consequence of this equivalence, a relation is obtained between the chaotic correlation time of a system and Prigogine's concept of a “finite duration of presence.” Finally, the existence of chaos in quantum systems is discussed with respect to the existence of a quantum mechanical time operator. (shrink)
It is suggested that the control-systemtheory of Domjan et al. restates in engineering vocabulary the primary thesis of law-of-effect theories: namely, that classical-conditioning arrangements may involve CR-contingent reinforcement. The research cited by Domjan et al. is relevant to the idea that classical conditioning is an adaptive process, but is irrelevant to their control-systemtheory.
Building on the views of Kant and early nineteenth century life scientists, Hegel develops a view of systems that is a clear precursor to the developments in Ludwig von Bertalanffy’s general systemtheory, as well as the thinking of the ecologically minded system thinkers that built upon the foundation Bertalanffy laid. Hegel describes systems as organic wholes in which the parts respectively serve as means and ends. Further, in the Encyclopedia version of the logic Hegel notes that (...) such systems are comprised of three processes: gestalt, the process of assimilation, and regeneration. In Hegel’s texts, he describes both natural and social systems as organic wholes with such systematic processes. In this paper, these processes and systems are described and it is argued that Hegel quite consistently applies views developed in the logic when describing systems. The paper shows how this parallels later developments in systems theory and goes on to show some distinctions between Hegel’s view of systems and that of later ecologically minded system thinkers. (shrink)
Introduction into the structure, contents and specifications (especially the Systematifier) of the Information Coding Classification, developed in the seventies and used in many ways by the author and a few others following its publication in 1982. Its theoretical basis is explained consisting in (1) the Integrative Level Theory, following an evolutionary approach of ontical areas, and integrating also on each level the aspects contained in the sequence of the levels, (2) the distinction between categories of form and (...) class='Hi'>categories of being, (3) the application of a feature of Systems Theory (namely the element position plan) and (4) the inclusion of a concept theory, distinguishing four kinds of relationships, originated by the kinds of characteristics (which are the elements of concepts to be derived from the statements on the properties of referents of concepts). Its special Subject Groups on each of its nine levels are outlined and the combinatory facilities at certain positions of the Systematifier are shown. Further elaboration and use have been suggested, be it only as a switching language between the six existing universal classification systems at present in use internationally. (shrink)
Here, for the first time, development studies encounters the set of ideas popularly known as 'Chaos Theory'. Samir Rihani applies to the processes of economic development, ideas from complex adaptive systems like uncertainty, complexity, and unpredictability. Rihani examines various aspects of the development process - including the World Bank, debt, and the struggle against poverty - and demonstrates the limitations of fundamentally linear thinking in an essentially non-linear world.
Most writers now recognize that mental health policy and the mental health system are extremely resistant to real changes that reflect genuine biopsychosocial paradigms of mental disorder. Writers bemoaning the intransigence of the mental health system tend to focus on a small analytical level, only to find themselves mired in the rationalities of the existing system. Problems are acknowledged to be system-wide, yet few writers have used a method of analysis appropriate for systemic problems. Drawing upon (...) the General SystemTheory (GST) analytical perspective, this article advances a systematic approach to understand the mental health system and to facilitate the development of reform strategies that recognize the system's complexity and changing nature. The article first discusses the failure of major reform efforts in the mental health system and the limitations of mainstream analysis of mental health politics and policies with respect to the objectives of analysis and reform. This article describes how systems thinking has thus far influenced the study of the mental health policy and politics system, and argues that a systemic perspective is profitable for reconceiving the mental health system, enabling a fresh basis for the development of reform strategies. The mental health system should be seen as a social system influenced by larger political and economic dimensions, not just as a 'delivery system' scientifically constructed by neutral experts. Furthermore, the policy planning process should be viewed as part and parcel of a mental health system modeled as complex and dynamic. The systemic perspective outlined here should help both to clarify the value-based objectives that we hold for the system and, consequently, to plan for the strategic reforms that have so far eluded us. (shrink)
The number of studies related to natural and artificial mechanisms of learning rapidly increases. However, there is no general theory of learning that could provide a unifying basis for exploring different directions in this growing field. For a long time the development of such a theory has been hindered by nativists' belief that the development of a biological organism during ontogeny should be viewed as parameterization of an innate, encoded in the genome structure by an innate algorithm, and (...) nothing essentially new is created during this process. Noam Chomsky has claimed, therefore, that the creation of a non-trivial general mathematical theory of learning is not feasible, since any algorithm cannot produce a more complex algorithm. This study refutes the above argumentation by developing a counter-example based on the mathematical theory of algorithms and computable functions. It introduces a novel concept of a Universal Learning System (ULS) capable of learning to control in an optimal way any given constructive system from a certain class. The necessary conditions for the existence of a ULS and its main functional properties are investigated. The impossibility of building an algorithmic ULS for a sufficiently complex class of controlled objects is shown, and a proof of the existence of a non-algorithmic ULS based on the axioms of classical mathematics is presented. It is argued that a non-algorithmic ULS is a legitimate object of not only mathematics, but also the world of nature. These results indicate that an algorithmic description of the organization and adaptive development of biological systems in general is not sufficient. At the same time, it is possible to create a rigorous non-algorithmic general theory of learning as a theory of ULS. The utilization of this framework for integrating learning-related studies is discussed. (shrink)
The author discusses Niklas Luhmann's concept of ethics and morals. Therefore he sketches the main traits of Luhmann's theory of systems (e.g. the terms autopoiesis, system and environment, code and programme). From the system-theoretical point of view, ethics are characterized as the reflexive theory of morals. Morals are described as the communication of regard or disregard. The author shows which consequences follow from this concept by discussing problems concerning several subsystems at the same time. The problems (...) of Luhmann's theory of morals and ethics are demonstrated by analyzing the concepts of risk and responsibility. Finally, the author demands that ethics should be understood even more as social ethics which reflect upon their social foundation in a more consequent way. (shrink)
The author compares the theoretical elements of her grounded theory, Protecting Self: Experiencing Organizational Change, with autopoiesis, a biological theory of living systems. Autopoiesis, meaning self-production, is a closed system that recursively generates the same organization, components, and network of processes from which they are produced. A cautious extrapolation of theoretical similarities between the two theories is presented, including self-referentiality, self-maintenance, circularity, individuality, and the maintenance of identity. The author concludes that this comparison provides a thought-provoking argument (...) that supports the difficult process of individual and organizational learning, growth, and change. (shrink)
Dynamical systems theory (DST) is gaining popularity in cognitive science and philosophy of mind. Recently several authors (e.g. J.A.S. Kelso, 1995; A. Juarrero, 1999; F. Varela and E. Thompson, 2001) offered a DST approach to mental causation as an alternative for models of mental causation in the line of Jaegwon Kim (e.g. 1998). They claim that some dynamical systems exhibit a form of global to local determination or downward causation in that the large-scale, global activity of the system (...) governs or constrains local interactions. This form of downward causation is the key to the DST model of mental causation. In this paper I evaluate the DST approach to mental causation. I will argue that the main problem for current DST approaches to mental causation is that they lack a clear metaphysics. I propose one metaphysical framework (Gillett, 2002a/b/c) that might deal with this deficiency. (shrink)
Theories about value struggles with the problem how toaccount for the motivational force inherent to value judgments. Whereasthe exact role of motivation in evaluation is the subject of somecontroversy, it’s arguably a truism that value has something to do withmotivation. In this paper, I suggest that given that the role of motivationin ethical theory is left quite unspecific by the “truisms” or “platitudes”governing evaluative concepts, a scientific understanding of motivationcan provide a rich source of clues for how we might (...) go about developingan empirically responsible theory of value. More specifically, I argue that naturalist hedonists should be eager to join forces with motivational science: the role of pleasure in themotivational system is such that a sound case for hedonism can be builton it. (shrink)
The objective of this paper is to present a new theory of synaptic function in the nervous system. The basis for this theory is the experimental demonstration that a nerve impulse assumes five different forms as it advances through the synaptic region, and that five basic mathematical operations have been identified as being involved in the transformation of one form into another form. As a result of these data, the synaptic region is regarded as a functional unit (...) where information coming to it is unpacked, processed, stored, and retrieved for transit to another synaptic region or effector site. The data also suggests that a nerve impulse is a bolus of energy, therefore, without substance; that it contains information coded in its shape or form; that it is precisely described mathematically. Furthermore, the data suggests synaptic regions process these nerve impulses by applying mathematical operations to them; that function in the synaptic region is highly stereotyped (programmed); that chemical substances are associated with the mathematical operations. The basic approach of this theory is to regard a significant portion of the nervous system as an interface between the external universe and man himself. As an interface, the nervous system receives and processes information from both the external universe and man himself in a programmed manner. The interface functions by converting the information it receives into a bolus of energy, the nerve impulse, then processes the bolus by converting it into numbers or functions and applying mathematical operation to it. (shrink)
We develop the theory of symmetry for a two-level quantum system in oder to illustrate the main ideas of the general theory of symmetry in quantum theory. It is based on the diffeomorphism of the two-dimensional sphere S 2 onto the space of states ℂP 1 and the isomorphism between the groups Pℳ(2) and SO 3 (ℝ). In particular, rotational invariance leads to the appearance of the spin1/2 in a natural way.
A new theory for basic function in the nervous system has recently been proposed (Dempsher, J., 1979a, 1979b; 1980, 1981). The major basic themes of the new theory are as follows: (1) There are two fundamental units of structure and function, the fibre or conducting mechanism, and the neurocentre, where nervous system function as we know it takes place. (2) The nerve impulse is regarded as a mathematical event. The mathematics is the result of a prescribed (...) fusion of energy and matter. (3) Nervous system function everywhere in the nervous system is mathematical. In the fibre, the prescribed fusion of energy and matter results in a number. In the neurocentre, the prescribed fusion of energy and matter results in a mathematical function. Basic function in the nervous system everywhere requires a transformation of a nerve impulse in the fibre into a nerve impulse in the neurocentre with opposing properties: The nerve impulse in the fibre is confined to the fibre; cannot sum with another nerve impulse; can travel long distances with constant form and velocity; curvature in space and time are not significant features; and it is regarded as a number. On the other hand, the nerve impulse in the neurocentre is confined to the neurocentre; can sum with other nerve impulses; cannot travel long distances - even in a very short distance, it changes form; curvature in space and time is a very significant feature; and it is regarded as a mathematical function.The approach to determine how one form of the nerve impulse is transformed into the other at the input region is based on two of the differences listed above: (1) The nerve impulse in the fibre cannot sum with another nerve impulse in the fibre, whereas in the neurocentre, several nerve impulses sum to form a larger nerve impulse. (2) The nerve impulse in the fibre is regarded as a number, in the neurocentre, it is regarded as a mathematical function. The commonality of (1) and (2) is that the properties defining the nerve impulse in the fibre are associated with the property ofdiscreteness, whereas, the properties defining the nerve impulse in the neurocentre are associated with the property ofcontinuousness. Thus, the basic theme of unification of function at the input region of the neurocentre is the transformation of a phenomenon with the property of discreteness into a phenomenon with the property of continuousness. The solution to this transformation is approached from two directions:biologic andmathematical. In the biologic approach, the unit element of the nerve impulse in the fibre terminations (as.u. as a wave of energy, a spike in the classical theory) fuses with a. calcium-binding protein causing the release of Ca++. The calcium ions then combine with another protein. Associated with the second reaction is a conformational change in the Ca++-protein complex and the unit element in the neurocentre, bs.u., is emitted. Individual bs.u. then fuse with acetylcholine; summation occurs andwave b is emitted. In the mathematical approach, the nerve impulse as a number, is partitioned into two numbers with a precise rule relating these two numbers. One possibility suggested is that the number can be regarded as the value of a trigonometric function. This value then gives rise to an angle with sides related in a ratio or proportionality fashion — a relationship with the property of continuousness, as contrasted with that of a single number, discreteness. Both biologic and mathematical approaches are united so as to suggest that the mathematical (trigonometric) function arose as the result of a fusion of energy (as.u. as a wave of energy) and the calcium-binding protein as matter; following this reaction, bs.u., with opposing properties, is emitted. (shrink)
A new theory of synaptic function in the nervous system (Dempsher, 1978) is applied to the simplest system for integration of function in the nervous system. This system includes a sensory and motor neuron and three synaptic regions associated with those two neurons; a receptor region, an interneuronal spinal synaptic region linking the two neurons, and an effector region.Information is first received and processed at the receptor region. The processing consists of five components:1. A highly (...) selective mechanism which allows only that information to enter the receptor system which is appropriate. 2. The appropriateness of the information is determined by the alphabet (miniature potentials) already in that area. 3. The information entering the system is assembled in a pattern meaningful for the next processing operation. 4. The assembled information is then disassembled into its subunits and mapped into the alphabet (miniature potentials). 5. These miniature potentials are assembled into another pattern meaningful to fit the role of the receptor region. 6. This new pattern is repacked for transit to the central synaptic region. (shrink)
According to scientific procedure, each discipline first describes the phenomena of its research area, then analyzes them, and tinally categorizes them in a system. To date, biology has lacked such a system for its smallest building blocks, the cells. Although the theory of evolution explains certain central evolutionary mechanisms of the cell, there existed no generally accepted theory of the organization of the cell. The endoeytobiotic cell theory is suggested as a possible basis for a (...) satisfying explanation of the structure, function, information, and evolution of the cell. Furthermore, a hypothetical periodic system of the cell is developed. This system consists of eight groups, including the ecological niches fermentation, respiration, photergy, and photosynthesis (each aerobic and anaerobic) and seven periods with increasing numbers of protein biosynthesis machineries (cytoplasma, mitochondria, plastids, endocytobionts). We find furthermore, a division according to typical animal or plant cells and between these two in fungus-like cells. (shrink)
In the last two decades the Israeli educational system has undergone major changes which have transformed it from a state-controlled, overly bureaucratic and almost fully state-financed system into a decentralized, partly locally controlled and increasingly privately financed system. Advocates of this transformation of the educational system appeal to the ideal of parental choice. They argue that the implementation of parental choice programs in education shows more respect to the children and their unique talents, take their self-realization (...) seriously and promotes equal opportunities in education. The ideal of parental choice is also upheld in relation to value of cultural pluralism. Supporters of educational autonomy advocate the restructuring of schools in a way allowing them to develop a unique climate and curriculum consistent with respective communities and parents' preferences. The aim of this paper is to assess critically the changes that Israeli educational system has undergone against the background of the principle of equal educational opportunities. The main claim of the paper is that these changes undermine this principle. It will be argued that these changes actually cater mainly to the educational interests of middle and upper middle classes in Israeli society. (shrink)
The purpose of this paper is to present a bio-physical basis of mathematics. The essence of the theory is that function in the nervous system is mathematical. The mathematics arises as a result of the interaction of energy (a wave with a precise curvature in space and time) and matter (a molecular or ionic structure with a precise form in space and time). In this interaction, both energy and matter play an active role. That is, the interaction results (...) in a change in form of both energy and matter. There are at least six mathematical operations in a simple synaptic region. It is believed the form of both energy and matter are specific, and their interaction is specific, that is, function in most of the nervous system is stereotyped. It is suggested that mathematics be taken out of the mind and placed where it belongs — in nature and the synaptic regions of the nervous system; it results in both places from a precise interaction between energy (in a precise form) and matter (in a precise structure). (shrink)
The objective of this paper is to analyse, from a philosophical perspective, the 16th and 17th Century models of currency, as well as their influence on the types of society in which the models developed. For this, the author values the study by the French philosopher Michael Foucault Words and Things on this matter and the principal foundations of Ludwig von Bertalanffy´s systems theory. The 17th Century model of currency is based on the notion of a system of (...) exchange. The notion of a system of exchange represents a transformation of great significance, upon which the principal characteristics of our current globalised era are founded, not only in economic life, but also in relation to an understanding of the world that it implies. Furthermore, the notion of a system of exchange was the step before the current model of electronic payments of the digital era, in which large transactions (and also large data transfers) take place by pressing a button. The principal idea of the paper is that these economic practices hold the key to deepen a philosophical and historical comprehension of concepts such as globalisation. (shrink)
The paraconsistent system CPQ-ZFC/F is defined. It is shown using strong non-finitary methods that the theorems of CPQ-ZFC/F are exactly the theorems of classical ZFC minus foundation. The proof presented in the paper uses the assumption that a strongly inaccessible cardinal exists. It is then shown using strictly finitary methods that CPQ-ZFC/F is non-trivial. CPQ-ZFC/F thus provides a formulation of set theory that has the same deductive power as the corresponding classical system but is more reliable in (...) that non-triviality is provable by strictly finitary methods. This result does not contradict Gödel's incompleteness theorem because the proof of the deductive equivalence of the paraconsistent and classical systemss use non-finitary methods. (shrink)
Dynamic systems theory is a way of describing the patterns that emerge from relationships in the universe. In the study of interpersonal relationships, within and between species, the scientist is an active and engaged participant in those relationships. Separation between self and other, scientist and subject, runs counter to systems thinking and creates an unnecessary divide between humans and animals.
This is an important new critical analysis of Derrida's theory of writing, based on close readings of key texts. It reveals a dimension of Derrida's thinking that has been neglected in favor of those "deconstructionist" cliches favored by much recent literary criticism. Christopher Johnson highlights the special character of Derrida's philosophy that comes from his contact with contemporary natural science and with systems theory. This study casts new light on an exacting set of intellectual issues facing philosophy and (...) critical theory today. (shrink)
This article addresses the relationship between the structuralism, especially the anthropological version of the latter in Levi-Strauss and Luhmann’s theory of social systems. The analysis is done through two guiding hypotheses. It reviews the historical background relating structuralism with systems theory and discusses the fundamental concepts that appear in this relationship. Luhmann's systems thinking are contrasted in some of its central concepts with Lévi-Strauss’s structuralist perspective. The paper concludes with a review of the hypotheses presented and some proposals (...) about the perspective of the social systems. El presente artículo aborda las relaciones entre el pensamiento estructuralista, especialmente la variante antropológica de éste en Lévi-Strauss y la teoría de sistemas sociales de Luhmann. El análisis se hace a través de dos hipótesis que guían el desarrollo del texto. Se revisan los antecedentes históricos que relacionan al estructuralismo con la teoría de sistemas y se analizan los conceptos fundamentales que aparecen en esta relación. Posteriormente el pensamiento sistémico de Luhmann se contrasta a partir de algunos de sus conceptos centrales con la perspectiva estructuralista de Lévi-Strauss. El trabajo concluye con una revisión de las hipótesis presentadas y con reflexiones globales acerca de la perspectiva de los sistemas sociales. (shrink)
Since its formal definition over sixty years ago, category theory has been increasingly recognized as having a foundational role in mathematics. It provides the conceptual lens to isolate and characterize the structures with importance and universality in mathematics. The notion of an adjunction (a pair of adjoint functors) has moved to center-stage as the principal lens. The central feature of an adjunction is what might be called “determination through universals” based on universal mapping properties. A recently developed “heteromorphic” (...) class='Hi'>theory about adjoints suggests a conceptual structure, albeit abstract and atemporal, for how new relatively autonomous behavior can emerge within a system obeying certain laws. The focus here is on applications in the life sciences (e.g., selectionist mechanisms) and human sciences (e.g., the generative grammar view of language). (shrink)
This article uses Hans Kelsen's theory of a legal system to take a fresh look at European Community law, and the relationship between the European Community, its Member States, and international law. It argues that the basis of the Community's legal legitimacy is indeterminate, and offers a model to accommodate that indeterminacy. This model is founded on a constructivist approach suggested to be particularly useful in the EC context. Using this approach, it is argued that the concepts of (...)system, autonomy and sovereignty in the Community can only be understood through the recognition of a plurality of viewpoints, and that it is crucial, in describing the Community, to distinguish between a concept per se and the choice to adopt that concept. (shrink)
Using general systemtheory as a theoretical foundation of business information systems science. The science of business information systems is looking for its theoretical foundations. In this article general systemtheory is adapted to serve as such a theoretical foundation. The adapted general systemtheory is reconstructed using the structuralistic approach to reveal the empirical claims of this theory and to analyse scientific progress in the science of business information systems.
My interest in China was rekindled several years ago by an invitation to a conference, "Modernization, Globalization and China's Path to Economic Development," to he held in Hangzhou, July, 2002. The conference was organized by Cao Tian Yu, a philosopher of science at Boston University and his wife Lin Chun of the London School of Economics--both deeply concerned about the future of China. It was attended by a number of Western Leftists (Samir Amin, Perry Anderson, Robin Blackburn and myself), by (...) China specialist Joseph Fewsmith, by representatives from Singapore, Taiwan and India, by representatives from China's developing "New Left," (among them Wang Hui, whose book China's New Order was recently published by Harvard University Press1), by the president of Hangzhou College of Commerce (where the event was held) and by three retired, once prominent government officials, among them Du Runsheng, a principal architect of China's agricultural reform of the late 70s, early 80s. (shrink)