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)
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)
In this paper, I address the question of what the Developmental Systems Theory (DST) aims at explaining. I distinguish two lines of thought in DST, one which deals specifically with development, and tries to explain the development of the individual organism, and the other which presents itself as a reconceptualization of evolution, and tries to explain the evolution of populations of developmental systems (organism-environment units). I emphasize that, despite the claiming of the contrary by DST proponents, there are two (...) very different definitions of the ‘developmental system’, and therefore DST is not a unified theory of evolution and development. I show that the DST loses the most interesting aspects of its reconceptualization of development when it tries to reconceptualize evolutionary theory. I suggest that DST is about development per se, and that it fails at offering a new view on evolution. (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.
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
A study of shifts in scientific strategies for measuring the living body, especially in dynamic systems theory: (1) sheds light on Hegel's concept of measure in The Science of Logic, and the dialectical transition from categories of being to categories of essence; (2) shows how Hegel's speculative logic anticipates and analyzes key tensions in scientific attempts to measure and conceive the dynamic agency of the body. The study's analysis of the body as having an essentially dynamic identity (...) irreducible to measurement aims to contribute to reconceiving the body, in a way that may be helpful to overcoming dualism. (shrink)
The concepts and powerful mathematical tools of Dynamical Systems Theory (DST) yield illuminating methods of studying cognitive processes, and are even claimed by some to enable us to bridge the notorious explanatory gap separating mind and matter. This article includes an analysis of some of the conceptual and empirical progress Dynamical Systems Theory is claimed to accomodate. While sympathetic to the dynamicist program in principle, this article will attempt to formulate a series of problems the proponents of the (...) approach in question will need to face if they wish to prolong their optimism. The main points to be addressed involve the reductive tendencies inherent in Dynamical Systems Theory, its somewhat muddled position relative to connectionism, the metaphorical nature DST-C exhibits which hinders its explanatory potential, and DST-C's problematic account of causality. Brief discussions of the mathematical and philosophical backgrounds of DST, seminal experimental work and possible adaptations of the theory or alternative suggestions (dynamicist connectionism, neurophenomenology, R&D theory) are included. (shrink)
Contemporary thought, whether it be in psychology, biology, immunology, philosophy of perception or philosophy of mind, is confronted with the breakdown of barriers between organism and environment, self and other, subject and object, perceiver and perceived. In this paper I show how Merleau-Ponty can help us think about this problem, by attending to a methodological theme in the background of his dialectical conception of embodiment. In La structure du comportement, Merleau-Ponty conceives life as extension folding back upon itself so as (...) to reveal Hegel’s ‘hidden mind of nature.’ In the Phénoménologie de la perception, radical reflection elucidates the body schema as an essence that reveals itself within embodied existence, qua shaping the natural perceptual dialogue in which the perceiver and the perceived permeate and separate from one another. In these two conceptions of embodiment, we progressively see how the dialectical principle of embodiment must reveal and conceive itself within embodiment itself. Science, on the other hand, follows the phenomena of the body to a certain point, but refuses to allow that embodiment is self-conceptual. I illustrate this using the example of dynamic systems theory, an inheritor of the tradition of J.J. Gibson’s ecological psychology. In this way, I show how Merleau-Ponty’s conception of the dialectic of embodiment as self-conceptual is important to problems in contemporary thought. (shrink)
I propose a semi-eliminative reduction of Fodors concept of module to the concept of attractor basin which is used in Cognitive Dynamic Systems Theory (DST). I show how attractor basins perform the same explanatory function as modules in several DST based research program. Attractor basins in some organic dynamic systems have even been able to perform cognitive functions which are equivalent to the If/Then/Else loop in the computer language LISP. I suggest directions for future research programs which could find (...) similar equivalencies between organic dynamic systems and other cognitive functions. This type of research could help us discover how (and/or if) it is possible to use Dynamic Systems Theory to more accurately model the cognitive functions that are now being modeled by subroutines in Symbolic AI computer models. If such a reduction of subroutines to basins of attraction is possible, it could free AI from the limitations that prompted Fodor to say that it was impossible to model certain higher level cognitive functions. (shrink)
We present a model for studying communities of epistemically interacting agents who update their belief states by averaging (in a specified way) the belief states of other agents in the community. The agents in our model have a rich belief state, involving multiple independent issues which are interrelated in such a way that they form a theory of the world. Our main goal is to calculate the probability for an agent to end up in an inconsistent belief state due (...) to updating (in the given way). To that end, an analytical expression is given and evaluated numerically, both exactly and using statistical sampling. It is shown that, under the assumptions of our model, an agent always has a probability of less than 2% of ending up in an inconsistent belief state. Moreover, this probability can be made arbitrarily small by increasing the number of independent issues the agents have to judge or by increasing the group size. A real-world situation to which this model applies is a group of experts participating in a Delphi-study. (shrink)
This article illustrates the important scientific role that a systems approach might play within the social sciences and humanities, above all through its contribution to a common language, shared conceptualizations, and theoretical integration in the face of the extreme (and growing) fragmentation among the social sciences (and between the social sciences and the natural sciences). The article outlines a systems theoretic approach, actor-system-dynamics (ASD), whose authors have strived to re-establish systems theorizing in the social sciences (after a period of (...) marginalization since the late 1960s). This is done, in part, by showing how key social science concepts are readily incorporated and applied in social system analysis. (shrink)
What does it mean to assert or deny the existence of a legal system? How can one determine whether a given law belongs to a certain legal system? What kind of structure do these systems have, that is--what necessary relations obtain between their laws? The examination of these problems in this volume leads to a new approach to traditional jurisprudential question, though the conclusions are based on a critical appraisal, particularly those of Bentham, Austin, Kelsen, and Hart.
The scientific methodology underlying model-building is critically investigated. The modeling views of Popper and Samuelson and their prototypes are critically examined in the light of the theme of the moral law of unity of knowledge and unity of the world-system configured by the meta-epistemology of organic unity of knowledge. Upon such critical examination of received methodology of model-building in economics, the extended perspective?namely of integrating the moral law derived from the divine roots as the meta-epistemology?is rigorously studied. The example (...) of the Islamic prerogative in interpreting the holistic world-system through model-building in economics is highlighted. A religio-philosophical approach is adopted to exemplify some approaches in Islamic model-building. An especial focus is placed here on grassroots types of financing and activities. The critique of these models within the existing Islamic scholarship is carried out. The result is new dimensions of macroeconomic analysis that emanate in a logical way from the meta-epistemological approach, and oppose the mainstream ideas, both in received and Islamic economic thinking as of now. (shrink)
The Dutch health care system is developing a two, or multiple, tier system. How can moral principles be of help in assessing whether this is the right track? Instead of dismissing as unhelpful the principles that have been suggested so far and exchanging them for other, usually more complex, principles, it is suggested that the methods of moral inquiry be reconsidered. Keywords: diversification in health care, health care financing, public and private responsibility in health care CiteULike Connotea Del.icio.us (...) What's this? (shrink)
Critical Heuristics of Social Planning has been recognised as the seminal work on critical systems thinking. Ulrich offers a new approach both to practical philosophy (which has until now remained rather unpractical) and to systems thinking (which has reduced the systems idea to a tool of merely instrumental, rather than practical, reason). Critical systems heuristics (CSH), as the approach is now generally called, provides planners, practitioners and policy makers with a conceptual tool for practising practical reason. It will enable them (...) to identify and discuss systematically the value implications of policies, plans, problem definitions, or program evaluations. In addition, the book offers the most thorough-going introduction available today to the espistemological foundations of critical systems thinking, including a practicable model of cogent argumentation on disputed value implications of designs. A must for practitioners and scholars who are interested in a self-critical and practicable understanding of the widespread call for holistic or systems thinking! "Critical Heuristics will be recognised as a very important book in the emerging systems discipline and will hold a significant position for many years to come". Peter B. Checkland, University of Lancaster, England. "An outstanding contribution to an adequate philosophical and heuristic framework for critical social inquiry and design". C. West Churchman, University of California, Berkeley, USA. "The book fills a major gap in the literature on the systems tradition". Michael C. Jackson, University of Hull, England. "Drawing on a profound knowledge of both Anglo-American systems theory and German practical philosophy, this book belongs to the best studies I have seen on the normative foundations of planning and systems design." Horst Steinmann, University of Erlangen-Nuremberg, Germany. "Mandatory for libraries in the field of planning". John Friedmann, University of California, Los Angeles, USA. (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 theoretical approach described in a series of articles (Jarvilehto, 1998a,b,c, 1999, 2000) is developed further in relation to the problems of emotion, consciousness, and brain activity. The approach starts with the claim that many conceptual confusions in psychology are due to the postulate that the organism and the environment are two interacting systems (”Two systems theory”). The gist of the approach is the idea that the organism and environment form a unitary system which is the basis of (...) subjective experience. This starting point leads to the conception of emotions as reorganization of the organism-environment system, and entails that emotion and knowledge are only different aspects of the same process. In the first part of the article the general outline of the approach is sketched, and in a subsequent second part (Jarvilehto, 2001) the relations between emotions, consciousness, and brain activity will be discussed in detail. (shrink)
How should moral sanctions and moral rewards - the moral sentiments involving feelings of guilt and of virtue - be employed to govern individuals' behavior if the objective is to maximize social welfare? In the model that we examine, guilt is a disincentive to act and virtue is an incentive because we assume that they are negative and positive sources of utility. We also suppose that guilt and virtue are costly to inculcate and are subject to certain constraints on their (...) use. We show that the moral sentiments should be used chiefly to control externalities and further that guilt is best to employ when most harmful acts can successfully be deterred whereas virtue is best when only a few individuals can be induced to behave well. We also contrast the optimal use of guilt and virtue to optimal Pigouvian taxation and discuss extensions of our analysis. (shrink)
The aim of my book is to explain the content of the different notions of probability.Based on a concept of logical probability, which is modified as compared with Carnap, we succeed by means of the mathematical results of de Finetti in defining the concept of statistical probability.
Lewis proposes a “reconceptualization” of how to link the psychology and neurobiology of emotion and cognitive-emotional interactions. His main proposed themes have actually been actively and quantitatively developed in the neural modeling literature for more than 30 years. This commentary summarizes some of these themes and points to areas of particularly active research in this area.
Intentional systems theory is in the first place an analysis of the meanings of such everyday ‘mentalistic’ terms as ‘believe,’ ‘desire,’ ‘expect,’ ‘decide,’ and ‘intend,’ the terms of ‘folk psychology’ (Dennett 1971) that we use to interpret, explain, and predict the behavior of other human beings, animals, some artifacts such as robots and computers, and indeed ourselves. In traditional parlance, we seem to be attributing minds to the things we thus interpret, and this raises a host of questions about (...) the conditions under which a thing can be truly said to have a mind, or to have beliefs, desires and other ‘mental’ states. According to intentional systems theory, these questions can best be answered by analyzing the logical presuppositions and methods of our attribution practices, when we adopt the intentional stance toward something. Anything that is usefully and voluminously predictable from the intentional stance is, by definition, an intentional system. The intentional stance is the strategy of interpreting the behavior of an entity (person, animal, artifact, whatever) by treating it as if it were a rational agent who governed its ‘choice’ of ‘action’ by a ‘consideration’ of its ‘beliefs’ and ‘desires.’ The scare-quotes around all these terms draw attention to the fact that some of their standard connotations may be set aside in the interests of exploiting their central features: their role in practical reasoning, and hence in the prediction of the behavior of practical reasoners. (shrink)
By advocating an enlightened method of theorizing committed to thinking in terms of a system of differences, Luhmann has contributed to the development of sociology in a manner that cannot be praised enough. Nonetheless, he does not succeed in giving an account of his own position that satisfies the very logical preconditions that he himself has formulated for it. Instead, his systems theory paradigm of sociology is based on metaphysical premises characteristic of the identity-logical thought of "Old Europe." (...) In fact, the only way to make Luh mann's approach truly comprehensible is to reconstruct it as a new version of Hegel's dialectic. (shrink)
We define a mathematical formalism based on the concept of an ‘‘open dynamical system” and show how it can be used to model embodied cognition. This formalism extends classical dynamical systems theory by distinguishing a ‘‘total system’’ (which models an agent in an environment) and an ‘‘agent system’’ (which models an agent by itself), and it includes tools for analyzing the collections of overlapping paths that occur in an embedded agent's state space. To illustrate the way (...) this formalism can be applied, several neural network models are embedded in a simple model environment. Such phenomena as masking, perceptual ambiguity, and priming are then observed. We also use this formalism to reinterpret examples from the embodiment literature, arguing that it provides for a more thorough analysis of the relevant phenomena. (shrink)
Bridging between psychological and neurobiological systems requires that the system components are closely specified at both the psychological and brain levels of analysis. We argue that in developing his dynamic systems theory framework, Lewis has sidestepped the notion of a psychological level systems model altogether, and has taken a partisan approach to his exposition of a brain-level systems model.
Does systems theory need rethinking? Most social scientists would probably say no. It had its run, was debated critically, and found wanting. If at all, it should be treated historically. Why then might systems theory need rethinking, as the title of this symposium claims? The reason is that, unlike in the natural and biosocial sciences, any conception of system in the social sciences has remained suspect in the wake of problematic Parsonian and cybernetic systems theories. The premise (...) of this special issue is that abandoning conceptions of systems has imposed a high price on the social sciences: a lack of ontologies and methodologies that are both philosophically profound and scientifically defensible. It has left social scientists who choose to ignore ontology in their theoretical and empirical work defenseless against enterprising settlers from a variety of humanities and social science disciplines who attack mainstream work with—often simplistic and naïve, but nevertheless fundamental—philosophical arguments, whether anti-scientific postmodernists or pseudo-scientific rational choice theorists. The goal of this special issue is to showcase new and original work that contributes to a rethinking of systems theory by taking the conception of systems seriously. This introduction offers a programmatic statement of a systemic ontology and methodology as well as a brief general outline and examples of what a systems-based approach in the social sciences entails. Key Words: systems theory systemism systemic approach complexity theory self-organization emergentism paradigms social mechanisms Mario Bunge. (shrink)