How Analytic is Systems Analysis? Ken Archer
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How Analytic is Systems Analysis? Ken Archer

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Ken Archer's fPET-2010 presentation

Ken Archer's fPET-2010 presentation

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How Analytic is Systems Analysis? Ken Archer How Analytic is Systems Analysis? Ken Archer Presentation Transcript

  • Analysis: Philosophic and Technical
    Philosophic:
    Decompositional
    Transformative
    Regressive
    Technical:
    Post-Scientific Art
    Applied Science
    Industrial Art
    Pre-Industrial Art
    • Asks Reason Why of Appearances
    • Regress results in Essence or First Principles of a Thing
    • Thus ultimately concerned with what things are, as this “whatness” accounts for how things move and act (hylomorphism) View slide
    • Assumes things (substances) have identity View slide
    • Central to Classical Model of Science
  • Analysis: Philosophic and Technical
    Philosophic:
    Decompositional
    Transformative
    Regressive
    Technical:
    Post-Scientific Art
    Applied Science
    Industrial Art
    Pre-Industrial Art
    • Algebraic Turn in Analysis assigns variables to known facts and unknown reasons (Vieté, Descartes)
    • Subject is Predicate Subject=Predicate (Leibniz)
    • Goal is computational discovery of equations that describe laws of nature (Newton)
    • More concerned with how things work that what things are (Bacon)
    • Replaces identity of substances with material extension
    • Central to Mathematical Model of Science
  • Analysis: Philosophic and Technical
    Philosophic:
    Decompositional
    Transformative
    Regressive
    Technical:
    Post-Scientific Art
    Applied Science
    Industrial Art
    Pre-Industrial Art
    • Extends decompositional analysis with prior transformative step, transforming statements into purely formal, symbolic language.
    • Ensures complete formality of scientific statements and proofs that otherwise rely on intuition and psychologism. (Frege)
  • Analysis: Philosophic and Technical
    Philosophic:
    Decompositional
    Transformative
    Regressive
    Technical:
    Post-Scientific Art
    Applied Science
    Industrial Art
    Pre-Industrial Art
    • Trial and Error
    • Aristotle’s description of useful arts (N. Ethics)
    • Why didn’t a trial work? Because that’s how this type of thing works.
    • Shared assumptions of regressive analysis implicit in trial and error
    • Leads to focus on making tools using existing materials (e.g. wood, water, wind and muscle)
  • Analysis: Philosophic and Technical
    Philosophic:
    Decompositional
    Transformative
    Regressive
    Technical:
    Post-Scientific Art
    Applied Science
    Industrial Art
    Pre-Industrial Art
    • Trial and Error
    • Why didn’t a trial work? Because I haven’t created the systemic conditions that make this work.
    • Shared assumptions of decompositional analysis in trial and error (but engineering still separate from science)
    • Leads to focus on harnessing power from new materials (e.g. iron, coal and steam)
  • Analysis: Philosophic and Technical
    Philosophic:
    Decompositional
    Transformative
    Regressive
    Technical:
    Post-Scientific Art
    Applied Science
    Industrial Art
    Pre-Industrial Art
    • Replacement of Trial and Error with Mathematical Science (late 19th to mid 20th centuries)
    • Engineering no longer a distinct discipline from science as it had historically been
    • Technical analysis seeks to be identical with algebraic, decompositional analysis of mathematical science
    • Corresponding reduction of technical analysis and design to problem solving
  • Analysis: Philosophic and Technical
    Philosophic:
    Decompositional
    Transformative
    Regressive
    Technical:
    Post-Scientific Art
    Applied Science
    Industrial Art
    Pre-Industrial Art
    • Reaction: Technology cannot be reduced to algebraic decomposition and problem solving.
    • Technology should certainly incorporate scientific knowledge of laws describing how things work. But true technical analysis is not complete without artful, practical knowledge, acquired through trial & error.
    • Post-scientific technical analysis is increasingly regressive, as applied science is increasingly viewed as incomplete.
    • Some examples…
  • Analysis: Philosophic and Technical
    Philosophic:
    Decompositional
    Transformative
    Regressive
    Technical:
    Post-Scientific Art
    Applied Science
    Industrial Art
    Pre-Industrial Art
    • Medicine (see Leon Kass, Sherwin Nuland)
    • More clinicians assuming human body oriented towards health, even thriving, instead of a complex of material systems that is agnostic towards life or death
    • This diagnostic assumption leads to prudent bias against invasive tests and procedures, and against prescribing multiple drugs/vaccines
  • Analysis: Philosophic and Technical
    Philosophic:
    Decompositional
    Transformative
    Regressive
    Technical:
    Post-Scientific Art
    Applied Science
    Industrial Art
    Pre-Industrial Art
    • Software Engineering (see Brian Cantwell Smith, Martin Fowler)
    • More software engineers view code as intentional, not formal
    • This assumption leads to code that removes as many dependencies as possible (separation of concerns), such that each aspect of reality (things with identity, properties without identity, logical operations) can be expressed adequately.
  • Analysis: Philosophic and Technical
    Philosophic:
    Decompositional
    Transformative
    Regressive
    Technical:
    Post-Scientific Art
    Applied Science
    Industrial Art
    Pre-Industrial Art
    • Process & Quality Analysis (see W. Edwards Deming)
    • More process/quality analysts and managers assuming workers generally oriented towards good work, instead of a unit of energy (e.g. Taylor)
    • This assumption leads to root cause analyses that assume no human error, Pareto analysis of root causes that makes isolated system changes, focus on agility and elimination of waste over control.
  • Analysis: Philosophic and Technical
    • What does this mean for technology? (1 of 2)
    • Critique of technology as desiring mastery of nature (arising from environmental concerns for sustainability, the concerns of classical philosophers of science, etc) appears true.
    • Industrial arts and applied science are oriented not around discovery of what accounts for a thing’s activity through regressive analysis, but around the (mathematically discoverable) law-like ways that things work with things regarded reductively as decomposable complexes of material parts.
  • Analysis: Philosophic and Technical
    • What does this mean for technology? (2 of 2)
    • All this means, though, is that the experiential intuition and regressive analysis of what accounts for a thing’s activity is performed no longer by scientists but by practitioners of the sciences in their technical applications. Technology becoming more humanistic.
    • When technology is regarded by its practitioners as a mere application of science, it is not applying a complete science, but an incomplete science of mathematical discovery animated by the mastery of nature.