Wolfgang Hofkirchner: Facing complexity - General System Theory

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Ponencia del curso: "Pensamiento Sistémico Abierto: en la encrucijada de un mundo complejo"
International Workshop: "Open System Thinking: at the crossroad of a complex world"
Universidad de León, Sierra Pambley, Mayo de 2013

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Wolfgang Hofkirchner: Facing complexity - General System Theory

  1. 1. Facing Complexity: General System Theory15 – 17 May 2013Curso de Extensión: Pensamiento sistémico abierto: en la encrucijada de un mundo complejoUniversidad de LeónWolfgang HofkirchnerAssociate Professor, Vienna University of TechnologyPresident, Bertalanffy Center for the Study of Systems Science (www.bcsss.org)President Elect, International Society for Information Studies (www.is4is.org)
  2. 2. Contents1 A new way of thinking: thinking in complexity1.1 Global challenges1.2 Integrativism1.3 Ludwig von Bertalanffys General System Theory (GST)1.4 Science2 A new conception of the world: self-organisation3 A new design of the future: humane systems design3.1 Evolutionary systems stage model3.2 Neither strict determinism nor indeterminism3.3 World system transition
  3. 3. 1 A new way of thinking: thinking in complexity
  4. 4. 1.1 Global challenges
  5. 5. 1.1 Global challengesglobal challenges= challenges that
  6. 6. 1.1 Global challengesglobal challenges= challenges that(1) affect (the survival of) all humanity (objective factor) and
  7. 7. 1.1 Global challengesglobal challenges= challenges that(1) affect (the survival of) all humanity (objective factor) and(2) can successfully be treated only by humanity as a whole(subjective factor)
  8. 8. 1.1 Global challenges
  9. 9. 1.1 Global challengesglobal challenges are complex challenges:
  10. 10. 1.1 Global challengesglobal challenges are complex challenges:their complexity exceeds the problem-solving capacity of anycurrently existing social system – complexity needs to be reducedin order to enable the system to cope with the challenges*: byestablishing a meta-level
  11. 11. 1.1 Global challengesglobal challenges are complex challenges:their complexity exceeds the problem-solving capacity of anycurrently existing social system – complexity needs to be reducedin order to enable the system to cope with the challenges*: byestablishing a meta-level*) Ross W. Ashby: a system needs to have at least the same varietyas another system to be able to steer that system; Niklas Luhmann:a system needs to reduce the complexity of another system to beable to steer that system
  12. 12. 1.2 Integrativism
  13. 13. ways ofthinkingreductionismprojectivismdisjunctivismintegrativismrelationship betweenlower and higher complexityrelationship betweenidentity and difference;unification or diversificationreduces higher complexity tolower complexityidentity without differenceprojects higher complexity ontolower complexity identity without differencedisjoins higher complexity fromlower complexity difference without identityintegrates lower with highercomplexity and differentiatesbetween them unity of identity and difference1.2 Integrativism
  14. 14. ways ofthinkingreductionismprojectivismdisjunctivismintegrativismrelationship betweenlower and higher complexityrelationship betweenidentity and difference;unification or diversificationreduces higher complexity tolower complexityidentity without differenceprojects higher complexity ontolower complexity identity without differencedisjoins higher complexity fromlower complexity difference without identityintegrates lower with highercomplexity and differentiatesbetween them unity of identity and difference1.2 Integrativism
  15. 15. ways ofthinkingreductionismprojectivismdisjunctivismintegrativismrelationship betweenlower and higher complexityrelationship betweenidentity and difference;unification or diversificationreduces higher complexity tolower complexityidentity without differenceprojects higher complexity ontolower complexity identity without differencedisjoins higher complexity fromlower complexity difference without identityintegrates lower with highercomplexity and differentiatesbetween them unity of identity and difference1.2 Integrativism
  16. 16. ways ofthinkingreductionismprojectivismdisjunctivismintegrativismrelationship betweenlower and higher complexityrelationship betweenidentity and difference;unification or diversificationreduces higher complexity tolower complexityidentity without differenceprojects higher complexity ontolower complexity identity without differencedisjoins higher complexity fromlower complexity difference without identityintegrates lower with highercomplexity and differentiatesbetween them unity of identity and difference1.2 Integrativism
  17. 17. ways ofthinkingreductionismprojectivismdisjunctivismintegrativismrelationship betweenlower and higher complexityrelationship betweenidentity and difference;unification or diversificationreduces higher complexity tolower complexityidentity without differenceprojects higher complexity ontolower complexity identity without differencedisjoins higher complexity fromlower complexity difference without identityintegrates lower with highercomplexity and differentiatesbetween them unity of identity and difference1.2 Integrativism
  18. 18. 1.3 Ludwig von Bertalanffys General System Theorysublation of mechanicism (physicalism) and vitalism (metaphysics)theory of universal principles applying to real-world systemsirrespective of their physical, biotic or social nature
  19. 19. 1.3.1 Epistemology•mathematical terms or natural language, if the first option is notpossible•anti-reductionism and anti-projectivism: neither physicalism norbiologism•models mirror only certain traits ("perspectivism")
  20. 20. 1.3.2 Ontology•differentiation and integration (principle of progressive organisation– "anamorphosis")•the concept of wholeness: maintenance of the organisation throughchange of components•superposition of many levels
  21. 21. 1.3.3 Ethics•humanistic concerns about global challenges: historys irrationalityand bestiality is to be ascribed to socio-cultural systems but notindividuals
  22. 22. 1.4 Sciencephilosophyreal-world sciencesnatural sciences(physics incl. cosmology,chemistry, biology, part ofpsychology, etc.)formalsciences(logics,mathe-matics)social andhumansciencesgeneralspecificengineering,applied ortechnologicalsciences aswell as arts(e.g.computerandinformationscience)
  23. 23. 1.4 Sciencephilosophyreal-world sciencesnatural sciences(physics incl. cosmology,chemistry, biology, part ofpsychology, etc.)formalsciences(logics,mathe-matics)social andhumansciencesgeneralspecificengineering,applied ortechnologicalsciences aswell as arts(e.g.computerandinformationscience)science of contemporary society
  24. 24. 1.4 Sciencephilosophyreal-world sciencesnatural sciences(physics incl. cosmology,chemistry, biology, part ofpsychology, etc.)formalsciences(logics,mathe-matics)social andhumansciencesgeneralspecificengineering,applied ortechnologicalsciences aswell as arts(e.g.computerandinformationscience)science of contemporary societyGeneralSystemTheory
  25. 25. systemsphilosophyformalsystemsscience(methodo-logy)science ofreal-world systemsgeneralspecificscience ofartificialsystemsdesignscience of theworld system in statu nascendi1.4 Science
  26. 26. systemsphilosophyformalsystemsscience(methodo-logy)science ofreal-world systemsscience ofmaterial(physi-cal)systemsscience ofliving(biotic)systemsscience ofhuman(social)systemsgeneralspecificscience ofartificialsystemsdesignscience of theworld system in statu nascendi1.4 Science
  27. 27. 2 A new conception of the world: self-organisation
  28. 28. 2 A new conception of the world: self-organisationself-organisation =def.spontaneous build-up/maintenance of order in matter (in nature, inand between real-world systems)
  29. 29. 2 A new conception of the world: self-organisationself-organisation =def.spontaneous build-up/maintenance of order in matter (in nature, inand between real-world systems)puzzle: entropy law S>0 (growing disorder)vs. life (growing order)?
  30. 30. 2 A new conception of the world: self-organisationself-organisation =def.spontaneous build-up/maintenance of order in matter (in nature, inand between real-world systems)puzzle: entropy law S>0 (growing disorder)vs. life (growing order)?solution: open systems(merger of systems theory and evolutionary theory)
  31. 31. 2 A new conception of the world: self-organisationagentsMetasystem transition 1:individual phase
  32. 32. 2 A new conception of the world: self-organisationagentsMetasystem transition 1:individual phase
  33. 33. 2 A new conception of the world: self-organisationagents in interactionMetasystem transition 2:interactional phase
  34. 34. 2 A new conception of the world: self-organisationagents in interactionMetasystem transition 2:interactional phase
  35. 35. 2 A new conception of the world: self-organisationagents in interactionMetasystem transition 3:integrative phase
  36. 36. 2 A new conception of the world: self-organisationagents in interactiongeneratestructureorganisationalrelationsMetasystem transition 3:integrative phase
  37. 37. 2 A new conception of the world: self-organisationagents in interaction(microlevel)system organisationalrelations(macrolevel)generatestructureMetasystem transition 3:integrative phase
  38. 38. 2 A new conception of the world: self-organisationagents in interaction(microlevel)constrain andenablesystem organisationalrelations(macrolevel)generatestructureMetasystem transition 3:integrative phase
  39. 39. 2 A new conception of the world: self-organisationagents in interaction(microlevel)constrain andenablesystem organisationalrelations(macrolevel)generateemergencedominancestructureMetasystem transition 3:integrative phaseself-organisation
  40. 40. 2 A new conception of the world: self-organisationagents in interaction(microlevel)constrain andenableorganisationalrelations(macrolevel)generateemergencedominancestructureSuprasystem 1:reproductionsystemself-organisation
  41. 41. 2 A new conception of the world: self-organisationagents in interaction(microlevel)constrain andenableorganisationalrelations(macrolevel)generateemergencedominancestructureSuprasystem 1:reproductionsystemself-organisation
  42. 42. 2 A new conception of the world: self-organisationagents in interaction(microlevel)constrain andenableorganisationalrelations(macrolevel)generateemergencedominancestructureSuprasystem 1:reproductionsystemself-organisation
  43. 43. 2 A new conception of the world: self-organisationagents in interaction(microlevel)constrain andenableorganisationalrelations(macrolevel)generateemergencedominancestructuresystemself-organisationSuprasystem 1:reproduction
  44. 44. 2 A new conception of the world: self-organisationagents in interaction(microlevel)constrain andenableorganisationalrelations(macrolevel)generateemergencedominancestructuresystemself-organisationSuprasystem 2:transformation
  45. 45. 2 A new conception of the world: self-organisationagents in interaction(microlevel)constrain andenableorganisationalrelations(macrolevel)generateemergencedominancestructuresystemself-organisationSuprasystem 2:transformation
  46. 46. 2 A new conception of the world: self-organisationagents in interaction(microlevel)constrain andenableorganisationalrelations(macrolevel)generateemergencedominancestructuresystemself-organisationSuprasystem 2:transformation
  47. 47. 2 A new conception of the world: self-organisationagents in interaction(microlevel)constrain andenableorganisationalrelations(macrolevel)generateemergencedominancestructuresystemself-organisationSuprasystem 2:transformation
  48. 48. 2 A new conception of the world: self-organisationagents in interaction(microlevel)constrain andenableorganisationalrelations(macrolevel)generateemergencedominancestructuresystemself-organisationSuprasystem 2:transformation
  49. 49. 3 A new design for the future: humane systems design
  50. 50. 3.1 Evolutionary systems stage model
  51. 51. 3.1 Evolutionary systems stage modelsystems nlevelsphases
  52. 52. 3.1 Evolutionary systems stage modelsystems nphase n phase n+1levelsphasesmeta-/suprasystem n+1space ofpossibilities ncomplexificationemergence from a necessary condition
  53. 53. 3.1 Evolutionary systems stage modelsystems nphase n phase n+1level n+1level nlevelsphasesmeta-/suprasystem n+1space ofpossibilities ncomplexificationnew organisational relationselements n+1emergence from a necessary conditiondownwardcausationthroughhigher-orderstructure
  54. 54. 3.2 Neither strict determinism nor indeterminism
  55. 55. 3.2 Neither strict determinism nor indeterminismStrict determinismt
  56. 56. 3.2 Neither strict determinism nor indeterminismspace ofpossibility(there is only one option)space ofimpossibilitiesStrict determinismspace ofimpossibilitiest
  57. 57. 3.2 Neither strict determinism nor indeterminismspace ofpossibility(there is only one option)space ofimpossibilitiesspace ofimpossibilitiest
  58. 58. 3.2 Neither strict determinism nor indeterminismt
  59. 59. (empty space ofimpossibilities)3.2 Neither strict determinism nor indeterminismall-embracing space ofpossibilities(everything is possible)Indeterminismt
  60. 60. (empty space ofimpossibilities)3.2 Neither strict determinism nor indeterminismall-embracing space ofpossibilities(everything is possible)t
  61. 61. (empty space ofimpossibilities)3.2 Neither strict determinism nor indeterminismall-embracing space ofpossibilities(everything is possible)t
  62. 62. (empty space ofimpossibilities)3.2 Neither strict determinism nor indeterminismall-embracing space ofpossibilities(everything is possible)tLess-than-strictdeterminism
  63. 63. 3.2 Neither strict determinism nor indeterminismLess-than-strictdeterminismt
  64. 64. 3.2 Neither strict determinism nor indeterminismLess-than-strictdeterminismspace of possibilitiesspace ofimpossibilitiest
  65. 65. 3.3 World system transitionHistorical situationsas points ofbifurcationspace of possibilitiesspace ofimpossibilitiest
  66. 66. 3.3 World system transitionThe Great Bifurcationspace of possibilitiesspace ofimpossibilitiestoday
  67. 67. 3.3 World system transitionThe Great Bifurcationamplifiedfluctuations(=crisis)space of possibilitiesspace ofimpossibilitiestoday
  68. 68. 3.3 World system transitionThe Great Bifurcationamplifiedfluctuations(=crisis)regulated financial capitalismspace of possibilitiesspace ofimpossibilitiestoday
  69. 69. 3.3 World system transitionThe Great Bifurcationamplifiedfluctuations(=crisis)mastering the global challenges:Global Sustainable InformationSociety (GSIS)social systems falling apart:exterminism, barbarismregulated financial capitalismspace of possibilitiesspace ofimpossibilitiestoday

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