General Systems Theory: Problems, Perspectives, Practice

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World Scientific, 2005 - Science - 524 pages
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Systems theorists see common principles in the structure and operation of systems of all kinds and sizes. They promote an interdisciplinary science adapted for a universal application with a common language and area of concepts. In order to solve problems, make recommendations and predict the future, they use theories, models and concepts from the vast area of general systems theory. This approach is chosen as a means to overcome the fragmentation of knowledge and the isolation of the specialist but also to find new approaches to problems created by earlier 'solution of problems.'. This revised and updated second edition of General Systems Theory OCo Ideas and Applications includes new systems theories and a new chapter on self-organization and evolution. The book summarizes most of the fields of systems theory and its application systems science in one volume. It provides a quick and readable reference guide for future learning containing both general theories and practical applications without the use of complicated mathematics. Sample Chapter(s). Chapter 1: The Emergence of Holistic Thinking (2,002 KB). Contents: The Theories and Why: The Emergence of Holistic Thinking; Basic Ideas of General Systems Theory; A Selection of Systems Theories; Communication and Information Theory; Some Theories of Brain and Mind; Self-Organization and Evolution; The Applications and How: Artificial Intelligence and Life; Organizational Theory and Management Cybernetics; Decision-Making and Decision Aids; Informatics; Some of the Systems Methodologies; The Future of Systems Theory. Readership: Computer specialists, architects, businessmen, decision makers of all kinds, teachers and holistic thinkers."

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Ironically, but not surprisingly, this book is reductionist in its descriptions of many scientific disciplines. It almost had to be, since the author is not a specialist in all of these areas--nobody is. For this reason many scientists believe systems theory should not be considered a scientific theory at all--in fact, it wasn't originally formulated as a theory. That is a bad translation from the German word used, which meant "body of knowledge."
The author shows a grave ignorance especially of quantum mechanics when he claims that it makes room for free will. But there are certainly some physicists who make that logical leap as well, such as Michio Kaku. It would be helpful if the author would at least consider deterministic versions of quantum theory, such as Pilot-wave theory which has lately been bolstered by fluid dynamics experiments.
I am not sufficiently versed in systems theory to say if there is a better text on the subject. I would love a suggestion.

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Recontra Sistémico


The Emergence of Holistic Thinking
Basic Ideas of General Systems Theory
A Selection of Systems Theories
Communication and Information Theory
Some Theories of Brain and Mind
SelfOrganization and Evolution
Artificial Intelligence and Life
Organizational Theory and Management Cybernetics
DecisionMaking and Decision Aids
Some of the Systems Methodologies
The Future of Systems Theory
Name Index

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About the author (2005)

University of Gavle, Sweden

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