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Sunday, August 19, 2018

Michael C. Jackson and the philosophy of systems

Michael C. Jackson (1951-now) is a British systems scientist best known his contributions to systems theory. Wikipedia says,


"Jackson's teaching and research interests are systems thinking, organizational cybernetics, creative problem solving, critical systems thinking, management science and systems science." (Wikipedia: Michael C. Jackson, 4.9.21 UTC 19:27)


The rest of this post is some quotes from Jackson.




"In modern systems approach, the concept 'system' is used not to refer to things in the world but to a particular way of organizing our thoughts about the world." (Creative Problem Solving: Total Systems Intervention, 1991)


"The classification of a system as complex or simple will depend upon the observer of the system and upon the purpose they have for considering the system." (Towards a System of Systems Methodologies, 1984)


"The problem solver needs to stand back and examine problem contexts in the light of different W's (weltanschauungen). Perhaps they can decide which W seems to capture the essence of the particular problem context he is faced with." (Towards a System of Systems Methodologies, 1984)


Holism and reductionism


"There exists an alternative to reductionism for studying systems. This alternative is known as holism. Holism considers systems to be more than the sum of their parts. It is of course interested in the parts and particularly the networks of relationships between the parts, but primarily how they give rise to and sustain in existence the new entity that is the whole..." (Systems Thinking: Creative Holism for Managers, 2003)


"Reductionism sees the parts as paramount and seeks to identify the parts, understand the parts and work up from an understanding of the parts to an understanding of the whole. The problem with this is that the whole often seems to take on a form that is not recognizable from the parts." (Systems Thinking: Creative Holism for Managers, 2003)