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Talk:Systems theory

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Revision as of 22:36, March 29, 2011 by Margaret9mary (Talk | contribs)

First section as an abstract/brief overview

You said to write first in the talk page--but I've been writing on talk pages for 3 months. So I finally added something to the article. Why did I say it?

Yesterday I went over the article (Systems theory--Psychology Wiki) very carefully. You did the overwhelming majority of the editing and have expressed very well many of the basics of systems theory. But not until page 6 do you say Bertalanffy was proposing, "a new perspective, a new way of doing science." That should have been on the first page, as other essentials should be.

Why is it so hard to describe systems theory? It's been around for nearly a century! It's in the habits of mind that were established with the classical paradigm of science in the 1800s--to break complex systems down into little pieces and study 2 variables--and think linearly--and that this came to be considered the only way of doing science. This has caused heartbreaking problems for many--even Bateson, Bowlby and others who were trying to establish various scientific understandings that can only be understood properly through systems theory.

On page 10 you cite Raven saying, "...these sociocybernetic processes which consistently undermine well-intentioned public action (action as defined in terms of the classical paradigm of science) and are currently heading our species, at an exponentially increasing rate, toward extinction." It's not the dynamic order of nature that's at fault but our habits of thinking that stand in the way of finding effective ways of addressing these problems. And so many years have passed...

I've been asked various times about my references. I've read some of the same things others have read. But because my brain is wired to first see the interconnections that I've understood them differently. And that is not "original research."Margaret9mary 22:52, March 23, 2011 (UTC)

Wikpedia is different than the PsychologyWiki Dr. Becker-Weidman Talk 00:11, March 24, 2011 (UTC)
When I encountered Bateson's book Steps to an Ecology of Mind, I could immediately envision a whole functioning ecosystem and compare it to the functioning of the mind. But I was visual/kinesthetic and functionally non-verbal until after tthe age of 25. Being told I shouldn't see the connections between things in jr. high and high was an obstacle to my learning (despite As and Bs) until I discovered I was just a normal variation of human being.
Science has a responsibility to be comprehensible and to be effective to a reasonable degree. Otherwise, why should society provide the funding for scientific work? The delays of decades concerning progress on Systems theory, among many other subjects in science, is in part because scientific language is given priority over comprehension. Having known scientists up close I know that their own colleagues often don't understand it. If you wish to rewrite what I wrote and give it a more formal cast, fine, but an initial definition of Systems theory, like an abstract, should not take over 6 pages.Margaret9mary 20:05, March 24, 2011 (UTC)

recent addition

You (User:Margaret9mary added: The classic paradigm of science is to break complex systems down into pieces and to limit study to two variables. This provides accuracy and predicatability for small parts of a system but destroys the perception and understanding of the whole. Systems theory proposes a way of doing science that explains the dynamics of the whole. The two paradigms complement each other.

I'm not sure that is fully accurate. Multivariate analysis, multiple regression, ANOVA, and factor analysis, to name a few, are approaches to consider the variable impact of many variables in different combinations. Dr. Becker-Weidman Talk 00:11, March 24, 2011 (UTC)
"the benefit of humankind" is the purpose of science (Bathany quoted, p. 3).
" ...Von Bertalanffy opened up something much broader and of much greater significance than a single theory...he created a new paradigm for the development of theories." "...all phenomena can be viewed as a web of relationships among elements [i.e.] a system." (p. 6)
(and what Lorenz' attractor demonstrates is not chaos (absolute randomness) despite the name Chaos theory, but a very clear pattern of a system).
"...the study of general systems required a language that could depict energetics and kinetics at any system scale." and the work of Wiener, von Neumann, Poincare and others was developed without the use of computers"--with pencil and paper (p. 5).
The biosphere has a living, dynamic order that is self-regulating, self-correcting, self-healing, and with a capacity to grow, self-replicate and evolve. As to cause, it doesn't matter how it is explained--or if it isn't explained. It has existed without us and without our explanations. Nature is something we have to work with, and understanding how it functions is essential. A Systems theory that is accessible to experts and laypeople is needed. Wikipedia and PsychologyWiki can do it--and I hope they--we--will.Margaret9mary 20:37, March 24, 2011 (UTC)
Thank you for the reference and quote. It does not directly respond to my comment, "I'm not sure that is fully accurate. Multivariate analysis, multiple regression, ANOVA, and factor analysis, to name a few, are approaches to consider the variable impact of many variables in different combinations." Dr. Becker-Weidman Talk 23:45, March 24, 2011 (UTC)
I checked your list on WP. Judging from a brief reading, all of them concern man-made systems that involve statistics and higher math; in factor analysis the primary application in psychology is intelligence research.
I am not talking about man-made systems--we can't see outcomes of millions of years in human designed systems as we can in the natural world. One of the early sources of systems theory grew out of the need in biology to explain the complex interactions in life systems--such as in ecosystems--because the biosphere to all appearances functions as a unified system. "...von Bertalanffy's objective was to bring together under one heading the organismic science that he had observed in his work as a biologist. His desire was to use the word 'system' to describe those principles which are common to systems in general..." (p. 6 systems theory). In comparison to living systems, human devised systems are woefully incomplete.
And truly I'm not trying to bug you or take up your time. On the contrary. For over 30 years I've been aware of the problems in describing systems theory. Bateson recognized its application to social relationships and social systems but he didn't give an easy-to-understand explanation. I waited for years for others to do so. The proliferation of systems theories is a symptom that the underlying principles have not yet been understood). Finally I came across Lawrence S. Bale (1995) Gregory Bateson, Cybernetics and the Social/Behavioral Sciences which in the first 8 pages gives a good summary of the differences between the classical paradigm of science and the paradigm of systems theory and why science has been trapped by linear thinking. Just as psychology was trapped by behaviorist psychology because it was studying behavior limited to conditioning, modern science is trapped in the scientific methodology developed for the inanimate world. Margaret9mary 20:51, March 29, 2011 (UTC)
P.S. sorry I can't remember how to set up a link to Bale's article. Margaret9mary 21:14, March 29, 2011 (UTC)

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