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In the context of systems science and systems philosophy, systemics is an initiative to study systems. It is an attempt at developing logical, mathematical, engineering and philosophical paradigms and frameworks in which physical, technological, biological, social, cognitive and metaphysical systems can be studied and modeled.[ citation needed ]

Systems science Study of the nature of systems

Systems science is an interdisciplinary field that studies the nature of systems—from simple to complex—in nature, society, cognition, engineering, technology and science itself. To systems scientists, the world can be understood as a system of systems. The field aims to develop interdisciplinary foundations that are applicable in a variety of areas, such as psychology, biology, medicine, communication, business management, computer science, engineering, and social sciences.

Systems philosophy is a discipline aimed at constructing a new philosophy by using systems concepts. The discipline was first described by Ervin Laszlo in his 1972 book Introduction to Systems Philosophy: Toward a New Paradigm of Contemporary Thought. It has been described as the "reorientation of thought and world view ensuing from the introduction of "systems" as a new scientific paradigm".

Metaphysics Branch of philosophy dealing with the nature of reality

Metaphysics is the branch of philosophy that examines the fundamental nature of reality, including the relationship between mind and matter, between substance and attribute, and between potentiality and actuality. The word "metaphysics" comes from two Greek words that, together, literally mean "after or behind or among [the study of] the natural". It has been suggested that the term might have been coined by a first century CE editor who assembled various small selections of Aristotle’s works into the treatise we now know by the name Metaphysics.


The term "systemics" was coined in the 1970s by Mario Bunge and others, as an alternative paradigm for research related to general systems theory and systems science. [1]

Mario Bunge Argentine philosopher and physicist

Mario Augusto Bunge is an Argentine philosopher, philosopher of science and physicist who is mainly active in Canada.

Systems theory Interdisciplinary study of systems

Systems theory is the interdisciplinary study of systems. A system is a cohesive conglomeration of interrelated and interdependent parts that is either natural or man-made. Every system is delineated by its spatial and temporal boundaries, surrounded and influenced by its environment, described by its structure and purpose or nature and expressed in its functioning. In terms of its effects, a system can be more than the sum of its parts if it expresses synergy or emergent behavior. Changing one part of the system usually affects other parts and the whole system, with predictable patterns of behavior. For systems that are self-learning and self-adapting, the positive growth and adaptation depend upon how well the system is adjusted with its environment. Some systems function mainly to support other systems by aiding in the maintenance of the other system to prevent failure. The goal of systems theory is systematically discovering a system's dynamics, constraints, conditions and elucidating principles that can be discerned and applied to systems at every level of nesting, and in every field for achieving optimized equifinality.

See also

Autopoiesis Systems concept which entails automatic reproduction and maintenance

The term autopoiesis refers to a system capable of reproducing and maintaining itself. The original definition can be found in Autopoiesis and Cognition: the Realization of the Living :

Page 16: It was in these circumstances ... in which he analyzed Don Quixote's dilemma of whether to follow the path of arms or the path of letters, I understood for the first time the power of the word "poiesis" and invented the word that we needed: autopoiesis. This was a word without a history, a word that could directly mean what takes place in the dynamics of the autonomy proper to living systems.

Page 78: An autopoietic machine is a machine organized as a network of processes of production of components which: (i) through their interactions and transformations continuously regenerate and realize the network of processes (relations) that produced them; and (ii) constitute it as a concrete unity in space in which they exist by specifying the topological domain of its realization as such a network.

Page 89: ... the space defined by an autopoietic system is self-contained and cannot be described by using dimensions that define another space. When we refer to our interactions with a concrete autopoietic system, however, we project this system on the space of our manipulations and make a description of this projection.

Cybernetics theory of communication and control based on regulatory feedback

Cybernetics is a transdisciplinary approach for exploring regulatory systems—their structures, constraints, and possibilities. Norbert Wiener defined cybernetics in 1948 as "the scientific study of control and communication in the animal and the machine." In other words, it is the scientific study of how humans, animals and machines control and communicate with each other.

Meta-systems have several definitions. In general, they link the concepts "system" and "meta-". A "meta-system" is about other systems, such as describing, generalizing, modelling, or analyzing the other system(s).

Related Research Articles

A paradigm shift, a concept identified by the American physicist and philosopher Thomas Kuhn, is a fundamental change in the basic concepts and experimental practices of a scientific discipline. Kuhn presented his notion of a paradigm shift in his influential book The Structure of Scientific Revolutions (1962).

Outline of academic disciplines Overview of and topical guide to academic disciplines

The following outline is provided as an overview of an topical guide to academic disciplines:

Raimo Heikki Tuomela is a Finnish philosopher. Tuomela received his first degree of doctor of philosophy in 1968 from the University of Helsinki and the second one in 1969 from Stanford University. Tuomela was full professor of philosophy at the Department of Philosophy, University of Helsinki in 1971–2008.

Second-order cybernetics, also known as the cybernetics of cybernetics, is the recursive application of cybernetics to itself. It was developed between approximately 1968 and 1975 by Margaret Mead, Heinz von Foerster and others. Von Foerster referred to it as the cybernetics of "observing systems" whereas first order cybernetics is that of "observed systems". It is sometimes referred to as the "new cybernetics", the term preferred by Gordon Pask, and is closely allied to radical constructivism, which was developed around the same time by Ernst von Glasersfeld. While it is sometimes considered a radical break from the earlier concerns of cybernetics, there is much continuity with previous work and it can be thought of as the completion of the discipline, responding to issues evident during the Macy conferences in which cybernetics was initially developed. Its concerns include epistemology, ethics, autonomy, self-consistency, self-referentiality, and self-organizing capabilities of complex systems. It has been characterised as cybernetics where "circularity is taken seriously".

Socio-cognitive or sociocognitive has been used in academic literature with two different meanings: 1) it either describes how processes of group formation effect cognition, studied in cognitive sociology, or 2) it refers to the integration of the cognitive and social properties of systems, processes, functions, models, as well as can indicate the branch of science, engineering or technology, such as socio-cognitive research, socio-cognitive interactions. This term is especially used when complex cognitive and social properties are reciprocally connected and essential for a given problem.

Joseph Agassi academic

Joseph Agassi is an Israeli academic with contributions in logic, scientific method, and philosophy. He studied under Karl Popper and taught at the London School of Economics. He later taught at the University of Hong Kong, the University of Illinois, Boston University, and York University in Canada. He had dual appointments in the last positions with Tel Aviv University.

Humberto Maturana Chilean biologist and philosopher

Humberto Maturana is a Chilean biologist turned philosopher. Many consider him a member of a group of second-order cybernetics theoreticians such as Heinz von Foerster, Gordon Pask, Herbert Brün and Ernst von Glasersfeld.

In science, computing, and engineering, a black box is a device, system or object which can be viewed in terms of its inputs and outputs, without any knowledge of its internal workings. Its implementation is "opaque" (black). Almost anything might be referred to as a black box: a transistor, an algorithm, or the human brain.

Action theory (sociology) sociological theory of social action

In sociology, action theory is the theory of social action presented by the American theorist Talcott Parsons.

Werner Leinfellner Austrian philosopher of science

Werner Leinfellner was professor of philosophy at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln and at the Vienna University of Technology. After recovering from life-threatening wounds during World War II, he studied chemistry and physics at the Universities of Vienna and Graz, eventually turning to the study of the philosophy of science, and receiving his Ph.D. in 1959. He moved to the United States in 1967, in part, because of problems faced by empirically oriented philosophers in obtaining academic positions in Austria and Germany. He is notable for his contributions to philosophy of science, as a member of European Academy of Sciences and Arts, for founding the journal Theory and Decision, for co-founding Theory and Decision Library, and for co-founding the Austrian Ludwig Wittgenstein Society and International Wittgenstein Symposium.

Patrick Aidan Heelan, S.J. was an Irish-American Jesuit priest, physicist, and philosopher of science. He was William A. Gaston Professor of Philosophy at Georgetown University.

Viable system theory (VST) concerns cybernetic processes in relation to the development/evolution of dynamical systems. They are considered to be living systems in the sense that they are complex and adaptive, can learn, and are capable of maintaining an autonomous existence, at least within the confines of their constraints. These attributes involve the maintenance of internal stability through adaptation to changing environments. One can distinguish between two strands such theory: formal systems and principally non-formal system. Formal viable system theory is normally referred to as viability theory, and provides a mathematical approach to explore the dynamics of complex systems set within the context of control theory. In contrast, principally non-formal viable system theory is concerned with descriptive approaches to the study of viability through the processes of control and communication, though these theories may have mathematical descriptions associated with them.

Autonomous agency theory (AAT) is a viable system theory (VST) which models autonomous social complex adaptive systems. It can be used to model the relationship between an agency and its environment(s), and these may include other interactive agencies. The nature of that interaction is determined by both the agency's external and internal attributes and constraints. Internal attributes may include immanent dynamic "self" processes that drive agency change.


  1. Mario Bunge (1979). A world of systems. Dordrecht; Boston: Reidel, p. 1.

Further reading

Charles François, is a Belgian administrator, editor and scientist in the fields of cybernetics, systems theory and systems science, internationally known for his main work the International Encyclopedia of Systems and Cybernetics.

Béla H. Bánáthy Hungarian linguist and systems scientist

Béla Heinrich Bánáthy was an Hungarian-American linguist, and Professor at San Jose State University and UC Berkeley. He is known as founder of the White Stag Leadership Development Program, established the International Systems Institute in 1982, and was co-founder of the General Evolutionary Research Group in 1984.