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Book part
Publication date: 23 July 2016

Paul Lewis

The purpose of this chapter is to examine the influence exerted on the thought of F.A. Hayek by the work of the biologist and founder of system theory, Ludwig von…

Abstract

The purpose of this chapter is to examine the influence exerted on the thought of F.A. Hayek by the work of the biologist and founder of system theory, Ludwig von Bertalanffy. The author’s methodology includes textual analysis and archival work. It is argued first of all that Bertalanffy provided Hayek with a conceptual framework in terms of which he could articulate the philosophical significance of his theoretical psychology. In particular, Bertalanffy’s work afforded Hayek a set of concepts that helped him to articulate the relationship between mental and physical events – that is, between mind and body – implied by his theory. The second part of the chapter builds on the first by exploring how Hayek subsequently applied the abstract conceptual framework or ontology set out by Bertalanffy to the economy. In this way, Bertalanffy’s ideas helped Hayek to articulate and shape his emerging view of the economy as a complex adaptive system, which consists of different ‘levels of organisation’, which displays ‘structural’ or ‘emergent properties’, and which evolves over time on the basis of those group-level properties.

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Research in the History of Economic Thought and Methodology
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78560-960-2

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Article
Publication date: 24 June 2013

David Pouvreau

The paper aims to present the main perspectives and conclusions of a doctoral research in the history and philosophy of science conducted in France and Austria by the…

Abstract

Purpose

The paper aims to present the main perspectives and conclusions of a doctoral research in the history and philosophy of science conducted in France and Austria by the author on the project of “general systemology” (or “general system theory”) instigated by Ludwig von Bertalanffy.

Design/methodology/approach

A genealogical enquiry accounts for its scientific, philosophical and more generally cultural origins. Its genesis in Bertalanffy's works between 1926 and 1944 is explained. The process that led it to become a collective project is then discussed: the history of the Society for General Systems Research is considered, the ambivalence of its role with regard to general systemology being demonstrated. Finally, the unity of the diverse contributions to the latter's development is asserted in a framework put forward by the author in order to account for its structure and functions.

Findings

While stating a comprehensive view of its history, the paper characterizes general systemology as the project of a general science of systemic interpretation of the “real” which remains topical, although it was never fully actualized.

Originality/value

A new insight is thus provided on the scope and meaning of this hermeneutics: it meets the contemporary need for a better understanding of the foundations of systems research.

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Kybernetes, vol. 42 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0368-492X

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Article
Publication date: 1 March 2006

Gerard de Zeeuw

This paper aims to celebrate Felix Geyer's many contributions to the systems movement. He participated from the beginning, with the energy that has become his hallmark…

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333

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to celebrate Felix Geyer's many contributions to the systems movement. He participated from the beginning, with the energy that has become his hallmark. The area of systems studies was introduced in The Netherlands in about 1970, mainly through the activities of the Systeemgroep Nederland or Dutch Systems Group, initiated by Ab Hanken. The paper aims to unearth the original message that made the field of systems attractive.

Design/methodology/approach

The aim is achieved on the basis of a re‐analysis of von Bertalanffy's systems papers, which he published under the title of “General System Theory”.

Findings

von Bertalanffy's message was not what is usually thought – that many political leaders treat their problems incompetently and hence make them less solvable or even create messes. He answered a general question about knowledge acquisition, in an area where an answer was sorely needed.

Practical implications

von Bertalanffy's answer inspired hope that one day one would be able to acquire the knowledge needed to solve the politicians' problems. He even identified a number of methods to do so.

Originality/value

The claim of the paper is that von Bertalanffy intended systems thinking to extend methods of knowing. This intention has been obscured by the limited methods he introduced. This claim is argued in an original way.

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Kybernetes, vol. 35 no. 3/4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0368-492X

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Book part
Publication date: 23 July 2016

Gabriel Oliva

This chapter explores the ways in which cybernetics influenced the works of F. A. Hayek from the late 1940s onward. It shows that the concept of negative feedback…

Abstract

This chapter explores the ways in which cybernetics influenced the works of F. A. Hayek from the late 1940s onward. It shows that the concept of negative feedback, borrowed from cybernetics, was central to Hayek’s attempt to explain the principle of the emergence of human purposive behavior. Next, the chapter discusses Hayek’s later uses of cybernetic ideas in his works on the spontaneous formation of social orders. Finally, Hayek’s view on the appropriate scope of the use of cybernetics is considered.

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Research in the History of Economic Thought and Methodology
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78560-960-2

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Book part
Publication date: 16 December 2017

John B. Davis

In his 1931 unpublished “Surplus Product” manuscript Sraffa used an open–closed distinction to explain the relationship between the “economic field” and distribution. This…

Abstract

In his 1931 unpublished “Surplus Product” manuscript Sraffa used an open–closed distinction to explain the relationship between the “economic field” and distribution. This chapter examines Sraffa’s thinking in this regard, and shows how it allowed him to resolve a problem he encountered in his early objectivist representation of commodity production in economies with a surplus. The chapter argues that Sraffa adopted a view different from Bertalanffy’s general systems theory understanding of open and closed systems developed around the same time in such a way as to address the specific nature of economics. The chapter compares two related interpretations of Sraffa’s thinking in regard to the open–closed distinction developed by Arena and Ginzburg, and also addresses how Sraffa’s thinking regarding open and closed systems compares with similar thinking of Wittgenstein and Gramsci. The concluding discussion contrasts Sraffa’s causal reasoning with mainstream economics’ ceteris paribus method of causal reasoning.

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Including a Symposium on New Directions in Sraffa Scholarship
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78714-539-9

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Article
Publication date: 19 October 2010

Hui‐Chih Wang and Her‐Sen Doong

Taiwan is one of several leading countries in the mobile music context. Accordingly, Taiwan's experiences in promoting mobile music service diffusion are of importance and…

Abstract

Purpose

Taiwan is one of several leading countries in the mobile music context. Accordingly, Taiwan's experiences in promoting mobile music service diffusion are of importance and interest to international practitioners and researchers. Applying Rogers' innovation diffusion theory, this study aims to employ econometric models to investigate whether the diffusion of mobile music service adoption is affected by external influences (e.g. mass media advertising, salespeople, and service providers), internal influences (e.g. interactions and imitations among acquaintances), or a combination of such influences.

Design/methodology/approach

To determine which influence best explained the diffusion of mobile music adoptions, the external, internal, and Von Bertalanffy mixed influence diffusion models were tested in this study. GNUS, a strongly functional language and environment to statistically explore data sets, was used to estimate the parameters of each model. The performance of each diffusion model was then examined using the Akaike AIC and Schwarz BIC statistics.

Findings

Findings indicated that the Von Bertalanffy mixed influences model best describes the diffusion pattern of mobile music service adoption and that acquaintances' influence in terms of interactions is the dominant factor influencing mobile music service adoption decision in Taiwan.

Originality/value

How managers of a mobile music service provider can use the internal and external influences interchangeably to effectively accelerate the mobile music diffusion at the different stage of product lifecycle is presented in this study. Indeed, the mobile music service is one of the most important industries worldwide not only because its penetration rate in many countries is over 50 percent, but also because of its killer applications. In light of this, the study contributes highly to theoretical and empirical examinations because the diffusion of the mobile music services within a society is the essence of the development/usage of the m‐commerce or music industries.

Details

Management Decision, vol. 48 no. 9
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0025-1747

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Article
Publication date: 1 February 2001

Alex M. Andrew

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100

Abstract

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Kybernetes, vol. 30 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0368-492X

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Article
Publication date: 1 January 2004

Matjaz Mulej, Vojko Potocan, Zdenka Zenko, Stefan Kajzer, Dusko Ursic, Jozica Knez‐Riedl, Monty Lynn and Jozef Ovsenik

Ludwig von Bertalanffy created general systems theory in an effort to counter the oversight and endangerment of humankind by disciplinary specialization. Bertalanffy

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1667

Abstract

Ludwig von Bertalanffy created general systems theory in an effort to counter the oversight and endangerment of humankind by disciplinary specialization. Bertalanffy desired for a holistic worldview and openness to replace overspecialization. Although widely cited and regarded, his concept prevailed only at a fictitious level, mostly as a tool inside specialization, which many scholars are neither able to overcome nor complement with interdisciplinary, creative co‐operation. Similarities (isomorphisms) are not enough. Here, a system of seven groups of systems thinking principles, which serve as a framework for restoring Bertalanffian systems thinking without his exaggerations is presented.

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Kybernetes, vol. 33 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0368-492X

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Article
Publication date: 1 June 2010

Carlo Scognamiglio

This article aims to explore anticipation from an ontological point of view and to analyze in particular some of Nicolai Hartmann's ideas.

Abstract

Purpose

This article aims to explore anticipation from an ontological point of view and to analyze in particular some of Nicolai Hartmann's ideas.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper presents a conceptual analysis of an ontological theory of anticipation.

Findings

Analyzing philosophical problems related to “futures” and “anticipation”, to the framework of modal categories, and connecting Hartmann with Ludwig von Bertalanffy and comparing the outcome with some Artistotelian theses, offers a philosophical perspective on futures studies.

Research limitations/implications

The “human” phenomenon of anticipation will be defined as possibly the only form of authentic anticipation, interpreted as a teleological act.

Originality/value

The result is obtained through the distinction, articulated for each level of reality, among different kinds of determination.

Details

Foresight, vol. 12 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1463-6689

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Article
Publication date: 20 November 2017

Rodolfo A. Fiorini

This paper aims to offer an innovative and original solution methodology proposal to the problem of arbitrary complex multiscale (ACM) ontological uncertainty management…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to offer an innovative and original solution methodology proposal to the problem of arbitrary complex multiscale (ACM) ontological uncertainty management (OUM). The solution is based on the postulate that society is an ACM system of purposive actors within continuous change. Present social problems are multiscale-order deficiencies, which cannot be fixed by the traditional hierarchical approach alone, by doing what one does better or more intensely, but rather by changing the way one does it.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper treasures several past guidelines, from McCulloch, Wiener, Conant, Ashby and von Foerster to Bateson, Beer and Rosen’s concept of a non-trivial system to arrive to an indispensable and key anticipatory learning system (ALS) component for managing unexpected perturbations by an antifragility approach as defined by Taleb. This ALS component is the key part of our new methodology called “computational information conservation theory (CICT) OUM” approach, based on brand new numeric system behavior awareness from CICT.

Findings

To achieve an antifragility behavior, next generation system must use new CICT OUM-like approach to face the problem of multiscale OUM effectively and successfully. In this manner, homeodynamic operating equilibria can emerge out of a self-organizing landscape of self-structuring attractor points in a natural way.

Research limitations/implications

This paper presents a relevant contribution toward a new post-Bertalanffy Extended Theory of Systems. Due to its intrinsic self-scaling properties, this system approach can be applied at any system scale: from single quantum system application development to full system governance strategic assessment policies and beyond.

Practical implications

The new post-Bertalanffy Extended Theory of Systems Framework allows, for the first time, social, biological and biomedical engineering ideal system categorization levels, from an operational perspective, to be matched exactly to practical system modeling interaction styles, with no paradigmatic operational ambiguity and information loss.

Social implications

Even new social and advanced health and wellbeing information application can successfully and reliably manage higher system complexity than contemporary ones, with a minimum of design specification and less system final operative environment knowledge at design level. The present paper offers for discussion an innovative solution proposal for the complex society and big government modeling and management approach.

Originality/value

Specifically, advanced wellbeing applications, high reliability organization, mission critical project system, very low technological risk and crisis management system can benefit highly from our new methodology called CICT OUM approach and related techniques. This paper presents a relevant contribution toward a new post-Bertalanffy Extended Theory of Systems. Due to its intrinsic self-scaling properties, this system approach can be applied at any system scale: from a single quantum system application development to full system governance strategic assessment policies and beyond.

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