f. Systems Theory from a Cognitive and Physicalist Perspective

Systems Theory from a Cognitive and Physicalist Perspective

In June, 2022, I commented in my final post on causality and systems theory that General Systems Theory was not as well developed as I had hoped. So, more work was required before I could make further posts on the topic.

That work is now complete. However, the resulting article is too long for a single blog post and cannot be broken down into a series. So, I have produced it in pdf form and it can be downloaded here.

It updates my earlier articles and pdfs “Joining Up the Dots”, “How we Understand a Complex Universe”, “The Importance of Information” and “What is Information at Source”. So, these have been deleted from the website.

A brief description of the article follows.

The cognitive perspective holds that we are our minds and cannot escape the constraints imposed by their biology and evolutionary history. Nevertheless, human cognition is a reasonably accurate representation of reality. Physicalism holds that space-time comprises the whole of reality and that everything, including abstract concepts and information, exists within it.

From this perspective, I describe some of the main concepts in systems theory. They include: the importance of structure in forming meaningful systems; the nature of relationships, causality, and physical laws; and the significance of recursion, hierarchy, holism, and emergence. I also discuss cognitive factors including: our mental limitations; the nature of information and language; and our search for knowledge in a world of complexity and apparent disorder.

The article concludes with the implications of this perspective for General System Theory and Social Systems Theory and suggests further work to advance these disciplines.

The article has been written up in the style of an academic paper because I will submit it to relevant journals in the near future. However, I have used plain English and explain my ideas in a step by step manner. There are also many diagrams which help to illustrate them.

I hope that you find the article interesting and enlightening.

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