June 27-July 2,1999, Asilomar Conference Center, Pacific Grove, California USA


Call for Participation

SIG Calls

Exploratory Sessions


Print Out Poster

ISSS1999 Graphic

Call for Participation


Bela Antal Banathy ISSS President

During the past few centuries we have achieved a remarkable synthesis of science and technology. We have been less successful in establishing a graceful or even workable relationship between nature, humanity, science, and technology. It is becoming increasingly important for us to ask the fundamental questions that will lead to an understanding of these relationships.

Unique to our age is the massive scale at which we are applying science and technology to the construction of our physical, social, and cultural reality. However, our approach to the construction of these realities is fragmented. A distinguishing feature of the next millennium must be a more systemic view of science and technology. A view that gives full expression to the creative energy of the human spirit upon which the information age can be built.

A disciplined approach to engaging our creative energy calls for a level of understanding that crosses the boundaries between the humanities, the arts, the sciences, and technologies. It certainly calls for a re-examination of science, one that embraces different ways of knowing, and different ways of being. The boundary-crossings may well be rooted in our humanity, in our conceptions of aesthetics, justice, morality, and ethics.

The above discussion echoes the sentiments of the founders of ISSS. Some 44 years ago a group of systems thinkers asked: How can science be unified? How can science be applied to the improvement of the human condition? Since the time when these questions were asked, humanity has achieved a remarkable synthesis of science and technology. Some fragmentation has been overcome; however, significant, and deep-rooted fragmentation remains. It may well be that in order for us to take the next step, the original questions should be rephrased to read: How can the improvement of the human condition become the basis for the unification of science? How can the unification of science become the basis for the improvement of the human condition?

For comments and further information contact: Bela Antal Banathy, President ISSS
38 Seca Place, Salinas, CA 93908 USA, email:, Tel: (831)375-7614



ABSTRACT DEADLINE: January 15, 1999

PAPER DEADLINE: April 15, 1999

Please prepare an extended abstract not exceeding 300 words.

Send Abstracts to:

Bela A Banathy
38 Seca Place
Salinas, CA 93908 USA

If you have e-mail access, please forward your abstract via e-mail in
addition to forwarding your hard copy through traditional post.

Please indicate on the abstract the session you prefer for the presentation
of your paper. A brief description of each of the proposed sessions and the
names of the respective SIG chairs can be found below to help you with the
selection of your preferred session.

General sessions will also be organised to cater for papers that do not
belong to any of the proposed sessions.


from the SIG on


Critical Systems Theory & Practice

Designing Educational Systems

Duality Theory

Evolution and Complexity Special Integration Group

Futurism and Change

Human Systems Inquiry

Hierarchy Theory

Information Systems Design and Information Technology

Living Systems Analysis

Medical and Health

Modeling and Metamodeling


Research Toward A General Theories Of Systems (RTGTS)

Systems Application to Business and Industry

Systems Modeling and Simulation

Systems Philosophy

Systems Psychology

Spirituality and Systems

Theromodynamics and Systems Theory

Exploratory SIGs


Critical Systems Theory & Practice

The special integration group in Critical Systems Theory and Practice invites contributions for participation in its paper session at the 1999 annual meeting of the ISSS. Critical systems theory is a truly multidisciplinary and vibrant area of inquiry and practice that is central to the meeting theme of Improvement of the Human Condition. Critical systems theory and practice is a pervasive thread of inquiry that runs through each of the social sciences with implications for research methodology, system design, public policy, and numerous other application areas that extend beyond traditional disciplinary boundaries.

The desire of the Critical Systems Theory and Practice SIG is to facilitate the development of a paper session that reflects the multidisciplinary and interprofessional nature of critical systems theory and speaks directly to and focuses attention on the improvement of the human condition. To this end we seek to attract a balance of literature reviews, theoretical articles, and case studies, from scholars, students, and practitioners in numerous disciplines and professions. Although the topic areas could range from comparative research methods, to the effects of international intellectual property policy on developing countries, community development, social services reform, and participatory design, each submission must relate to the improvement of the human condition. Establishing this unifying thread will help illustrate the potential and limitations of critical systems theory as an action oriented agenda for systemic study and change

Please develop an extended abstract not exceeding 300 words. Include a sentence that relates your paper to the improvement of the human condition.

Send Abstracts to:

Ken Udas, Ph.D.
Rudolf Zellergasse 48 B/3
1230 Vienna

Tel : 0043 1 887 2370
E-mail :

If you have e-mail access, please forward your abstract via e-mail in addition to forwarding your hard copy through traditional post. Please feel free to contact me anytime with questions about the Critical Systems Theory and Practice paper session or the SIG

Duality Theory


In the general systems context, duality (polarity, complementarity, dialectics, trialectics, symmetry, opposition, contrariety, unity, etc.) can be viewed in at least three different ways: (1) as a fundamental isomorphy observed across variety of systems studied by different scientific disciplines; (2) as a basic theoretical construct and a fundamental logical principle common to all historical times and cultures; and (3) as an integral attribute of self-reflection. You are invited to participate in an attempt to build theory of duality, and thus, to contribute to articulation of the general systems theory.

Papers on any topic related to the duality theory are invited. The following preferred topics emphasize two general themes of the meeting, unification of science and improvement of the human condition:

Familiarity with the following previous work may be helpful:


Send Abstracts to:

Vitaly Dubrovsky
School of Business
Clarkson University
Potsdam, NY 13699-5795

Tel : 315-268-1314
E-mail :

If you have e-mail access, please forward your abstract via e-mail using text or MS Word format. Please feel free to contact me anytime with questions about the Duality Theory session or the SIG

Spirituality and systems

At the 1998 meeting of ISSS in Atlanta we had speakers covering a wide field of subjects related to spirituality. We also had illuminating discussions or rather exchanges that were performed in a collective or group fashion, which I think conforms with both spirituality and systems thinking. It was gratifying to see that spirituality was generally considered in relation to the main goals of the society more than in previous years.

Again in 1999 we can undoubtedly contribute to the main goals of the conference: improvement of the human condition and unification of science (from the spiritual to the most concrete, physical, B. Banathy). Interest has been expressed in the contribution of spirituality to the society's work on ethics. But papers on all topics related to the large field of spirituality are welcomed, and I hope and expect that we shall again in 1999 have rewarding exchange with spirit and systems in both form and content.


Abstracts, ideas for presentations or workshops and letters are welcome with the chairman, Axel Randrup any time .

Adresses: Byg. 24B, Svog.,
Dk-4000 Roskilde, Denmark,
fax +4546384611
Web site of the SIG

Systems Philosophy and Systems Ethics

A distinguishing feature of today's world is that science and technology has built the house in which humanity lives. Airplanes, television, and especially computer networks and information technologies have enveloped a diversity of cultures and societies. The most important aspects of technology lie not in their apparent content but in the systemic changes that they catalyze on a global scale. Technology is no longer simply a matter of objects in the hands of individuals but has become a very complex system in which our everyday lives are embedded. This systemic character of modern technology and the information age confronts us with relatively new questions and dimensions of human responsibility. Besides contributions that deal with the systemic foundations of our world of technology, papers are invited that explore fundamental ethical and philosophical issues of the systems sciences.

For further information contact:
Dr. Sytse Strijbos
Faculty of Philosophy, Vrije Universiteit
De Boelelaan 1105, Amsterdam 1081 HV, The NetherlandsTel: + 31-20-4446692/4446620 (office university); Tel: + 31-346-580695 (office home)Fax: + 31-20-4446635; E-mail:

Medical and Health Session

( SIG chair: Gyorgy Jaros

Medical and Health SIG caters for a truly multidisciplinary area of inquiry and practice that addresses concerns dealing with the Improvement of the Human Condition. It aims to utilise systems thinking to problems of health
promotion and disease prevention and management and it promotes the crossing of traditional discipline-based boundaries according to which traditional medicine presently operates. These boundaries relate to the
various accepted and alternative types of practitioners and therapies as well as to the many specialities and subspecialities that divide the field into minute areas. Most of the time the specialists do not speak to one
another or at best they talk past one another. It is hoped that the Health and Medicine Sessions will enable
representatives of many of the medical, paramedical and alternative healthcare groups to find a common forum to which they can present their approaches with a view of finding a common denominator between them. It is
of special interest to find common frameworks within which the various viewpoints can be accomodated and discussed. Papers in basic research as well as in the clinical and social areas will be wellcome. However it must
be accepted at the start that both health and disease have implications in all layers of the living Universe, from the submolecular through cellular, organismic, family, organisational and societal levels to the international
level of the world. Papers that illustrate such a multilevel integration will be specially welcome. It is hoped that members of many of the professions who are concerned with the promotion of the health of individuals, groups, communities and nations will present papers and will participate in the discussions.

Gyorgy Jaros, PhD
Department of Anaesthesia
The University of Sydney
2006 NSW
tel: +61-2-9351-5573
fax: +61-2-9519-2455

Systems Psychology and Psychiatry

Special Interest Group (SIG)
Martin Sundel, Ph.D., Chair

The Psychology and Psychiatry Special Interest Group (SIG) invites submissions applying system theories and concepts, psychosocial systems analyses, and cybernetic approaches to psychological and psychiatric
phenomena. Topics can include mental health, behavioral, and quality of life aspects related to development, dysfunction, or prevention within the context of assessment, intervention, and evaluation perspectives or schemes. Contributions from related mental health professions, such as social work and psychiatric nursing, are also germane.

Please send abstracts by January 15, 1999 to:

Martin Sundel, Ph.D.
Chair, Systems Psychology and Psychiatry SIG
3804 Barbados Avenue
Cooper City, FL 33026

Human Systems Inquiry

We invite you to contribute to this paper session. We welcome any submissions connecting human systems inquiry to the conference theme: Humanity, science, and technology.

The session is estimated to consist of a series of 20 minute presentations, with some time after each paper and at the end for discussion. Presenters are encouraged to have their papers available in the proceedings so that more time is devoted to discussion of them during the session.

The purpose of the SIG is to provide an arena for ISSS members to present, exchange, and discuss: 1) ideas and viewpoints concerning issues in systems methods and methodologies relevant to human beings and the human condition, 2) applications of systems ideas to systems practice in human contexts, 3)innovations in systems methodology, and 4) systemic case studies conducted in, with, or by human activity systems.

Submit an abstract of a maximum of 300 words that includes a sentence relating the paper directly to the conference theme as well as any one of the four SIG focus areas stated above to:

Arne Collen, Ph.D.
POB 4950
Walnut Creek, CA 94596
fax: 1 925 930 9779
POB 4950, Walnut Creek, CA 94596 USA

Modeling and Metamodeling

J.P. van Gigch(Chair)

The Modeling and Metamodeling SIG invites papers which present new work on the theory and applications of the Metasystem Paradigm to all system domains. The Metasystem Paradigm (van Gigch, System Design Modeling and Metamodeling, PLENUM, 1991) postulates logic levels according to which organizational problems can be discussed and studied at different levels of abstraction.

The Metasystem Paradigm is an epistemological entity which is justified by the differentiation in logic between the totality of a class(at the metalevel) and the members of the class(at the object level). The Metasystem Paradigm has proven useful to represent problems and situations where the relationship between logic levels has not been previously articulated. To date, the Metasystem Paradigm has found applications in multiple areas of endeavor and has helped to uncover gaps in organizational and system designs. The Modeling and Metamodeling SIG invites reports of theoretical advances and new applications.


Hierarchy Theory

Aggregation, Emergence and Hierarchy : Biological Systems

Biological systems are hierarchically organized. They can be divided into sub-systems that can themselves be subdivided into further smaller subsystems. The different levels of the Hierarchy correspond to different levels of observation, from macroscopic to microscopic and consequently to different time and space scales. The hierarchical internal structure allows one to aggregate and to look for emerging properties at a global level. Aggregation corresponds to the reduction of the dimension of a dynamical system (the microscopic system) which can be replaced by a reduced model for a few number of global variables (the macroscopic system). Emergence corresponds to the couplings between the different hierarchical levels of the system leading to the emergence of global properties in the aggregated model. The session is devoted to hierarchy theory and its applications for the study of the dynamics of biological systems with a special emphasis on aggregation and emergence methods in relation to hierarchy. Papers relating on hierarchy theory as well as to applications in Biology, but also Social systems are welcome.

Prof. Pierre Auger
President of the French Society for Theoretical Biology
Executive Editor of the Journal of Biological Systems

Laboratoire de Biometrie, Genetique et Biologie des Populations
Universite Claude Bernard Lyon 1
43, boulevard du 11 Novembre 1918
69622 Villeurbanne cedex, FRANCE

The abstract must be sent to Prof. Pierre AUGER :
UMR CNRS 5558, University Claude Bernard Lyon 1,
43 Blvd du 11 Novembre 1918,
69622 Villeurbanne Cedex, France
preferably by e-mail :

Futurism and Change

The Futurism and Change Special Integration Group of the International Society for the Systems Sciences (ISSS) welcomes
submissions for our 1999 meeting in Asilomar.

Futurism has been described as the creation of possible future states. These states may or may not be desirable, so
the practice of futurism requires tools to move systems towards or away from them. Systems science contains these tools, as well
as tools to examine, analyze, and create possible futures that have pattern integrity.

It has been said that change is the only constant. The systems sciences inform us that all systems change, yet it is the nature of a system to resist change. Using the science of systems to study and inform change will be a hallmark of the 21st century.

The theme of this years meeting is to find "a graceful or even workable relationship between nature, humanity, science, and technology" (Bela Banathy). It seems imperative for those thinkers involved in the study of the future and change to contribute to this goal.

Submissions are welcomed on the above or related topics.

Send abstracts, speaker suggestions, panel contributions, and offers of tutorial help to :
Curt McNamara
4010 Hayes St. NE
Mpls. MN 55421

Designing Educational Systems

You are invited to submit papers that respond generally to the overall theme of "Crossing Boundaries to our Educational Future" and specifically to ideas expressed in one of the three following strands:

1. Preparing for Transcendence over Boundaries - Models, methods, capacities, and necessary conditions for moving across boundaries. What boundaries are being crossed? How do we know when a boundary has been crossed? Are they visible, felt, acknowledged? Does everyone need to cross at the same time? What
are the ethics of change? of non-change? Coping with "crossing guards." How do transcenders and non-transcenders coexist? Are their levels of transcendence that are most appropriate for certain situations?

2. Carrying the Goods (or) The Burdens of Boundary Crossings - What is carried by boundary crossers? Is a new design carried over complete, or does it mostly take shape during/after the crossing? What should be the critical content (the design) of the future system in terms of functional, ethical, or aesthetic considerations. What is the nature of a design that lends itself to being successfully transplanted; eg. avoid
rejection by the existing system.

3. After the Crosssing - Assuming that "boundary crossing" is a continuous process, what are the necessary characteristics of an infrastructure for supporting and sustaining it?

We will schedule an opening general session for the SIG to present the week's program. We want to organize the sessions so as to maximize interaction among attenders/participants. Therefore, we ash each paper presenter to include with their abstracts 3-5 "trigger" questions selected to promote/provoke a
conversation about the presenter's issue or premise. Presenters should limit their presentation to 10 minutes and participate in ensuing conversations. We will also plan a closing session at end of week to summarize outcomes from each strand. Participants will be encouraged to remain with one strand to maximize the quality and the connections among the related topics.

Abstracts will be reviewed and sorted for the program by SIG co-chairs L.
Jenks and Patrick Jenlink.

Program Structure
Opening session
Schedules sessions over 3-4 day period
Strand chairperson records critical content (ideas, questions, agreements,
disputes) and prepares a running summary of the conversation outcomes.
End of week session for summarizing

Abstracts of papers (approximately 300 words) should be submitted to

Lynn Jenks, SIG Co-Chair,
at Box 734,
Stinson Beach, CA 94970
or e-mail
(do not send as text attachment)

Thermodynamics and Systems Change

The relationship between thermodynamics, information and evolution has been much debated over the years - ever since the publication of physicist Erwin Schrodinger's landmark book, What is Life (1945). Our Special Integration Group (or SIG) -- "Thermodynamics and Systems Theory" -- is devoted to exploring various points of view and theoretical approaches to this subject. Diversity is welcomed and a free and open discussion is encouraged.

For the 1999 ISSS Annual Meeting in Asilomar, we are specifically seeking well-focused and informed papers/presentations from members of different theoretical "schools," and we will facilitate two formal panels and an informal evening workshop/discussion session following our panels.

We invite you to submit an abstract for consideration for either of the two panels that we will be organizing on this subject:

.Thermodynamics and Evolution, I -- Autocatalytic and Self-Organizing Processes
.Thermodynamics and Evolution, II -- Functional, Selectionist Approaches

Abstracts of up to 300 words must be received by January 15, 1999. Final decisions on the selection of panelists will be made by February 15, 1999. Please submit abstracts both to the SIG Chairperson (Peter Corning) and the conference organizer and ISSS President (Bela Banathy) at the following addresses (e-mail submissions are welcomed):

Peter Corning:
Institute for the Study of Complex Systems,
119 Bryant Street, Suite 212,
Palo Alto, CA 94301
PH: (650) 325-5717 FAX: (831) 325-3775

Research Toward A General Theories Of Systems (RTGTS)

The Original ISSS (alias SGSR) Goal Statements are: -- To investigate isomorphy of concepts, laws and models from various fields, and to help in useful transfers from one field to another.

- To encourage the development of adequate theoretical models in fields which lack them.

- To minimize the duplication of theoretical efforts in different fields.

- To promote the unity of science improving communication among specialists

(Ref.: G. Lasker, Proceedings of the 1983 Annual Conference of the Society for General Systems Research in Detroit, Michigan).

In support of these goals the SIG on Research Toward a General Theories of Systems (the RTGTS SIG) has set for itself the following objectives:

* To discover or develop a set of universal concepts and algorithms that are relevant among all the branches of science, and useful in describing all the diverse systems in nature and culture. -- Examples are: Aristotle's categories of thinking, the concepts of energy and entropy, the algorithm of accounting, living systems theory, or chaos theory.

* To give a rigorous definition to these notions in the physical sciences to start with; to add conceptual expansions to concepts and algorithms where necessary or appropriate in order to cover the emerging properties of more complex systems; to apply these expanded concepts systematically in the varieties of complex sciences such as cybernetics, biology, sociology and ecology.

* To test the validity of the unified scientific theories; to demonstrate and to verify their predictive power by practical examples in each of the branches of science; to otherwise establish criteria under which the behaviors of observed and inferred systems can be reasonably evaluated.

If you would like to present proposals or abstracts on generally applicable concepts and algorithms of thinking at the next general meeting in Asilomar in June 1999, please submit a one page description to the chair of the RTGTS SIG, by email or on a diskette by January 15, 1999, and preferably earlier. The deadline for full papers to be included in the Proceedings is April 15, 1999.

An RTGTS home page will be established before the meeting. All submissions will be posted on the home page, and pre-conference discussions in cyberspace on general theories of systems can contribute to the maturing of the papers that will be presented at the RTGTS SIG session at the 43rd Annual General Meeting. It is hoped that post conference workshops on the internet will continue our efforts.

Looking forward to YOUR contribution,

Helmut (Ken) Burkhardt
Chair of the ISSS RTGTS SIG
Adjunct Professor of Physics
R y e r s o n P o l y t e c h n i c U n i v e r s i t y
350 Victoria Street, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, M5B 2K3
Tel:416-979-5079x7246, Fax:416-698-1214

Living Systems Analysis

The Living systems Analysis SIG is interested in the general systems properties of life. Cells, organs, organisms, groups, organizations, societies, and supranatural systems are recognized levels of living systems. Papers dealing with characteristics or phenomena that can be generalized across two or more of these levels are welcome, as are papers that employ a theory of living systems to analyze or synthesize systems or components at a particular level. Papers linking living systems theory to other bodies of theory (e.g., hierarchy theory, duality theory, accounting theory, economics, behavioral theories) are encouraged.

We are especially interested in papers that help unify the sciences. Unification of science is a major theme of the Asilomar meeting.

We hope to have joint sessions with other SIGs. If your paper has links to other SIGs such as Business and Industrial Systems Applications, Hierarchy theory, Legal and Political Systems, Information Systems Design, Education, or Medicine and Healthcare, please note that in your cover letter and on the title page. We will endeavor to organize a joint session with any SIG for which we have multiple linking papers.

It was decided at the last business meeting that we should make every effort in the paper solicitation process to extend the area of living systems analysis even further than it has been in the past. It was felt that an ever greater range of papers would help improve the meeting. Thus we are making a special plea for papers which would extend the limits of LSA. Also, specifically we would like to include sessions on subsystems, applications, and single case studies.

Send abstracts to:

James R. Simms,
9405 Elizabeth ct.
Fulton, MD 20759, USA,
Tel: (301) 498-5927,


Systems Application to Business and Industry

The Systems Application to Business and Industry SIG issues the following
call for ideas and for papers for the 43rd annual meeting of the ISSS in

Within the general framework of the main theme track of the meeting, we
propose to hold two types of activities during the meeting:

a) A paper session, in the usual format, for which the following specific
subjects will be welcome:

1. Corporate operations (manufacturing, logistics, networks) and the
wellbeing of society.
2. Corporate marketing and the wellbeing of society.
3. Corporate finance and the wellbeing of society.
4. Corporate strategies (mergers, acquisitions, alliances, joint ventures
and others responses to globalization) and the wellbeing of society.

Please submit your abstract of a maximun of 300 words, that includes a
sentence relating the paper directly to one of the conference themes as
well as to any other one of the four SIG focus areas stated above, to me
with copy to Bela Banathy, by January 15, 1999.

b) A symposium, similar to the one we had at the 1998 meeting in Atlanta,
in which no papers are presented, but instead, specific statements or
proposals are discussed in order to obtain consensus, on the following

?The dilemma between productivity and unemployment. What can be done??

Please submit your ?proposal of statements? to me with copy to Bela
Banathy, by January 15, 1999.

The statements may be explained within the frame of a traditional paper,
but remember that only the statements, i.e. short sentences (generally
not more than 50 words that can be shown in a transparency), will be
presented and discussed. As part of such paper, a conceptual model, or a
computerised model or simulation, as support of your ideas, will be most
welcome. In the latter case, precise software and hardware requirements
will have to be arranged.

Enrique G. Herrscher, Dean
Graduate Business School
IDEA (Management Development Institute of Argentina)
Moreno 1850
(1094) Buenos Aires
Telephone: 541 372-7667 extension 205/239
Fax: 541 373-6944

Systems Modeling and Simulation
Chair: Prof. Dr. Robert A. Orchard
Graduate Center, City University of New York

A call for papers integrating people, the process of science, and
technology through the viewpoint of systems modeling and systems
simulation is made. As we know in this SIG, validation of results is
required and at least two interpretations of the model or simulation
must be shown to establish the base requirement of morphic contexts or
contents.. A special call for a simulation (or emulation) of art as a
process of discovery would be appropriate and requires two
interpretations and validation.

It is important as we approach the next century, to show systems science
can make pragmatic, humanistic, business contributions that have global
socio-economic impact.

Nature has produced humans. Human creativity has produced art and all
that Art has generated.. Art precedes Science and Science precedes
Technology. Now Technology must support Nature, Humanity, and Science.
Systems modeling and Systems Simulation is one way of exploring these
relationships as long as they are real world validated. This is a
supporting theme for the conference with emphasis on the pragmatic,
tested and validated. The SIG is especially interested in papers
grounded in the natural sciences which point to areas for further
research and development in systems models and system simulation (case
studies with a high probability of validation).

Please send (or email) a 300 word abstract of the paper or project to

(For further information on the society check the web site at ISSS.ORG.
Information on the society and other special interest groups to which
you may want to submit a paper or project or poster session or session
are listed there).

Dr. Robert A. Orchard-
Professor, Computer Science
City University of New York
at College of Staten Island
New York, New york, USA
or Institute for Advanced Systems
P.O. Box 640
Indian Rocks Beach Fl. 33785

Evolution and Complexity

While the role of complexity, including self-organization, self-emergence, and chaos theory, as a factor in the evolution of physical, biological, and sociological systems, is now accepted by many scientists, its importance is still widely debated. This Special Integration Group (SIG) within the ISSS is devoted to exploring various points of view and various theoretical and empirical approaches to this debate. Diversity is welcomed and a free and open discussion is encouraged.

For the 1999 ISSS annual meeting in Asilomar, we are specifically seeking well-focussed and informed papers/presentations from a variety of members for the formal panels and informal evening workshop/discussion sessions following the panels.

We invite you to submit an abstract for consideration for any of the three panels that we will be organizing on this subject:

1. Evolution and Political Systems - the evolution of major political systems in the last few centuries.

2. The Epic of Evolution - the understanding of the evolutionary process as providing the context for the emerging ecological culture of the 21st century; a special focus will be the question of the most appropriate and effective means of transmitting the new paradigm of the system sciences to the broader public.

3. Evolution of Consciousness - the evolution of consciousness over the last 50,000 years, with special focus on the question of how human consciousness will evolve in the near future as the
understanding of the system sciences is appropriated by larger segments of humanity.

Abstracts of up to one page must be received by January 15, 1999. Final decisions on inclusion as panelists will be made by April 1, 1999, at the latest. Please submit abstracts both to the SIG Chairperson (Larry Edwards) and the conference organizer and ISSS President (Bela Banathy) at:

Larry Edwards:
1855 Branciforte Dr.,
Santa Cruz CA 95065.
Ph: 831-425-2079; Fax: 831-460-0204;
Bela Banathy:
38 Seca Place,
Salinas CA 93908.
Ph: 831-375-7614;

Information Systems Design and Information Technology

During the past three decades we have made spectacular advances in communications and computing technologies. It is clear that in the next century, communications, storage, and processing capacities, as well as the human-machine interface will be developed to levels that are at present unimaginable. In effect, we will greatly increase the surface area of human-machine contact. Perhaps more importantly, we will try to elevate the contact to increasingly higher abstraction.

With many of the technical problems that constrained the information systems design efforts of the past having been solved, we can focus more clearly on the systemic foundations of the design task. Papers addressing this general topic are invited. To lend more focus to the sessions, three themes are proposed:

1) The conceptual foundations that inform the partitioning of tasks between human beings and machines,
2) Information systems as a means of extending the existing biological infrastructure of information processing in organizations,
3) Power and the internet.

These topics can be addressed at the level of an individual human being, that of a group, a community, the larger society, or combinations of these. In each case it is of particular importance for us to ask fundamental questions involving the epistemological and ontological aspects of human-machine interaction. Send Abstracts and Papers to:

Bela Antal Banathy, SIG Chair,
38 Seca Place,
Salinas ,CA 93908 USA,
Phone: (831) 375-7614,

The Primer SIG

Ken Wilber is a transpersonal psychologist who has formulated an Integral Theory of Consciousness which integrates approximately twelve different fields of consciousness studies (from East and West). He accomplished this, he says, by noticing that each of the thousands of books he has read seemed to fall into a pattern, a pattern he eventually isolated and now calls the Four Quadrant Integral Theory of Consciousness. Simply put, Wilber says, investigative studies seem to fall into one of four categories: Internal, External, Object, and Interobject.


Wilber also challenges the systems sciences with a comment in his latest book saying that systems science is monological. "But, as we saw, the specific difficulty with empirical science of any variety s not that it is atomistic or holistic, analytic or systems, but rather that it is empirical and monological in the first place. Systems Theory does not alter that in the least: it merely continues the monological madness by other means, which, in this case, is all the more insidious because its proponents imagine that they have overcome the problem, whereas the have simply cloned it." (Patterns Sept. 1998).

Our answer to that challange.

The Primer group invites from ISSS members, introductory essays of approximately two-four pages in length which will serve to introduce the particular aspect of systemics with which they are most familiar. The essay will be divided into four interrelated levels of description (see von Bertalanffy, Banathy Four Domains of systemic inquiry). First is a general or philosophical statement of principles. The second is an application of those principles in a specific theory. The third is a plan or methodology, and fourth, to act on all of the above. In addition to the essay, a single sentence which sums up the entire essay should be provided, and also a paragraph which explains the single sentence in greater detail. These may be extracted from the essay if available. A general introduction will also be required as the beginning of the essay. These essays will then be hyperlinked on the ISSS website in such a manner that all the single sentences may be accessed across the board, and likewise, all the paragraphs. That is, the casual observer would be able to link across the holoarchy from facet to facet horizontally. At any time, the links will also be provided vertically such that any single facet may be accessed in greater and greater detail.

The essay should be concise and clear, It should contain a minimum of technical terms, and those that are used should be defined (like this). The essay should be written with the journalist (with no prior knowledge) in mind as the typical reader.It is requested that a link or reference to a research paper or actual project be also provided.

For reasons of consistency, the Primer definition of "system" might be used -- A system is like a family of relationships among the members interacting as a whole.

Abstracts should be 300 words or less, and could be a brief outline of the proposed essay.

Abstracts should be sent to the
Chair of the Primer SIG,
Tom Mandel


Exploratory Sessions

Evolutionary Learning Community (ELC)
The Semiosis of Ethics
What is Life and Living?
Human Understanding and Communication
Foundations of Information Science


An Exploratory Session to Generate Interest

In joining the Tribunes, we agree to invoke the tradition of the Tribunes of ancient Rome: To champion the preservation of life on this earth. I propose that we implement our objective by means of a two-pronged approach: First, to defend our natural environment from all human-caused abuses; and second, to promote and cultivate universal channels of communication among fellow humans for the purpose of averting violence.

Volumes would be needed to explain these points, so instead I recommend the following: Two primary sources of information in environmental protection are the Safe Science Initiative sponsored by the Union of Concerned Scientists, and the Sierra Club. They specify the imminent dangers and what can be done about them.

I have already generated two papers on universal communication via the holofield, given at Atlanta: "The Universal Language" and "Post-Darwin Evolution". These papers are applications of Ervin Laszlo's books, "The Whispering Pond" and "The Interconnected Universe". Dr. Laszlo agreed with my two papers but warned me that my works are so far ahead of the scientific community that very few scientists are ready for them. We need more holofield research in this virgin territory. Are there any takers? We would welcome a team effort. Send Abstracts and Papers to:

Bryan Bergson, Session Chair,
27020 Cedar RD, #104-1,
Beachwood, Ohio, 44122, U.S.A.
e-mail address bbergson@AOL.COM

What is Life and Living?

An exploratory Session on the Nature of Life Itself

Controversy abounds in the study of life, which has been pursued mostly from the perspective of an independent observer. Meanwhile, many branches of science are being forced to consider non-physical, experiential phenomena in dealing with, for example, human systems, our understanding of the mind, evolution, and quantum "observership." This suggests a new worldview where life is an active and participatory agent, expressible in no terms other than its own. This situation has resulted in an epistemological crisis: Is our scientific concept of reality and life complete if it leaves out the mind or represents it in terms of physical factors alone?

Many arguments have been put forward that explaining the mind in material (spatio-temporal, computational, mechanical) terms either does not yet or cannot ever work. In this Panel Discussion we will investigate the possibilities for new scientific foundations that include both the "objective" (What is life?) and the "experiential" (What is living?) perspectives. Approaches that now seem unacceptable include those frameworks (philosophy/epistemology) that preserve the material or mechanical limitations of science, as a description of only a part of "reality" (resulting in duality); and the "monistic" view that attempts to reduce all of reality to material explanations. We wish to explore the alternative possibilities for expanding the scope of modern science to formally include non-materiality within our view of life, and thus within our view of reality in general.

Our approach emphasizes two principles:
(1) Integration of assumptions in disciplinary science as a means for achieving a more fundamental and trans-disciplinary "worldview."
(2) Relevance between the scientific perspective itself and what we know from experience.

This dual agenda is necessary because of the great disparity that exists between many traditional scientific views and everyday experience -- a disparity that colors many of our social systems and personal psychology. There is no greater service that science can provide to society today than to resolve the difference between the "3rd-person" perspective on life, and the "1st-person" perspective on experience.

There will be a panel presentation focused on the integration of two major perspectives:

(1) What is life from a descriptive point of view?
(2) What is living from an experiential point of view?

Invited speakers will present their ideas following which there will be a facilitated discussion between the panel and attendees.

There will be a paper stream to provide further elaboration of this topic. Contributed papers on closely related topics are welcome. The following topics are provided to stimulate interest:

1. What are the limitations of science in describing living phenomena?
2. Is the reality that science cannot fully describe, the same reality that we experience and participate in?
3. What is the difference between the objective and subjective? Is it the same as between material and non-material? Or between descriptive and experiential?
4. What is experience, and what is its relationship to living?
5. Is experience, consciousness, free will, or "observership" the result of unique systems organization, or a fundamental property of nature, or both?
6. If life includes "living" experience, what is the role of that phenomena in biology (including ecology and evolution)?
7. Does including the experiential view of life in science introduce unacceptable teleological assumptions?
8. What is the relationship between life and information?
9. What is the relationship between models of non-living and living systems?
10. What is complexity, with regard to life and living?

Please send Abstracts and Papers to:

John J. Kineman, CEO,
Bear Mountain Institute (BMI),
1101 Bison Dr.,
Boulder, Colorado, 80302, USA.
Phone/fax: (303) 443-7544.

Evolutionary Learning Community (ELC)

Exploratory Session

Kathia & Alexander Laszlo (ELC co-chairs)

The ELC SIG invites the creative exploration of Evolutionary Systems Design (as philosophy, theory, and practice) by action-oriented systems thinkers of today who wish to engage in the creation of the conditions under which partnership cultures may emerge tomorrow. Through papers and conversation, this objective will be followed down a path of inquiry framed in a normative evolutionary perspective. The ELC SIG approach to bringing forth a partnership culture is founded on the principles that underlie the patterns of change described by the dynamics of all complex adaptive systems with a throughput of information and energy. As such, a sustainable partnership culture is conceived to emerge when conditions for individual and group empowerment are consciously created in a framework that incorporates evolutionary understanding.

With its focus on the development of evolutionary competence, the Evolutionary Learning Community (ELC) serves as the vehicle of choice for such action-research. By engaging in participatory processes of learning how to learn in harmony with the dynamics of its physical and socio-cultural milieu, the ELC does not adapt its environment to its needs, nor does it simply adapt to its environment. Rather, it adapts with its environment in a dynamic of mutually sustaining evolutionary co-creation. Through such a process, individuals and groups can self-empower for creation of responsible ecosystemic transformation in whatever community they choose to join. When one or more Communities of ELCs (or ELC Ecosystems) begins to appear, this in effect, marks the emergence an authentic Partnership Culture.

As part of ISSS praxis, the development of an operational model of ELC could help make the difference that makes a difference. Although essentially abductive in methodological style, the two lines of design inquiry to be pursued to facilitate ISSS offerings will be essentially deductive and inductive, respectively: the former will proceed through discussion of theoretical analyses relating to the principles and constructs required for a community to be both evolutionary and learning oriented; and the latter will proceed through presentation of observations of, and interactions with, existing communities that demonstrate evolutionary competence or the potential for it. Since these two approaches are co-dependent and mutually inform issues of systems science and quality of life, they will form the backbone of the ELC sessions. Please develop a one page extended abstract along either of these lines. Related themes to be considered include `Designing Healthy Authentic Communities' and `Evolutionary Guidance Systems' both in relation to the emergence of Partnership Culture and the improvement of the human condition.

Kathia & Alexander Laszlo (ELC co-chairs)
>Syntony Quest<
1761 Vallejo Street
Suite 302
San Francisco, CA 94123-5029
preferably by eMail:


The Semiosis of Ethics

An Exploratory Session

It is postulated that the universe consists entirely of codification processes that transform `free' or uninformed' energy into `information' or spatiotemporal matter/reality. Semiosics considers that all energy processes, physico-chemical, biological and conceptual, independent of any consciousness or secondary articulation of their interaction, and of whatever scale and complexity- act as information, expressed within signs and sign-making activities.

Information is understood to operate as codifiedwhich is to say, operative within organized relations--microstates of energy/matter. This means that energy is encoded such that it exists in systemic networks of relationships operating within hierarchically ordered, multiresolutional and interfiliated modules or aggregates of codal orders. Energy becomes information only within these relationships. The development, the maintenance, the dissolution, the emergence, of relationships is the primary focus of semiosic energy-actions.

These relationships must provide for both homeostatic continuity of information-production and as well, as the networks become increasingly complex, must enable the expansion of entropic capacities for the development of new and unpredictable properties or organizations of matter/energy, and therefore, the generation of new relationships and new information.

This session will explore these relationships, particularly within the understanding that all such processes must be `ethical' in that they must, pragmatically, insert the discrete individual spatiotemporal reality of the sign within the operational realities of the semiosic community.

Ethical semiosis is understood as the accountability of the sign-action to the on-going future viability of the community-of-energy. Ethics is considered an action that promotes continuity of energy transformation. It can only achieve this within actions that develop and maintain networks, bonds, relations, with other aggregates in this `giant world' of semiosis. Ethical semiosis is therefore, operative within the `whole world'.A discrete and isolate sign that is unable to establish networks with the larger semiosic field is a `rogue' sign and cannot remain within semiosic processes. If its semiosic relationships harm other codal operations (and this has to be understood as the operations of the whole system of codification, not any particular codal regime), then the system, as a whole, cannot `permit' this dysfunctional codal regime to remain in operation. Ethical semiosis explores the interfiliated relationships of the discrete actuality to the future or potential viability of this community of energy/information and the required `pragmatic accountability' of these relationships to that whole world of energy/information.

We hope to organize at least one session of four speakers on this basic theme, within an interdisciplinary focus. We are thinking of inviting speakers in the natural sciences as well as the social sciences and the humanities. Send abstracts to:

Dr. Edwina Taborsky, Session Chair,
Bishop's University,
Lennoxville, Quebec, J1M 1Z7,Canada
Tel: (819) 822 9600 ext 2424, Fax: (819) 822.9661,

Human Understanding and Communication

Exploratory Session on Understanding and Communication of

Systems Ideas in a General Community

Are we beginning to understand our selves and each other in new and better ways? Are we now beginning to communicate in ways that foster such understanding? Will this enable us to stop the maiming and killing that plague our kind? And are we also beginning to understand how to live in harmony within our environment and ecosystems? Is this the dawn of human understanding?

But what is this mystery we call human understanding? How did we get it? Is it just intelligence? Is it caring? Or is it just an experience like the color red, laughter or a childhood memory?

Are there limits to what science can tell us about human understanding? If so, what are they? And what other means do we have for understanding understanding? Are there other ways of knowing, other ways of being, and other ways of communicating that relate to such questions?

This exploratory session seeks to explore such questions in terms that are meaningful to the widest possible community. An example of this approach can be found in a proposed 33 part documentary television series called THE DAWN OF HUMAN UNDERSTANDING. You can access the entire treatment for the series at:

ISSS members are invited to experiment with means of communicating and understanding of systems ideas within general communities. You can participate in one of two ways:

First, you can submit a short paper outlining systems idea(s) and your approach to facilitating their communication and understanding. You need not limit your approach to the written or spoken word, more experiential methods may be appropriate. In the case of written or spoken word, it may be helpful to think of your writing as a "script" written to be suitable for a general TV audience, including children who are eight to ten years of age. Such Scripts work best if they are written in very plain and simple words and sentences.

Second, you can participate in an evening discussion group at this summer's conference. Initially, the topics will focus on the papers submitted above and may include brief presentations or demonstrations by the authors. At some point we intend to open the discussion up and let it range through the entire spectrum of topics related to communication and understanding. This means that most anything of interest to participants will be appropriate.

Send abstracts to:

Norman K. McPhail,

930 Via Mil Cumbres #177,
Solana Beach, CA 92075 USA,

Foundations of Information Science

An Exploratory Session on the Question:

Is there a way beyond the conflict between the mechanistic-logical and the phenomenological-semiotic view of science and cognition?

The mechanistic approach to science looks for universal laws and logical structures uniting physicochemical nature, the living, cognition, intelligence, and society. But it has created a big divide around the problem of semantics and signification in bio-socio-cultural systems. On the one side, phenomenological and linguistic views have tended to ignore the biological nature of the observer and communicator, seeing the problem of meaning only as socially and individually constructed. While on the other side, the classical approach to information science, derived from

information theory and computer sciences, has seen the problem of meaning under the light of "representation" and "syntax", merely attempting an extension of the mechanistic world view into the socio-cultural realm.

Is there a possible non-reductionist unification of the two views from some kind of new Foundations of Information Science? Or do we have to live with the full blown version of both information paradigms in a sort of complementarity philosophy (N. Bohr)? Indeed the present "information age" represents a powerful stimulus to attempt the synthesis of a unified information discipline. A historical parallel with the emergence of thermodynamics after the onset of the industrial revolution may be in order...

Send abstracts to:

Søren Brier, Ph.D., Session Chair,
Landbohøjskolen Inst. for Oekonomi,
Skov og Landskab
Sektion MOP Rolighedsvej 23 st. th.
DK-1958 Frederiksberg C, Denmark