ISSS 2008 Special Integration Groups
Descriptions and Calls for Papers
The 52nd annual meeting of the International Society for the Systems Sciences (ISSS) marks the beginning of another half-century history of interdisciplinary collaboration and synthesis of systems sciences. The ISSS is unique among systems-oriented institutions in terms of the breadth of its scope, bringing together scholars and practitioners from academic, business, government, and non-profit organizations. Based on fifty years of tremendous interdisciplinary research from the scientific study of complex systems to interactive approaches in management and community development, the 51st annual meeting of the ISSS intends to promote systems sciences as a holistic and integrated scientific enterprise.
The conference theme, guiding questions, and sub-themes serve as platforms for consideration by the various Special Integration Groups that comprise the backbone of the ISSS.
See also Special Integration Groups, a page that describes the ISSS-wide purpose and organization of the SIGs.
SIG: Aging Systems
Chair: Daniel Hershey
An Integrated Study of Humans, Organizations (Corporations), and the Universe: Lifespan and Factors Affecting It
The aging process is, of course, a universal phenomenon. And for living systems (humans), the end result is death, the universal attractor. For so-called inanimate systems such as corporations, they need not die, but many do. And what of the universe, perhaps our largest and most important system. Aging theories abound, from wear and tear, free radical, autoimmune, finite potential, to those driven by thermodynamics, incorporating the ideas of Ilya Prigogine and Claude Shannon.
Abstracts (two or three paragraphs) are invited, for work dealing with “lifespan and factors affecting it”, “must we grow old”, and “entropy, infinity, and death” for humans, corporations, or the universe.
For more information, please contact Professor Hershey, at the University of Cincinnati, USA. Or go to his web site to see his work involving aging systems (www.basaltech.com).
SIG: Agent-Based Social Simulation
Chair: Shingo Takahashi
Social simulation with agent-based modeling can be considered as developments of, and sometimes challenges to, social systems sciences. We intend in this track to provide both social scientists and computational researchers as well as systems researchers with an oppotunity to discuss various types of problems found in this developing field.
We aim to promote agent-based social systems sciences, social simulation, and new tools and techniques for social systems education as well as research.
The topics include, but are not limited to, the following computational social systems science approaches and issues:
SIG: Applied Systems and Development
SIG Chair: Dennis Finlayson
Call for papers in preparation. Please email initial inquiries to the SIG chair email.
SIG: Critical Systems Thinking and Practice
SIG Chair: Jennifer Wilby
The special integration group in Critical Systems Thinking and Practice invites contributions for participation in its paper sessions at the 2007 annual meeting of the ISSS. This is a multidisciplinary and challenging area that represents an alternative to understanding current human, social, and political issues, from a mainly managerial perspective.
Its scope goes beyond the boundaries of traditional management sciences. On the one hand, it involves a reflection on issues emerging from current systems thinking and practice from contemporary philosophy (e.g., post-structuralism, critical theory, postmodernism), and other social disciplines. On the other, it also includes research that although systemic in orientation is mainly grounded in those disciplines. Our aim is to take advantage of the multidisciplinary background and theoretical approaches of the participants, to generate a meaningful dialogue to inspire future research.
As a Critical Systems group we expect to be creative and innovative. Therefore, although the submission of a formal abstract and paper is expected, we would like to organise the sessions in accordance to the participants’ needs and expectations. Please let us know of any suggestions about the topics, discussions or any other proposals as soon as possible.
For more information please contact Jennifer Wilby email@example.com, at University of Hull Business School, The University of Hull, Hull, HU6? 7RX, United Kingdom.
SIG: Designing Educational Systems
SIG Chair: Patrick Jenlink
You are invited to submit papers that respond generally to the overall theme of the conference and specifically to ideas expressed in one of the questions that align with the 52nd Conference and Annual Meeting of ISSS:
The theme for the Designing Educational Systems SIG is focused on creating the human condition through designing educational systems that serve humanity and foster democratic civil society.
Papers are solicited that fit within the following ideas:
Presentation Format: Presenters should bring 20 copies of their papers, along with triggering questions that may be used to guide conversations. These will be made available to interested participants.
SIG: Evolutionary Development
SIG Chairs: Alexander Laszlo and Kathia Castro Laszlo
We cordially invite you to join us at the 52nd annual meeting of the International Society for the Systems Sciences (ISSS). Specifically, we hope you will consider contributing a paper and/or poster for presentation in the Evolutionary Development SIG (Special Integration Group) that it is our pleasure to co-chair. This will be the ninth year of productive meetings as an intact line of inquiry, the first four under the name of the Evolutionary Learning Community SIG, and the last five as the ED SIG. We will continue to focus our efforts on issues of timely relevance to which ELCs may best be dedicated.
The 52nd Conference and Annual Meeting of the ISSS promises to be a grand event. It will take place from 13-18 July 2008 at the University of Wisconsin in Madison, Wisconsin, USA. The theme of this year’s conference is: "Systems that Make a Difference," and will address issues relating to the role of systems approaches in an ever more interconnected and interdependent world, with particular attention to their potential to make a positive, constructive, and lasting difference. This exploration will seek to build bridges between rigor and relevance in systems thinking, theory, and practice.
The conference theme and focus on moving from systemic vision to pragmatic reality provide an exciting platform to catalyze the collective explorations of the ED SIG.
Inquiry in the area of Evolutionary Development involves revision of development notions and strategies, from a systemic and evolutionary perspective, in order to integrate the often isolated areas of human, economic, social, and sustainable development. Doing more with less, promoting living simply and meaningfully, and creating a sustainable economy where present and future human needs can be met without compromising the natural environment are some of the concrete objectives of Evolutionary Development. Evolutionary Learning Communities, as learning environments where people can learn together about the interconnected nature of our world, the ecological impact of our individual and collective choices, and the joy of finding a meaningful way to contribute to the emergence of sustainable and evolutionary futures, are the social units where Evolutionary Development can be set in motion for the ongoing self-organization of human societies in syntony with the planetary life support systems upon which they depend.
We invite both theoretical analyses relating to the principles and constructs of Evolutionary Development as well as presentation of explorations and practical applications that foster Evolutionary Development. This SIG welcomes treatment of themes that include, but are not limited to, consideration of the following topic areas:
While all of the topics listed above will the considered in the ED SIG, this year special emphasis will be given to the theme of "Evolutionary Leadership for Sustainability." This will involve an exploration of the cognitive, ethical, and affective competencies involved in the mastery of evolutionary leadership, including:
The ED SIG will be run as follows: During the conference itself, no formal paper presentations will be made, even though acceptance of both abstracts and full papers and/or posters is required. In order to be congruent with the general theme of the conference and the specific focus of our inquiry, our sessions will be conducted as learning conversations. Participants will engage first in a generative conversation in which they will have the opportunity to share the core ideas of their work with each other. After the group has attained a basic collective cognitive map of the research and constructs represented in the room, we will to move into a strategic conversation to identify areas of synergy. Once common themes and directions have been identified, we will move into an evolutionary conversation to create new knowledge and insights, and propose further collaborations.
Of course, if there is anything we can help clarify for you with respect to the above, please do get in touch with us.
For further information, please contact:
Alexander & Kathia Laszlo
- Co-Chairs, ISSS ED SIG
U.S.A.: 810-A Quarry Road - The Presidio, San Francisco, CA 94123
Mexico: Cardenal 1310, San Andres - El Barrial, Santiago NL 67300
Tel/Fax: ++415/346.1547 (USA) Tel/Fax: ++81/188.8.131.52 (Mex)
mailto:info@SyntonyQuest.org >< http://www.SyntonyQuest.org
For more information on the SIG, see SIG on Evolutionary Development
SIG: Futurism and Systems Change
Call for papers in preparation. Please email initial inquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org
SIG: Hierarchy Theory
SIG Chair: Jennifer Wilby
The Hierarchy Theory SIG invites papers relating to the study of hierarchical structures and their relationships in theory and practice.
Hierarchy theory views systems as a set of ordered levels with a governing-governed relationship between the levels wherein the hierarchical levels are the sub-units of the whole system of interest. Further, the levels within the hierarchy are defined by the scale of observation chosen by the researcher (observer) and exploring this process of choice of scale is also of interest within the SIG.
Abstracts are invited from all fields of research whether natural or social systems, and research or practice. In addition, this year it would be interesting to hear from people willing to participate in discussion sessions on the principles and practice of hierarchy, and input is welcomed as to what form these sessions should take.
Presentation Format: 30 minute sessions, up to 20 minutes presentation and 10 minutes discussion.
SIG: Human Systems Inquiry
Human Systems Inquiry (HSI) Special Integration Group (SIG) has a central emphasis on those Systems Sciences directly concerned with human beings. We invite you to contribute a paper relevant to the conference theme that also pertains to human systems inquiry. Any paper making this connection will be considered. The purpose of the HSI SIG is to provide an arena for ISSS members to present, exchange information, learn, and discuss:
Any one or more of these purposes may be related to the conference theme. For consideration, submit your abstract of 300 words maximum that includes at least one sentence relating the paper directly to the conference theme, and at least one sentence that connects your paper to any one or more of the four SIG focus areas stated above.
SIG: Information Systems Design
SIG Chair: Béla A. Bánáthy
During the past century we have made spectacular advances in communications and computing technologies (IS) and the use of these technologies. It is clear that in the 21st century, communications, storage, processing, and process control capacities, as well as the human-machine interface will be developed to levels that are at present unimaginable. We have already greatly increased the surface-area of human-machine contact. Perhaps more importantly, we are elevating the contact to increasingly higher levels abstraction.
Still there is a big gap and question mark between the optimistic decision makers and politicians who think that IS are the solution to many problems and those who think that IS are an expensive technology with no or little impact on the progress on human condition on earth. Some may be think that IS makes the human conditions worse.
With many of the technical problems that constrained the information systems design efforts of the past having been solved, we can now focus more clearly on these fundamental questions and the foundations of the design task.
Papers addressing this general topic are invited, in special papers that develop and apply systemic or co-design ideas fostered in the ISSS and related scientific societies are most welcome. Especially papers reporting upon practical implications and practical experiences from deploying human-centric solutions contributing to a higher value for humans are encouraged.
In addition, to lend more focus to the sessions, two main themes are proposed:
More specific papers and cases direct focusing the value of IS are welcome, example topics are:
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, ontological and ethical aspects of human-machine interaction in different organizational and societal settings.
Presentation Format: Contributors are encouraged to provide a brief (10-15 minute) overview of the key ideas followed by a more extensive discussion. We anticipate posting of the papers on the web prior to the meeting to provide a basis for discussion.
SIG: Living Systems Analysis
SIG Chair: James Simms
The missions of the Living Systems Analysis (LSA) Special Integration Group (SIG) are the development and application of living systems theory and science. LSA is one of the oldest and continuously operating SIGs in the society. Much has been accomplished in the development and application of living systems theory and science. Miller's living systems theory provides the basis for much of the living systems analysis associated with the SIG. Also, the fundamental principles of a living systems science, equivalent to those of the other natural sciences, have been developed.
You are invited to submit papers that deal with the conference theme (Integrated Systems Sciences: Systems Thinking, Modeling, and Practice) from a living systems perspective. Also, papers linking living systems theory and science to other science and bodies of theory (e.g. biology, physics, chemistry, hierarchy theory, duality theory, accounting theory, economics, behavioral theories) are encouraged. We are especially interested in papers that extend living systems science and that apply the science.
Presentation Format: This SIG follows a more conventional presentation format with each author subsequently allocated 15 to 20 minutes for presentation and the remaining time allocated for questions and discussion.
SIG: Medical and Health Systems
SIG Chair: Contact ISSS Conference Office
In recognition of this year’s conference theme, the Medical and Health Systems SIG invites papers that reflect an integrative approach, linking systems thinking, systems modeling and systems practice. Ideally, papers for this session will address integrated approaches to health and healing that explore the connections between personal, social, and environmental dimensions of health. Further, given the location of this year’s conference, we encourage papers that examine the relationship between Eastern and Western models. Also of particular interest are papers documenting applied and community-based research.
Presentation Format: Authors will be asked to provide a brief (10 minute) overview of key ideas or findings from their research, leaving the remaining time for more interactive discussion among participants. PowerPoint or other media may be used to highlight important points, if desired, although more informal presentation styles are welcome and encouraged. The primary goal of this session is to facilitate dialogue and collaborative learning.
SIG: Meta-modeling and Systems Epistemology
SIG Chair: Janet McIntyre
Description to add.
SIG: Organizational Transformation and Social Change
SIG Chair: Maurice Yolles
One interest of this SIG is seeing organisations as social communities, thereby allowing for a convergence between management systems/cybernetic theory and sociology. Another concerns the change imperative for autonomous organisations in a complex world (more on this can be found at the Journal of Organisational Transformation and Social Change ). Abstracts are therefore invited from all fields of organisational or social systems research and/or practice.
The format for submissions should be as a normal academic paper. The content may be a balance between theory and practice or a theoretical paper. A paper directly totally towards practice may be better directed towards the SIG on Systems Applications in Business and Industry (SABI). In any case the two SIGs work closely together. If requested, papers published in these SIGs will also be considered for the Journal of Organisational Transformation and Social Change.
Presentation Format: This SIG follows a more conventional presentation format (as compared to that of the SABI group), with each author sequentially alloted 15 to 20 minutes for presentation.
SIG: Research Towards a General Theory of Systems
SIG Chair: Lynn Rasmussen
The ISSS GST-SIG embodies the original objectives of this society in their purest form, namely (1) to compare systems to discover processes that are similar (2) to enable transfer of useful fundamental knowledge between systems in order (3) to develop better theoretical models (4) for increased understanding of the unity of science.
We invite papers that identify, compare, or further develop several of the different schools of thought or general theories that are currently active or have historical significance. It is very important that the members of this society clearly distinguish between the various approaches and models that have been developed to date, who their caretakers are, and how they are being improved. We cannot help others if we do not understand ourselves. We also invite papers that conduct more detailed elucidation of any of the parts of these extant systems theories, that is, a paper can be tightly focused on one of the components of a general theory rather than on the theory as a whole. We also invite papers that compare and improve any of the tools and techniques used to study systems in general. Papers that reveal shortcomings of some extant theories or how theories that are now separate can be unified are also welcome. Any papers submitted to these sessions must exhibit the criteria of a general theory. If you do not know references that clarify these criteria, feel free to suggest such criteria. A discipline that does not have criteria that are useful in selecting among its output does not evolve and improve.
Presentation Format: Presentation format will depend upon numbers of submissions and will be developed by the group by email in the months preceding the meeting.
SIG: Daily Morning Reflection Roundtable
SIG Chair: Sue Gabriele
Get Ready for the ISSS MORNING ROUNDTABLE!
Pick up breakfast on the 1st Floor (Der Rathskeller opens at 7am; Daily Scoop at 7:30am); then join us on the 4th Floor in the Capitol View Room.
Everyone is invited to our eighth annual daily reflection RoundTable at ISSS 2008 in Madison, Wisconsin. We will meet every morning at 8:00am Monday through Friday, July 14-18 in the Capitol View Room, 4th Floor of Memorial Union. You can pick up coffee or breakfast on the first floor and bring it to the room. Join us every day, or whenever you like.
Our RoundTable purposes are to open a space for daily reflection on our ideals, what we want to learn and create; to increase time for each of us to talk from about what we are thinking and learning now; and to be listened to by others, enjoying and learning with each other in a new way.
Our format is: We spend 5 minutes listening to short readings. We then spend 50 minutes on individual reflections or learning reports, time distributed equally among all present (e.g. 20 people = about 2 minutes each). Our suggested topic for the first morning might be: “What situations and projects did you leave behind to come here, and what could happen here that would be valuable to you in your work and life back home?” Each day, a different topic will be suggested by a different volunteering facilitator in attendance.
Folk wisdom and compelling research indicate that participants experience surprising benefits from this activity after about four sessions. Our own experience with this format has resulted in the following theory: Just as we break the sound barrier when we travel faster than the speed of sound, we break the communication barrier when we hear 25 authentic viewpoints in 50 minutes.
Looking forward to experiencing this with you all!
Sue Gabriele email@example.com
SIG Chair: Nicholas Magliocca
Students from approximately high school to post-doctoral age are cordially invited to join the second annual meeting of the Student SIG. This will take place at the 51st annual meeting in August 2007 of the International Society for the System Sciences (ISSS) held in Tokyo, Japan. We hope that you will consider contributing a paper and/or poster for presentation in our group discussions. However, simply participating in the group’s generative and creative dialogue is also appreciated and welcomed. The goals of the Student SIG include: to foster interest and excitement for the systems sciences among younger generations; share and articulate ideas from many different disciplines; and to synthesis a collected “youth” view of the Society’s past, present, and future.
It is my privilege to chair the fourth meeting of the Student SIG in an effort to meaningfully connect younger generations in the exploration of the systems science approach. What makes this SIG unique, is the opportunity to integrate many varied disciplines and backrounds into a student presence within the ISSS. Distinguished members of the society will also be invited to come speak to our SIG to futher present their ideas. It is essential that youth participation be established in order to introduce youth to the workings of the ISSS, to create a contributing student membership, and to perpetuate the work of the ISSS in the future.
The meetings of the Student SIG will be conducted in much the same manner as the Evolutionary Development SIG, chaired by Alexander and Kathia Laszlo. There will be no formal presentations of papers/posters, but rather a brief period for the day’s presenters to familiarize the group with their work. Triggering questions will be created beforehand in order to give the discussion a focus. After allowing for a brief question period, we will proceed to a strategically guided discussion. An evolutionary dialogue will take place in which new insights may be constructed and further collaborations made possible.
The best preparations for these meetings will be to read the papers scheduled for presentation, take part in outside conversations during the various workshops and plenaries, and come with enthusiam for a new youth collaboration!
Presentation Format: Brief presentations by authors, followed by strategically guided discussion.
SIG: Spirituality and Systems
SIG Chair: Carl Swanson
Call for papers in preparation. Please email initial inquiries to the SIG chair email.
SIG: Systems Applications in Business and Industry
SIG Chair: David Ing
Authors are welcomed to share their papers and wisdom on Systems Applications in Business and Industry in Singerian Inquiry sessions at the 2007 ISSS meeting in Tokyo.
The SABI sessions at Tokyo2007 will follow the approach that proved successful at Sonoma 2006, Cancun 2005, Asilomar 2004 and Crete 2003. The agenda not only allows each author to relate the research that he or she has recently conducted, but to also share in the development of new knowledge by drawing on the wisdom across all participants. A Singerian Inquiry, as described by C. West Churchman in The Design of Inquiring Systems, is a systemic approach that features both multiple perspectives, and the “sweeping in” of new knowledge. Authors and attendees at prior sessions have reported great satisfaction in this lightly structured, free flowing approach to conversation.
Prior to the meeting:
Authors may discuss their ideas about potential contributions with the SIG chair, David Ing (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Authors submit abstracts. Abstracts are posted on a web site for review by all. Preliminary discussions about clustering ideas into sessions are facilitated online through web forums/conferences.
Authors submit final papers. Papers are clustered into session of three to five papers. Preliminary discussions about ideas are facilitated online through web forums/discussions.
At the conference:
In each session, each author is permitted up to five minutes to present the key ideas of their papers. For the remainder of the 90-to-120 minute session (of which each speaker is the focus for about 15 minutes), an open discussion on common themes and differences between the papers gradually reveals more details about each author's thinking. Non-authors are welcomed to ask clarifying questions and contribute additional ideas, later in the session.
After the meeting, digests are posted on the Internet, and audio recordings may be available on CD-R. The artifacts from Crete 2003 are available at http://systemicbusiness.org/digests/sabi2003. (The 2004, 2005 and 2006 artifacts are still under development).
Authors who require more than five minutes to present their papers should not designate their papers for the SABI stream. The chairs of the streams on Organizational Transformation and Social Change, Human Systems Inquiry and Evolutionary Development aim to work together to appropriate place papers, and work through scheduling challenges.
Presentation Format: Authors will be asked to provide very brief (i.e. five minute) summaries of their key ideas or findings. The balance of the time is devoted to discussion between authors and participants about the topics. The use of Powerpoint is extremely discouraged, and LCD projectors will not be available. A flipchart or white board may or may not be available, for those who find that diagrams accelerate audience understanding.
SIG: Systems Modelling and Simulation
SIG Chair: Janet McIntyre
Description to add.
SIG: Systems Pathology and Systems Biology
SIG Chair: Len Troncale
The new field of Systems Biology uses the vast amounts of reductionist data emerging from comparative panomics to study biological entities as systems (using knowledge of the parts to put Humpty Dumpty back together again). While systems biologists are using recent advances in network theory in their work, and at their conferences, they know little about systems science in general. For example, they are describing a new phenomenon they call “degeneration” but it is actually the same thing as “equifinality” that was described by Bertalanffy in the fifties. Nobel laureate Edelmann in a recent plenary1 remarked that “reductionism is not enough” for the study of these new ideas and a physiology review2 recently criticized current research as “naïve reductionism.”
The development of Systems Biology presents us with major opportunities for capturing funding and proving the worth of systems science by providing knowledge to the natural sciences. Funding levels of $34M to $100M are dedicated to establishing new Centers and Institutes for Systems Biology at major universities such as Harvard, Caltech, Berkeley, Johns Hopkins, Princeton, and the Claremont Colleges. There are already several different Systems Biology international conference series. But to capitalize on these opportunities, systems science must prove that it can provide “value added” insights and practical techniques to the natural sciences. We need exemplars of problems in systems biology that could be solved by application of knowledge gained from systems science and systems pathology.
The purposes of this fourth annual meeting of the Systems Pathology SIG are to invite (1) papers that summarize ideas, tools, or techniques of systems science that could inform systems biology, (2) papers that relate systems pathology to systems biology, (3) papers that show how advances in systems biology can contribute to systems science, and (4) papers that further develop systems pathology as a new discipline that could contribute to both systems science and systems biology. It should be noted that any advances in systems science of utility to systems biology/systems pathology would also be of utility to the systems neurosciences and earth systems science.
Presentation Format: This session will accept abstracts for platform presentation or for posters. Presentation format will depend upon numbers of submissions and will be developed by the group by email in the months preceding the meeting.
SIG: Systems Philosophy and Ethics
SIG Chair: Kurt Richardson
Exploring Boundaries Our understanding of the notion of ‘boundary’ is key to our understanding of a systems-based philosophy and ethics. For example, if we assume that systemic boundaries are absolute, real and easily recognizable then it is possible to develop a universal philosophy and a universal ethics that provides explicit guidance for how we can lead a ‘good’ life in all contexts. We might refer to this as Modernist Ethics with its focus on a universal set of rules and the ‘abstracting-away’ of context. If we are more inclined to assume that boundaries are merely a feature of our explanations and not an inherent characteristic of the real world, and that boundary recognition is radically context dependent, then we may be more inclined toward a relativistic philosophy in which anything goes. In such a philosophy, whether a particular action is seen as ‘good’ or ‘evil’ is completely in the eye of the beholder – context becomes so important that the ability to abstract away from the concrete and develop useful rules of thumb becomes impossible.
In (complex) systems thinking the notion of ‘boundary’ is problematized. A particular boundary is seen as a temporary and (critically) emergent pattern whose ontological status cannot be easily associated with either ‘real’ or ‘non-real’. As such it is possible to empathize both with the view that boundary recognition is strongly context dependent (therefore containing a significant subjective element), and with the view that boundaries are an intrinsic property of any system (whether absolutely real or not) and therefore allowing – to some extent – the development of quasi-objective tools for their determination. In a general sense a complex systems view of system boundaries acknowledges that they are both simultaneously ‘real’ and ‘non-real’. This may seem an odd suggestion to those who find comfort in the binary logic of Modernism, but complexity thinking provides ample evidence to suggest that such binary ‘language’ is not sufficient to understand such systems in their own terms. Although ‘dichotomization’ is essential to the process of ‘languaging’ and therefore understanding, it restricts (as much as enables) our view of such systems. A systems view of philosophy and ethics demands a more sophisticated view of language and its relationship to the ‘objects’ of our interest, than is proffered by representationalist (i.e., Modernist) views of knowledge.
(Complex) systems thinkers who are interested in this issue of how our understanding relates to a systemic universe, and how certain actions might be chosen over other choices, are encouraged to submit their ideas to this SIG. The kinds of discussions that are relevant to this special session are: • Status, limits and legitimacy of knowledge regarding complex systems • Relationship between linear and nonlinear philosophies • Systems-based ethics • Systemic limits to theories of everything • Systems and the social sciences • Systems and globalization • Systems and human subjectivity
Presentation Format: The session itself will not be run as the usual one-to-many lecturing (i.e., formal presentations will NOT be the dominant mode of interaction), but with a more interactive (dialogical) mode focusing on critical discussion of the keys themes.
SIG: Systems Psychology and Psychiatry
SIG Chairs: Tamar Zohar Harel and Pamela Buckle
Call for papers in preparation.
SIG: Systems-Specific Technology
SIG Chair: Vadim I. Kvitash
The great scientific and practical potentials of General Systems Theory as well as Systems Sciences have not yet been fully realized. We are still mostly ruminating about the initial concepts of von Bertalanffy and have not yet progressed to the level of an exact and complete scientific theory with its own language, ontology, epistemology, methodologies, tools and technologies.
The purpose of the Systems-Specific Technology SIG is to be instrumental in the development and in the implementation of systems-specific technologies/tools sufficiently effective for scientific and pragmatic application in various domains and across the boundaries of different sciences. These technologies/tools are expected to push the limits of human perception, cognition, communication, and will transform today?s Systems Sciences to the level of the Exact Systems Science.
ISSS members are invited to contribute to the Systems-Specific Technology Session(s) to explore the following:
Defining Systems-Specific Technologies/Tools Network Structures of Systems-Specific Relational Languages Concepts and Methodologies for Developing, Constructing, Testing and Validation of different types of Systems-Specific Technologies/Tools Systems-Specific Technologies/Tools: Established and Under Development
SIG: What is Life/Living?
SIG Chair: John Kineman
Since 1999 the WILL SIG has explored many aspects of the question “What is Life” from intrinsic and extrinsic perspectives. In keeping with the theme of the 51st Annual Meeting, the WILL SIG invites papers regarding the relationship between complexity, ecosystems, and sustainability.
We would especially like to explore the question “what is an ecosystem?” in the context of defining life. What distinguishes an ecosystem from an organism? From a physical system? Related questions are:
SIG: Women and Children
SIG Chair: Anne Nelson
Papers are invited that identify themes and research interests which account for the perspectives, interests and needs of children and women in social systems.
More than half of the world's population is women. Children are the future. Both groups are affected by different systems constructs, with formal and informal needs to have representation in the community or social system in which they live. Papers that apply systems thinking and understanding to family systems, community systems, and other social systems as related to the development of service systems are always welcome. A special invitation is extended to those who would like to present papers on the sub themes of integration and continuity as they apply to women and children in community systems. Papers are invited from anyone who is interested in developing scholarship focusing on this area of study.
The focus of this conference is Complexity, Democracy, and Sustainability. Within these parameters papers are invited that expand the body of knowledge that pertains to the subject of Women and Children in Community Systems. ISSS administration has suggested the following questions as examples of questions that might begin the research into this subject.
What can the sciences of complexity teach us about social justice and sustainability? What is the nature of the relationship between information and consciousness? How do we manage information in a way that fosters effective decision-making processes? How do we nurture organizational structures that serve human needs while also protecting our resources for future generations?
The process of food production is a critical element of a healthy community system. A special post conference workshop is being offered titled, “Food Connections: Applying a Systems Approach to Develop Healthy Pathways from Seed to Table and Beyond”.
We encourage papers that develop an understanding of the role of Women and Children in relationship to the production of food.
For further information, please contact: Anne Nelson Chair, Women and Children in Community Systems at: email@example.com
Exploratory Groups and Forums
The following are not officially designated Special Integration Groups by the ISSS, but may host papers or provide presentations or discussion around topics of interest to members.
Foundation of Information Science
Søren Brier: firstname.lastname@example.org
Béla A. Bánáthy: email@example.com
Jed Jones: firstname.lastname@example.org
Information, information processing and information society are all key terms in describing technology, intelligence and the social development today. Actually the idea of an information science including AI and cognitive science integrated with cybernetics and systems represents the most recognized attempt of making a transdisciplinary framework dissolving the conflict between science and the humanities. As Norbert Wiener pointed out: in formation is information, neither matter nor energy; and with the computer understood in principle as a Turing machine a new view has been created where information becomes the organizing and sometimes creative aspect of nature, that combined with the principle of mergence, can explain how life and mind arose from matter. This was originally done by Schrödinger and Wiener - among others – by combining the information theory with thermodynamics and today most often also with complexity science. But the term information has a multitude of varying definitions in use today. Some of these definitions are more technical in nature, while others are more abstract and broad-based. A precisely-defined, technical view of information as a mathematically-derivable quantity is represented by the theories of Claude Shannon who saw information as entropy in his attempt to optimize the transmission of a message composed of a string of bits through a noisy channel. Later Wiener and Schrödinger redefined the definition of information in view of thermodynamics as neg-entropy.
These models of information do not account for the concept of meaning. Building on this theoretical foundation, Gregory Bateson developed a non-technical and more wide-ranging concept of cybernetic information in a cognitive and an ecological direction defining information as “a difference that makes a difference” for a cybernetic mind attempting to link information and meaning in a cybernetic and systems framework including the whole biosphere, as well as culture and social systems. The questions is if Bateson managed to develop cybernetic information theory out of Wiener’s and others pure mathematical and logic definitions and into the realm of meaning, life, real human beings, ecology and culture or not. Brier (2007)claims that Bateson never managed to escape the functionalistic foundation of cybernetics to get into a theory that includes meaningful cognition and communication as well as qualia and free will in self-conscious linguistic beings. Such theories have traditionally been created on a phenomenological and hermenutical philosophical basis by researcher like Husserl, Heidegger, Merleau-Ponty and Gadamer, all opposing science and technology as having a privileged admittance to the truth of reality. Heidegger considered cybernetics as the high point of the techno-scientific reductionistic and controlling knowledge type (as Habermas called it). Many inside cybernetics and systems claim that the later second order cybernetics of von Foerster plus the autopoiesis theory of Maturana and Varela, has solved this conflict at least when they are integrated in Niklas Luhmann’s theory of socio-communication. In the last 25 years a partly phenomenological biosemiotics has been developed. This doctrine of signs that view life and meaningful signs as co-defining compete with the new cybernetics of being the transdisciplinary framework of meaning, cognition and communication.
For dialogue and discussion: Can the two views of information described above be reconciled? What is the difference between information, signal and sign, if any? Are they mutually contradictory or are they the complementary and therefore have to be combined into a Cybersemiotics to obtain our goals of communicating and understanding machines? What kind of technological, scientific and theoretical-philosophical data do we have to shed light on where we are in this problematique?
Systems Approaches in Arts-Informed Inquiry
SIG Chairs: Lezlie Kinyon & Bela A. Banathy
Arts-informed inquiry is interdisciplinary and integrative. It incorporates the questions of validity, legitimacy, and significance of traditional approaches as well as the questions of meaning and function that an artist asks in approaching work. As Max van Manen (1990) suggested, a researcher must, at times, discover or invent a methodological approach sufficient to the subject under research in order to create an energetic response. Coupled with a systems approach, arts-informed inquiry has the potential to create a rich corollary to the Aristotelian episteme in science research. Arts-informed inquiry allows researchers to tackle elusive subjects such as the search for wisdom or our roles as thinking and aware beings within nature's complex web. It allows for the disciplined process of inquiry to be foremost in subjects of a personal nature such as gender identity or dreams and consciousness. The group will explore, through traditional academic papers and the approaches found in the arts, two parallel and equal “tracks” of inquiry: art-as-inquiry and arts-informed inquiry that utilizes the tools of the arts in science research.
Abstracts will be necessary for each type of presentation, just as for papers for the conference. Presentations may take many forms, from musical composition, performance work, visual art, and story-making, to academic papers of the more traditional variety. The chairs encourage an integrated approach involving both. All papers and performances must adhere to the spirit of inquiry in the systems sciences.
For 2007, this group will have the option of displaying work and an announcement will follow from the planning committee regarding this arrangement.
For further information and published references please contact Bela A. Banathy, Ph.D. and Lezlie Kinyon, Ph.D.