For several years a group of faculty members, students, and people from off campus met once a month to discuss “complex systems”. Later we decided to discuss “reflexive systems” as the next step in the systems sciences.
The systems sciences and cybernetics provide a general theory of perception, cognition, learning, adaptation, and understanding, whether these phenomena occur in human beings, groups, organizations, nations, or machines. Just as physics provides a fundamental theory of matter and energy, which is used in the various fields of engineering, cybernetics may one day be seen as providing a fundamental theory of information and regulation for the fields of the social and design sciences .
Reflexivity is similiar to second order cybernetics. Both emphasize including the observer in what is observed. Cybernetics has already had an impact on a wide range of fields – computer science, robotics, engineering, biology, psychology, management, sociology, political science, economics and the philosophy of science. As a transdisciplinary field cybernetics serves as a catalyst for further developments in many fields.
The group meets from September to April except December.The presentations and discusssions take place at The George Washington University, from 10 a.m to noon in Funger Hall, 2201 G Street NW, Washington DC (coffee available, lunch afterwards).
Archives 2006-2011 [to be continued]
Tip of the Hat to Stuart Umpleby for the pointer.