Systems Thinking: A Comparison between Chinese and Western Approaches – Pan et al (2013)

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Systems Thinking: A Comparison between Chinese and Western Approaches

lXingPanaRicardoValerdibRuiKangaShow moreAdd to MendeleyShareCitehttps://doi.org/10.1016/j.procs.2013.01.108Get rights and contentUnder a Creative Commons licenseopen access

Abstract

This paper presents a comparison between Chinese perspectives on systems thinking and ideas from the West, primarily the U.S. and the U.K. In particular we focus on the debate between reductionism and holism which is one of the classical subjects of study in the philosophy of science. Just like the West, China experienced theoretical debate between holism and reductionism which spanned across a broad range of fields such as traditional Chinese medicine and reliability-centered systems engineering. The Chinese developed their own oriental systems methodologies based on the philosophical foundation of ancient oriental philosophy thoughts and dialectic principle, the most distinctive of which include the Meta-synthesis Approach and the Wuli– ShiliRenli approach. In the Western approach to systems thinking there are similar concepts of holistic thinking, synergism, and cause and effect. However, interesting differences exist between China and the West in the role of intuition in decision making. We explore these differences and discuss the implications for applying each approach in different problem solving contexts.