Genealogy of Systems Thinking | Debora Hammond | 2002

In brief. David Ing.

In the history of science of systems thinking, Debora Hammond related the backgrounds and connections of the founder of the Society for General Systems Research, that is now the International Society for the Systems Sciences.

Boulding (1956) plays a large role in framing two orientations towards “general systems theory”.

Kenneth Boulding used to distinguish between what he called ‘special’ general systems theory and ‘general’ general systems theory, the first oriented primarily around mathematical modeling and the second incorporating a more philosophical consideration of the ethical dimensions of systems. From my own perspective there are three primary orientations within the systems community. Each of the original founders reflects one or more of these orientations, with slightly different emphasis.

(1) Theoretical/Rational—Formal Models, Quantitative Analysis
(2) Applied/Empirical/Utilitarian—Interdisciplinary Problem Solving
(3) Normative—Humanistic, Anti-mechanistic [p. 426]

These three orientations reflect the motivations of why individuals might be interested in diving into a science…

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