Do we need Computer Aided Systems Theory? – A Discussion

IFSR Newsletter 1995 Vol. 14 No. 4 (39) December
Jimmy (Werner) Schimanovich
ln an e-mailto the participants of EUROCAST-95 (lnnsbruck) Jimmy (Werner) Schimanovich stated a provocative thesis. Here is Jimmy’s original statement and some answers:
Dear friends,
I agreed with Franz Pichler and Gerhard Chroust to play the role of the advocatus diaboli: Therefore let me state a provocative thesis:

The old system theory is not longer a scientific subject of its own!

The reason is that it is now already absorbed by the different branches of science and technology. It only survives in combination with chaos-theory (e.g. in Italy) or as part of philosophy (in some universities of the USA).
Therefore I am very glad that Heinz Schwdrtzel suggested to change the meaning of CAST from system theory lo systems technology. This includes the construction of several systems in practice. We have to look for new instruments to use for the construction of systems.
To come to the point: I am convinced that the CAST community should learn as much as possible from related fields and I find this very interesting, too, but I have to confess that I personally find the endless discussion about system theory boring. I can understand that some people like to design abstract models for systems and like to discuss this process in detail. I certainly will not share this discussion.
Dear Jimmy!
Let me draw your attention to following aspects:
(1) Systems theory will not be absorbed, but applied in more and more fields of science,
(2) Systems theory and other fields, especially computer science and cybernetics (measurement, automation, communication), will lead to a complex theory in the future.
E.G. Woschni
e. g.woschni @
Dear Jimmy!
I think that System Theory is more an objective than a result: a broad interdisciplinary theory which should be constructed. This process of construction can be conceived as a dynamic system where theory and practice interact in an evolutionary way. The value of the theory is determined by the utility of its applications and the sense of the applications depends on its capacity to make understandable the phenomena modeled.
System Theory can be viewed as a framework of interdisciplinary communication, which will evolve according to the progress of its applications, and vice versa.
I think that the discussion is not to make a selection between System Theory and System Technology, but the need for the consciousness of their interaction and mutual construction: How can the process of interaction between System Theory and System Technology be conceived as an evolutionary system? The big difference between the analytical view and the systemic one is not better theories, but the capability of understanding change and of integrating the phenomenon perceived and the perceiver (modeller) of phenomena.
An interesting example is the role of ecology in the conception of the world in the last 20 years, which has shown that human activity cannot be conceived isolated from nature, but as a whole system. Then a systemic ecological attitude is not a list of forbidden activities, but a global view of the planet that determines activities which, in turn, impose a new global view, and so.
Jose Parets, jparets @

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