WHAT IS ISS

 

ITALIAN SYSTEMS SOCIETY (ISS)

The ISS acts in the context of the international systemic movement and collaborates with the most important research institutes in this field. AIRS is a non-profit, cultural association.

The ISS has been conceived and always operated not as a professional and academic association but as one of the components of Systemics, intended as permanent cultural project. Several cultural projects are generated by ISS such as publications, education, conferences, seminars, researches, and applications.

It is important to note that ISS, as it happens with other organizations active in Systemics, is an episode, an event of materialization of the movement of thought known as Systemics.

Nobody should think himself representative of Systemics just because affiliated to a systems association.

Nobody should consider him/herself representative of Systemics just because having positions or roles in systems associations.

Nobody, for instance, has been recognized illuminist or romanticist or impressionist or intuitionist just because affiliated to related, if any, associations.

Representatives of Systemics are those who actively contribute and perform cultural roles in Systemics, permanent cultural project, and not because they have been appointed or elected. This kind of role passes in time from person to person, and may emerge and be recognized posthumous. It is easily recognizable in this framework the difference between cultural roles and careers, the distance between authority and power.

As a theorem or a theory is not recognized to be true just because the majority agrees, in the same way traditional forms of success do not measure the importance of a cultural issue. With this awareness the ISS wants to improve, support, induce and activate systems thinking more than to diffuse, divulgate, convince or even worst, sell it.

CULTURAL BASIS AND PURPOSES

The conceptual gap between singularity and collectivity has been dealt with different disciplinary approaches. In chemistry, for instance, it has been introduced the concept of composition taking place when different elements by interacting (when the one behavior effects the other behavior) produce, as result of the process of interaction, new entities having properties different from the ones of components. In such a case the process of interaction produces different configurations of elements, making them to assume new roles in a new configuration (e.g. mixing different colors or the establishment of chemical compositions such as H2O from atom of Hydrogen and Oxygen). In such a cases the establishment of new properties is result of processes of interaction.

This kind of phenomena brings the attention to processes of transformation not only from elements (e.g. chemical, computational, translations), between results of processes of compositions (e.g. chemical compositions, merging), entities established by (emergent as we will see) continuous processes of interaction (e.g. storms, traffic), but even by phase transformations (e.g. liquid and solid, chemical and living).

 

Systems Theory focuses on the fact that elements in a structure, an organization, establish configurations having specific properties and problems, different from the ones of basic components. Classic example has been the Watts regulator. Reference is to control theory, systems analysis, cybernetics.

 

General Systems Theory relates to the establishment of systems thanks to processes of emergence, by considering systemic properties in different disciplinary contexts (inter-disciplinarity) and in general (trans-disciplinarity).

 

Emergence

 

In short, emergence is

 

                    a process of formation of new collective entities from the coherent behavior of interacting components (for instance flocks, automobile traffic; laser light);

 

                    a process that can be considered only as observer-dependent, that is by considering that

 

-         collective properties emerge at a level of description higher (i.e. more abstract) than the one used for components;

-         collective properties are detected as new by the observer depending from the cognitive model assumed, able to detect the establishment of coherence.

 

Examples of processes of emergence are the establishing of superconductivity, ferromagnetism, flocks, swarms, ant-hills, traffic, industrial districts and as in Tab. 1.

 


SETS CONSTITUTED BY ...

EMERGING SYSTEMS

Cells

Living being

Words

Poem, book, storie

Musicians

Orchestra

Students

School

Soldiers

Army

Workers

Corporation

Animals

Herd, swarm, flock, pack, ant-hill

Building components

Building considered as processes

 

Tab. 1 Examples of emergent systems

 

Systemic properties

 

Systems have properties different from the ones of interacting constituting elements. For instance, a system may be: adaptive, allopoietic, anticipatory, autonomous, autopoietic, balanced, bifurcating, chaotic, complex, composite, connessionistic, deterministic, dissipative, equifinal, ergodic, far from equilibrium, goal-seeking, open and closed, oscillating, self-organized, symmetry breaking, and so on.

 

Inter-disciplinarity

 

Systems and the establishing processes of emergence are not represented and considered in specific disciplines only.

Systemic properties, just listed above as examples, apply to different disciplinary contexts.

Inter-disciplinarity, in short, is the usage of problems and approaches of a discipline to another thanks on considering systemic properties.

Adaptability, for instance, is a systemic property applicable to different disciplinary contexts.

 

Disci---A---pline a (such as physics)

Disci---D---pline b (such as biology)

Disci---A---pline c (such as chemistry)

Disci---P---pline d (such as economy)

Disci---T---pline e (such as psychology)

Disci---I---pline f (such as architecture)

Disci---V---pline g (such as engineering)

Disci---E---pline h (such as music)

 

Trans-disciplinarity

 

Trans-disciplinary approaches arise when systemic properties are considered in general (thats the meaning of General Systems Theory) as properties of models and of representations without any reference to specific disciplinary cases.

Trans-disciplinarity also enables to deal with relations between systemic properties, considered in general.

Towards Sistemics

The term Systemics relates to a conceptual, cultural extension of General Systems Theory. Systemics is intended as corpus of concepts, principia, applications and methodology based on using the concepts of system, interaction, emergence, inter- and trans-disciplinarity.

Purposes

The ISS, as one of the materializations of the systemic movement (like in other countries), has the purpose to promote and support researches and interaction between researchers from different disciplines, detect the systemic contents of disciplinary researches, promote and support inter- and trans-disciplinary research and education.

Therefore ISS/AIRS is a non-profit, cultural association.