Principles of Sociocybernetics

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Principles of Sociocybernetics







-
Bernd R. Hornung

-
Marburg University, Germany


European Systems Science Union (ESSU)

6th
EUROPEAN CONGRESS ON SYSTEMS SCIENCE

Paris, France, September 19
-
22, 2005


ISA


International Sociological Association


RC51 on Sociocybernetics

ISA RC51 on Sociocybernetics

2

1. INTRODUCTION

1)
What is
Sociocybernetics

?

2)
How does it relate to (general) system theory
and (1st and 2nd order) cybernetics ?

3)
Which are the basic principles that system
theory and sociocybernetics have in common
and how can they be applied in sociology and
other social sciences ?

ISA RC51 on Sociocybernetics

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2. SOCIOCYBERNETICS



System Theory,
Systems Science.


Study of observed systems vs. study of
observing systems (cf. H. von Foerster)


Constructivist epistemology



The application of system theory or rather
systems science, including 1st and 2nd order
cybernetics, to sociology and the other social
sciences.

ISA RC51 on Sociocybernetics

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URL:
http://www.unizar.es/sociocybernetics/

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3. A PARADIGM

OR DISCIPLINARY MATRIX

(according to Thomas S. Kuhn)

1)
A scientific community

2)
Metaphysical assumptions

3)
Central components of a theory

4)
Specific methods

5)
Standards for problem solutions

6)
Paradigm in a narrow sense
-

EXEMPLAR

7)
Kind of data accepted by scientific com.

8)
Specific problems to be dealt with

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3.1 THE SCIENTIFIC COMMUNITY I

Within the Paradigm of Systems Science

Scientific Associations, e.g.:

-
WOSC, World Organization of General Systems and
Cybernetics

-
ISSS, International Society for Systems Sciences

-
IFSR, International Federation for Systems Research

-
Society for Systems Science

-
UES/ESSU, Union europeénne des systèmes,

-

European Systems Science Union

-
RC51, Research Committee 51 on Sociocybernetics
of the ISA


International Sociological Association

ISA RC51 on Sociocybernetics

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3.1 THE SCIENTIFIC COMMUNITY II

Within the Paradigm of Systems Science

Institutes, e.g.:

-
IIASA, International Institute for Applied Systems
Analysis, Laxenburg near Vienna

-
Instituto Andino de Sistemas, Lima, Peru

-
FHG/ISI Fraunhofer Gesellschaft, Institut für System
-
technik und Innovationsforschung, Karlsruhe, Germany

-
Santa Fé Institute, Santa Fé, USA

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3.1 THE SCIENTIFIC COMMUNITY III

Within the Paradigm of Systems Science

Journals, e.g.:

-
Kybernetes

-
Behavioral Science

-
International Journal for General Systems

-
International Journal for Systems Science

-
Revista Internacional de Sistemas

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3.2 METAPHYSICAL ASSUMPTIONS

Within the Paradigm of Systems Science

1)
Nominalism / Constructivism

2)
Unity of Nature / Unity of Science

3)
Interdisciplinarity

4)
Holism / Emergence / Synergy

5)
Complexity / Interdepence /

6)


Networks

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3.3 CENTRAL COMPONENTS OF THEORY

Within the Paradigm of Systems Science

1)
Relation System
-
Environment

2)
Systems Hierarchy

3)
Feedback Loops (negative & positive)

4)
Information Processing

5)
Cognition (Knowledge, Meaning)

6)
Problem
-
Solving

7)
Complexity

8)
Self
-
Organization / Autopoiesis

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1)
Graphical Representation

2)
Modelling

3)
Computer Simulation


3.4 SPECIFIC METHODS

Within the Paradigm of Systems Science

A model is a construction; it permits to experiment,
to test, and to simulate

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3.5 STANDARDS FOR PROBLEM SOLUTIONS

Within the Paradigm of Systems Science

1)
Solutions compatible with the
theories and methodologies of
systems science and cybernetics

Solutions both to theoretical problems and to
practical issues and applications

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3.6 THE PARADIGM

(or Exemplar) of Systems Science

1)
The System

-
e.g. according
to Laszlo

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3.7 DATA

Within the Paradigm of Systems Science

1)
All data acceptable by the sciences
and the social sciences

In addition data obtained by means of
simulations

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3.8 SPECIFIC PROBLEMS AND ISSUES

Within the Paradigm of Systems Science

1)
All empirical and theoretical issues
related to the specific concepts and
methodology of system theory


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4. Basic Principles:

WHAT IS A SYSTEM ?



A system is a whole


which consists of
interdependent components.


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4. Basic Principles (cont.):

THE ONTOLOGICAL CONSTRUCTION

1) Event

2) Process

3) Structure

(„slow“ variables)

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4. Basic Principles (cont.):


CHARACTERISTICS OF A SYSTEM

(according to Laszlo)

1)
Holon property
-

it is a whole


2)
Negative feedback circles

3)
Positive feedback circles

4)
Systems hierarchy

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4. Basic Principles (cont.):

RELATIONS AND CIRCULARITIES

1)

Structure:
Focussing on



relations between « objects »

not on « objets »


2)

Process:
Circular causality, self
-

referential sequences

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CAUSALITY

Cause and Effect

Multi
-
Causality

Feedback

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+

+

Positive Feedback

-

Negative Feedback

CIRCULAR CAUSALITY

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+

-

Compare

Effect Measure


CIRCULAR CAUSALITY

(cont.)

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Compare



Effect Measure


-

Cognition
-



-

Outputs
-

-

Inputs
-

Action/



Matter/Energy

Communication/


Information

-

Transformation
-

Organisational Work

Matter/Energy

Information

CIRCULAR CAUSALITY

(cont.)

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Organisational Work

Adaptation:

Changement structurel en

réaction à l
´
environnement







Adaptation:

Structural change
in reaction to the
environment

Self
-
Organisation:

-

Structuring and Restructuring

Self
-
Reproduction/Autopoiesis:

-

Producing/Replacing Components

CIRCULAR CAUSALITY

(cont.)

(Self
-
) Procreation/Life:

-

Creation of New Systems

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4.
Basic Principles (cont.):

THE CONSTRUCTION OF COMPLEXITY

1)

Circular Causality

2)

Positive Feedback: Deviation amplification

3)

Negative Feedback: Deviation reduction

4)

Absence of feedback effects


5)

Controle: Feedback after the event
-


corrective action

6)

Steering: Feed
-
forward before the event



anticipative action


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4.
Basic Principles (cont.):

THE CONSTRUCTION OF COMPLEXITY


1)

Goal
-
orientation: Conscious systems,

decision
-
making

2)

Information processing

3)

Self
-
organisation

4)

Living systems, autopoietic systems

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4.
Basic Principles (cont.):


THE CONSTRUCTION OF COMPLEXITY

1)

Goal
-
Orientation
:
Goal
-
seeking systems,

conscious systems, decision
-
making

systems

2)

Information Processing
:
Communication

between two or more systems

3)

Circular processes of

self
-
organization
;

4)

Living systems,

autopoietic systems

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5.
APPLICATIONS TO SOCIOLOGY

Social Systems : Interactions and communications





between individuals or actor
-
systems.



1)

Feedback between different levels of systems and the

different levels of emergence


both upwards and

downwards

2)

Organization of social phenomena at different levels of

emergence and different levels of social structure

3)

Analysis of effects of communication, action, steering,

and control in hybrid systems: Communities, regions,

countries, etc. according to the type of sociological

units (individuals, small groups, collectivities,

organizations, etc.)