Equilibrium, Living Sys LO5906

Thu, 29 Feb 1996 07:12:57 -0500

Replying to LO5890 --

I am always intrigued when people take a general concept and restrict is

>Quoting Paul Weiss; "A system is a complex
>unit in space and in time, whose subunits cooperate to preserve its
>integrity and its structure and its behavior and tend to restore them
>after a non-destructive disturbance."

By this definition, I guess we can say that a nuclear bomb cannot possibly
be a system, because it destroys itself.

Similarly, Russell Ackoff has restricted the term by the way in which he
defines it.

It is always useful, I think, to test a definition against experience to
see whether it can be applied to situations where the term is needed.

Geoffrey Vickers decried the substitution of the term "system" for such
things as "information system" or "computer system", where one could have
avoided being too restrictive by simply sticking an appropriate adjective
in front of the term. Vickers said that he hoped to restore the word
"system" to its appropriate place, because it was becoming so narrowly
used as to eliminate its conceptual utility.


John N. Warfield Johnwfield@aol.com

Learning-org -- An Internet Dialog on Learning Organizations For info: <rkarash@karash.com> -or- <http://world.std.com/~lo/>