Dealing with causality in an uncertain world

The post prior to last cleared the air in relation to some ways in which the systems sciences seem to go astray in their treatment of foundational concepts relating to the energy view of physical phenomena, specifically those associated with the science of thermodynamics in its classical or macroscopic form. It’s a noteworthy irony that in taking a macroscopic view, the classical approach deals with thermodynamic behaviour at the level of “whole systems”, and in doing so, shares significant commonalities with the systems sciences. An important distinction is that whereas the systems sciences set out to do this as a self-conscious corrective to perceived inadequacies of reductionist science, in classical thermodynamics this is instead a natural entailment of dealing with phenomena that, as discussed previously, are of a systemic character. Continue reading

Slaying systems disorders

Early on in the inquiry, I introduced the energy concept specifically as an entailment of considering physical phenomena in systems terms. In the course of doing that, I gave a brief introduction to basic systems ideas, and outlined what is entailed in considering any situation in such terms. We’re now at a point where some further background in systems will be particularly useful, as we start to look at the energy costs of our energy use under the broad theme of efficiency. In providing the earlier general introduction to thinking with systems as a basis for then introducing energy from the very outset explicitly as a property of physical systems, I drew on a set of ideas that could be considered foundational for the broad and heterogeneous field of systems thinking and practice, or simply systems.Note 1 The way in which I introduced those ideas is more-or-less entirely consistent with the ways that systems concepts are used in the physical sciences and engineering disciplines that deal directly with energy, especially the various branches of thermodynamics. In other words, in relation to those introductory systems ideas as set out here at Beyond this Brief Anomaly, the fields of systems and thermodynamics are in close agreement. Continue reading