Vienna 2013 | Ludwig von Bertalanffy Symposium

“Emergence: System – Evolution – Information”

was the title of the second LvB Symposium held by our Center. It was organised in co-operation with the Austrian Computer Society Working Group Information Studies. About 25 guests attended the symposium which took place from 5 to 6 December.

This time five experts from different fields were invited to testify to uncommon sense as to foundations of systems thinking. Particular assumptions were presented – to start from the most general and end up with the most specific – as to how the Big Bang needs to be reconsidered; how systems at all come into being and expire; how nature developed into human history; how economic systems unfold; and how the social, biological and psychological work together in human systems:

  • German physicist and philosopher, Rainer E. Zimmermann made the distinction between initial emergence and emergence, thereby harnessing the difference between nothing and non-being;
  • expert in transdisciplinary studies, Joseph Brenner from Switzerland and the United States, introduced a new meaning of the term “distems” when describing the mechanisms by which systems arise and fall apart according to the prevalence of one or the other side of real contradictions;
  • sociologist Heinz-Jürgen Niedenzu from the University Innsbruck meticulously demonstrated the failures of both biologistic and culturalistic approaches to the emergence of norms in human society from pre-human precursors;
  • Swiss Emeritus Kurt Dopfer proved that mainstream economics is based on unquestioned, false, assumptions such that they cannot account for the evolution of economic systems;
  • and Walter Kofler, sociomedical expert and now professor at the First Moscow State Medical University, tried to overcome difficulties Ludwig von Bertalanffy was confronting when developing his hierarchical systems theory with the aim to contribute to a solution of the body-mind problem that yet is regarded as unsolved.

Here you find useful links:

Zimmermann: Metaphysics of Emergence Continued: Collecting Critical Points (link to a paper comprising an outline of the project on Metaphysics of Emergence)

Brenner: “Distems”. Between Systems and Non-Systems (link to sections of his book “Logic in Reality” on emergence)

Niedenzu: Soziogenese der Normativität. Zur Emergenz eines neuen Modus der Sozialorganisation (link to a leaflet of his book with the same title)

Dopfer: Wirtschaft als komplexes evolvierendes System (link to a contribution to the Elgar Companion to Recent Economic Methodology: Economics in a cultural key)

Kofler: Lassen sich systemtheoriebedingte Begrenzungen eines bio-psycho-sozialen Medizinansatzes ohne Vitalismus umgehen? (link to the journal article: “Information” – from an evolutionary point of view)

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