Cadell Last, a philosopher and host of the School of Thinking at the Free University of Brussels, Belgium worked with the Bertalanffy Center for an extended period of time in 2019 as one of the first early career researchers the Center intends to support with its Next Generation Program. He writes about his experience in two articles.
“In late November to early December 2019 I delivered four systems science lectures titled Systems Science and Subjectivity which was grounded in the exploration of Ludwig von Bertalanffy’s central work General Systems Theory, as well as the modern systems science text by George E. Mobus and Michael C. Kalton’s Principles of Systems Science. The goal of these internal lectures was to demonstrate the philosophical and theoretical foundations of systems science is often much more open, exploratory and relevant to present day problematics then is generally conceived; and also that the major problems of contemporary systems science still reflect the need to re-thinking fundamental underlying metaphysical presuppositions about science itself that were first introduced by Bertalanffy in his overview of the meaning of general systems theory.
From this work it was clear that a few major problematics need to be rethought by contemporary theorists, and thus I have also undertaken the process of transforming this internal lecture series into a book and hopefully a future course that can be extended and expanded in the coming years. Some of these major problematics include (1) the distinction between external observation and internal observation, and the way that this distinction changes some fundamental presuppositions of science, as well as the way we think about our own involvement with the development of systems; (2) the need to think the mystery of subjectivities own long-term desires and goals in the universe and the way in which such projects are implicated in the nature of negentropy or the construction of order; (3) the presuppositions about the fundamental nature of knowledge as a correlation with natural being or as a mechanism for cultivating meaningful positive-sum interactions, as well as the way in which knowledge and power are deeply implicated with each other; and finally (4) the metaphysical consequences of thinking the real of abstraction and reflection reveals some potentially helpful solutions to problems for communication, information and game theories of reality.”