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.
“I came to the Bertalanffy Center for the Study of Systems Science (BCSSS) because of my connection with and support from the Managing Director Stefan Blachfellner. Blachfellner and I developed a working relationship in Paris at the first School of Thinking workshop hosted by the Center for Research and Interdisciplinarity (CRI), where I presented some of my theoretical notes on dialectical thinking, and the importance of cultivating meaning across the fullness of a lifetime. After this meeting I was invited to give a presentation at the BCSSS on the outlines of my PhD thesis, Global Brain Singularity, which introduced a theory of human evolution from a cosmic evolutionary and futurist perspective. From subsequent discussions there were clear connections in my future research with relevance and application to philosophical theory and systems science as it relates to global problems.
My goal in starting research at the BCSSS was two-fold: to continue extending the themes of my doctoral work on human evolution with a more grounded and pragmatic focus on major challenges facing humanity in the present; and to make transparent the ways in which the foundations of Ludwig von Bertalanffy’s systems science can be revitalized for this task. Throughout my engagement with the BCSSS (August-December 2019) I believe that these goals were developed in formulating a proposal for a long-term systems science research project that attempts to approach “anthropocene” challenges from a second-order perspective which must think the feedback between systemic dynamics and subjective perception and action. I also attempted to formulate an introductory seminar series putting the works of Bertalanffy into deeper relation to contemporary systems science as it relates to subjective problematics, which open up philosophical questions about interior experience, mysteries of existence, knowledge-power, as well as the relation between subjectivity and formalization.”