System theory for enterprise architects

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Scientific idealism


<create and use>      <idealise>

Describers <observe & envisage> Realities

Blurb    Introducing the subject matter    Comments

Home page

1: Philosophy

2: Description & information

3: Systems thinkers

4: General system theory

5: Enterprises as systems

Philosophical position statement 

Knowledge and truth

Toward a theory of everything

The number 7, description & reality

Introducing systems thinkers

Pseudo-science in systems thinking

Introducing system theory

GST principles

A conceptual framework

Business system modelling premises

Scientific idealism

Description & information

A few systems thinkers

System properties

Business system models

The problem of universals

A philosophy for system theory

The 9 propositions of scientific idealism

Insights from the idealism triangle

System description as scientific idealism

The evolution of description

The evolution of types

Taxonomies and ontologies

An information theory - part 1

An information theory - part 2

Other information theories

Boulding’s ideas

Ackoff’s ideas

Ashby on cybernetics

Ashby’s law and Beer’s use of it

Maturana’s biological autopoiesis

Luhmann’s sociological autopoiesis

Introducing system properties


Information feedback loops

The primacy of behaviour (services)

Determinism and hysteresis

Change: adaptation and evolution  

Premise 1: Encapsulation by interfaces
Premise 2: Behaviours run over time
Premise 3: Structures need space
Premise 4: Data conveys meaning
Premise 5: Models are abstractions
Premise 6: Things are typified  16


Type theory

System classes

Discrete v. continuous systems

Business capabilities

Existence in space and time

Ontology and phenomenology

Logical positivism (Wittgenstein)

About life

Relevance of the above to EA

Set and type theory

Types in different disciplines

How things instantiate types

Why we confuse types and instances

Types and meta types

Types and instances – analysis

Introducing system classification

Ackoff’s system classes

Snowden’s Cynefin framework

People classes

Hierarchical & network organisation

Relativity v quantum mechanics

Discrete event-driven systems (DEDS)

Continuous System Dynamics

Converting discrete to continuous

Business architecture as per system theory

Business capabilities as social systems

EA in the system theory space

EA as applied system theory

Quality systems





Insights from description theory

The psychology of description

The philosophy of description

Principles for a controlled vocabulary

Data and reality – after Bill Kent

Mental models and how brains work

A schism in thinking about systems

Social entities v. social systems

Actors, roles and assignments

Holism and emergent properties



Chaos and non-linear behaviour



Idealisation in system theory

Abstraction from “the real machine”

Abstraction in the eternal golden braid

Abstraction varieties and typology

Abstraction in TOGAF and Zachman

More about systems


The elements of systems

Primacy of external and behavioural views

Terms and concepts in system description

The anatomy of the reference model

Formalising system description

System theory dictionary and ontology

Architects, descriptions and systems

Architectural descriptions of systems

EA as multi-level architecture description

The practical terminology challenge

Architecture after TOGAF, Zachman etc






System theory and thinking references

Laszlo and Krippner quotes & references

Philosophical dichotomies

Summary and references

ISO 42010 in a nutshell

What ISO 42010 means

ISO change proposal

System state: entities and identities

Homeostasis and control

Hierarchies and lattices.

Enterprise state data

Modelling madness.

Functionality  and  Logicality

Granularity  and  Modularity

Composition  and  Generalisation

Systems as abstractions

UML types and instances

Modelling the passage of time


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