System theory for architects


“The most important work on EA and applied System Theory today.” 

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“I just want to tell you how much I appreciate your musings on systems  exceptionally useful”.


<create and use>           <symbolise>

Describers <observe & envisage> Realities

Blurb     Preface     Comments     Tutorial in London Saturday March 2nd 2019

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1 Thinkers before systems thinking  

2 System thinkers & their ideas 

3 System thinking approaches

4 Complex adaptive systems?

5 Social networks versus systems

6 System stability and change 

7 The science of system theory

8 The philosophy of system theory

9 Systems thinking: science or poetry?


Idealisation in system theory

Abstraction from “the real machine”

Abstraction in the eternal golden braid

Abstraction varieties and typology

System theory terminology - draft

System theory ontology – draft


More references  

Types and sets references  

Laszlo and Krippner references





10 Cybernetics

11 System Dynamics


Ashby’s ideas

Beer’s ideas

Ashby on cybernetics

Information feedback loops

System Dynamics

Relativity v quantum mechanics

Discrete event-driven systems (DEDS)

Continuous System Dynamics

Converting discrete to continuous




12 General system theory

 More obscure system properties

More about systems

Older GST musing

General system theory

System properties

More system ideas

Holism and emergent properties


The primacy of behavior

Determinism and hysteresis  



Hierarchical (v network) organisation

Chaos and non-linear behaviour

Predictability and probability


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 state: entities and identities

Homeostasis and control

Hierarchies and lattices.

ISO 42010 in a nutshell

What ISO 42010 means

ISO change proposal



13 Soft systems thinking

Challenging systems thinkers

System and people types

The schism

Soft systems thinking

Boulding’s view of systems

Snowden’s Cynefin framework  

Bausch’s view of systems thinking

Marx and Engels ideas

Maturana’s ideas

Luhmann’s ideas

Ackoff’s ideas

More sociological perspectives

Ackoff’s system classes

System types

People types

The schism in systems thinking

EA, GST and social system thinking

Social entities v. social systems

Actors, roles and assignments



14 Enterprises as systems

Business system models

More musings

Older musings

Enterprises as systems

Premises of EA and TOGAF

EA as applied system theory

EA as applied systems thinking

EA and philosophy

Abstraction in TOGAF and Zachman

Business system modelling premises

Business architecture as systems

Business capabilities as social systems

EA in the system theory space

EA as applied system theory

Quality systems  Error! Bookmark not defined.

Architects, descriptions and systems

Architectural descriptions of systems

EA as multi-level architecture description

The practical terminology challenge

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


and Reality

15 Description theory


More musing

Older type theory musings

Description theory




Language, logic and data

Fuzzy types and fuzzy instantiation

Mental models and how brains work

The magic number seven

Other information theories

Taxonomies and ontologies

The evolution of description

Insights from description theory

The psychology of description

The philosophy of description

Principles for a controlled vocabulary

Data and reality – after Bill Kent

The evolution of types

Set and type theory

Types in different disciplines

How things instantiate types

Types and instances

Types and meta types

Types and instances – analysis


16 Philosophy

Philosophical musings

More philosophical musings

The philosophy of systems

System philosophy

Types and tokens

Other triangular philosophies.

Knowledge and truth

Realism or Idealism?

The problem of universals

Description and reality

The 9 propositions of scientific idealism

Insights from the idealism triangle

System theory as scientific idealism

Philosophical position statement 

Existence in space and time

Ontology and phenomenology

Logical positivism (Wittgenstein)

About life

Relevance of the above to EA


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