System theory for enterprise architects


Scientific idealism

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Description and reality

General system theory

“Systems thinking”

Enterprises as systems

2 Towards a theory of everything

3 Knowledge and truth

Mental models and how brains work

The magic number seven

4 Origins of systems thinking

5 Ashby’s ideas

6 Introducing system theory

7 A systems thinking glossary

8 Introducing early system thinkers

9 Systems thinking approaches

10 From science to scientism

11 Premises of EA and TOGAF

12 EA as applied system theory 

13 EA as applied systems thinking

Information and description

General system principles and properties

Challenging systems thinkers

Business system models

An information theory - part 1

An information theory - part 2

Other information theories


The evolution of description

The evolution of types

Taxonomies and ontologies

GST principles

Introducing system properties

Holism and emergent properties


Information feedback loops

The primacy of behaviour

Determinism and hysteresis

Ashby on cybernetics

Marxism, system theory and EA

Boulding’s ideas

Ackoff’s ideas

Beer’s ideas

Maturana’s ideas

Luhmann’s ideas

Complex adapttve systems?   

Bausch’s idea of consensus in system theory

Business system modelling premises

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  Error! Bookmark not defined.

Scientific idealism

Questionable system properties

The schism

Business capabilities

The problem of universals

Description and reality (a reader asks)

A philosophy for system theory

The 9 propositions of scientific idealism

Insights from the idealism triangle

System description as scientific idealism



Hierarchical (v network) organisation

Chaos and non-linear behaviour

Predictability and probabilty


The schism in systems thinking

EA, GST and social system thinking

Social entities v. social systems

Actors, roles and assignments

Business architecture as per system theory

Business capabilities as social systems

EA in the system theory space

EA as applied system theory

Quality systems

More philosophical musing

Discrete v. continuous systems

System/problem classifications


Philosophical position statement 

Existence in space and time

Ontology and phenomenology

Logical positivism (Wittgenstein)

About life

Relevance of the above to EA

Relativity v quantum mechanics

Discrete event-driven systems (DEDS)

Continuous System Dynamics

Converting discrete to continuous

Introducing system classifications

Ackoff’s system classes

Snowden’s Cynefin framework

People classes

Idealisation in system theory

Abstraction from “the real machine”

Abstraction in the eternal golden braid

Abstraction varieties and typology

Abstraction in TOGAF and Zachman

Type theory

More about systems


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

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


Other / older


Other / older

Insights from description theory

The psychology of description

The philosophy of description

Principles for a controlled vocabulary

Data and reality – after Bill Kent

System state: entities and identities

Homeostasis and control

Hierarchies and lattices.

Enterprise state data

Modelling madness.

ISO 42010 in a nutshell

What ISO 42010 means

ISO change proposal

System theory and thinking references

Types and sets  references

Laszlo and Krippner quotes & references

Philosophical dichotomies

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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