January 20 is the thirty-second meeting for Systems Thinking Ontario. The registration is on Eventbrite.

Systems Thinking and Sweeping-in Processes

Systems thinking is based on a premise of open systems.  This means that systems interact not only with the parts defined inside a boundary specified, but also with things in the environment outside the boundary.  One process is described by C. West Churchman in his reading of Edgar A. Singer:

... a Singerian inquiring system must encompass the whole breadth of inquiry in its attempt to authorize and control its procedures.

Singer describes one such process, which he labels a "sweeping-in" operation.  [....]  Singer's method follows a traditional one of starting with logic and noting the dimensions added by each science in turn.  Thus, arithmetic adds the number and numerical laws; geometry adds point, line, plane, etc., and the laws of space; kinematics adds time and pure kinematical laws; mechanics adds mass and mechanical laws; physics adds groups and fields and statistical laws ("randomness"); biology adds function, organism and purpose, and teleological laws; psychology adds mind and psychic laws; sociology adds groups of minds and group laws; ethics adds ultimate purpose and moral laws.

The sweeping-in process consists of bringing in concepts and variables of this catalogue into the model to overcome inconsistencies of readings.

  • C. West Churchman. 1971. The Design of Inquiring Systems: Basic Concepts of Systems and Organization. Basic Books, pp. 196-197.

What new science (or ideas) should we bring into our discussions at Systems Thinking Ontario in 2016?


Suggested pre-reading: 

The first Systems Thinking Ontario session was on "The Meta-design of Dialogues as Inquiring Systems".  We'll revisit that.

In February, there's a "Systems Thinking 2" course at Aalto University with eight research reference clusters that may be interesting.

Participants should not feel limited to this suggested pre-reading, but should recognize that other attendees may have not read, or are reading differently, that content.


Time Activity Role(s)
6:15 Self-introductions (15 seconds each)
  • Who am I?
  • Which affiliations do I have that might be relevant to systems thinking?
  • How did I come to systems thinking?
Convenor:  Tim Lloyd
6:30 Discussion (with pre-readings as an entry point)
  • What new science (or ideas) should we bring into our discussions at Systems Thinking Ontario in 2016? 
Presenter: David Ing
Observer(s):  TBD
7:45 Double loop learning: Revisions in meeting format? Suggestions welcomed
8:00 Adjourn
  • Walk to Baldwin Street (north on McCaul Street, 0.5 km, (the pattern has been for Hana Korea, which is quiet enough to talk)
  • Continue discussion over dinner and/or drinks.
No host

Post-meeting artifacts

Bloggers are encouraged to write about their learning and experiences at the meeting. Links will be added to this page.