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The history of "general system theory" is investigated in order to clarify its meanings, vocations, foundations and achievements. It is characterized as the project of a science of the systemic interpretation of the "real", renamed here "general systemology". The contexts and modes of its elaboration, publication and implementation are discussed. The paper mostly focuses on the works of its instigator: Ludwig von Bertalanffy. However, general systemology was a collective project: the main contributions of other "systemologists", from the 1950s until the 1970s, are hence also considered. Its solidarity with the history of the Society for General Systems Research is notably discussed. A reconstruction of the systemological hermeneutics is undertaken on this basis. It finds out the potential systematic unity underlying the diversity of the contributions to this both scientific and philosophical project. Light is thus shed on the actual scope of von Bertalanffys works. © 2013 Taylor & Francis.

Qi Z.,Georgia Institute of Technology | Yu G.P.,Georgia Institute of Technology | Tretter F.,Bertalanffy Center for the Study of Systems Science | Pogarell O.,Institute for Psychiatry | And 2 more authors.
Biochimica et Biophysica Acta - General Subjects | Year: 2016

Background: The life of schizophrenia patients is severely affected by deficits in working memory. In various brain regions, the reciprocal interactions between excitatory glutamatergic neurons and inhibitory GABAergic neurons are crucial. Other neurotransmitters, in particular dopamine, serotonin, acetylcholine, and norepinephrine, modulate the local balance between glutamate and GABA and therefore regulate the function of brain regions. Persistent alterations in the balances between the neurotransmitters can result in working memory deficits. Methods: Here we present a heuristic computational model that accounts for interactions among neurotransmitters across various brain regions. The model is based on the concept of a neurochemical interaction matrix at the biochemical level and combines this matrix with a mobile model representing physiological dynamic balances among neurotransmitter systems associated with working memory. Results: The comparison of clinical and simulation results demonstrates that the model output is qualitatively very consistent with the available data. In addition, the model captured how perturbations migrated through different neurotransmitters and brain regions. Results showed that chronic administration of ketamine can cause a variety of imbalances, and application of an antagonist of the D2 receptor in PFC can also induce imbalances but in a very different manner. Conclusions: The heuristic computational model permits a variety of assessments of genetic, biochemical, and pharmacological perturbations and serves as an intuitive tool for explaining clinical and biological observations. General significance: The heuristic model is more intuitive than biophysically detailed models. It can serve as an important tool for interdisciplinary communication and even for psychiatric education of patients and relatives. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled "System Genetics" Guest Editor: Dr. Yudong Cai and Dr. Tao Huang. © 2016 Elsevier B.V.

Pouvreau D.,Bertalanffy Center for the Study of Systems Science
Kybernetes | Year: 2013

Purpose: The paper aims to present the main perspectives and conclusions of a doctoral research in the history and philosophy of science conducted in France and Austria by the author on the project of "general systemology" (or "general system theory") instigated by Ludwig von Bertalanffy. Design/methodology/approach: A genealogical enquiry accounts for its scientific, philosophical and more generally cultural origins. Its genesis in Bertalanffy's works between 1926 and 1944 is explained. The process that led it to become a collective project is then discussed: the history of the Society for General Systems Research is considered, the ambivalence of its role with regard to general systemology being demonstrated. Finally, the unity of the diverse contributions to the latter's development is asserted in a framework put forward by the author in order to account for its structure and functions. Findings: While stating a comprehensive view of its history, the paper characterizes general systemology as the project of a general science of systemic interpretation of the "real" which remains topical, although it was never fully actualized. Originality/value: A new insight is thus provided on the scope and meaning of this hermeneutics: it meets the contemporary need for a better understanding of the foundations of systems research. © Emerald Group Publishing Limited.

Drack M.,University of Vienna | Drack M.,Bertalanffy Center for the Study of Systems Science
Journal of Experimental Zoology Part B: Molecular and Developmental Evolution | Year: 2015

Ludwig von Bertalanffy was a key figure in the advancement of theoretical biology. His early considerations already led him to recognize the necessity of considering the organism as a system, as an organization of parts and processes. He termed the resulting research program organismic biology, which he extended to all basic questions of biology and almost all areas of biology, hence also to the theory of evolution. This article begins by outlining the rather unknown (because often written in German) research of Bertalanffy in the field of theoretical biology. The basics of the organismic approach are then described. This is followed by Bertalanffy's considerations on the theory of evolution, in which he used methods from theoretical biology and then introduced his own, organismic, view on evolution, leading to the demand for finding laws of evolution. © 2015 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

Drack M.,University of Vienna | Drack M.,Bertalanffy Center for the Study of Systems Science | Pouvreau D.,Bertalanffy Center for the Study of Systems Science | Pouvreau D.,University of Toulouse II - Le Mirail
International Journal of General Systems | Year: 2015

Bertalanffys so-called "general system theory" (GST) and cybernetics were and are often confused: this calls for clarification. In this article, Bertalanffys conceptions and ideas are compared with those developed in cybernetics in order to investigate the differences and convergences. Bertalanffy was concerned with first order cybernetics. Nonetheless, his perspectivist epistemology is also relevant with regard to developments in second order cybernetics, and the latter is therefore also considered to some extent. W. Ross Ashbys important role as mediator between GST and cybernetics is analysed. The respective basic epistemological approaches, scientific approaches and inherent world views are discussed. We underline the complementarity of cybernetic and "organismic" trends in systems research within the unitary hermeneutical framework of "general systemology". © 2015 Taylor & Francis.

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