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The Systems View of the World (Advances in Systems Theory, Complexity & the Human Sciences) Paperback – 28 Feb 1996

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Product details

  • Paperback: 128 pages
  • Publisher: Hampton Press; 2nd Revised edition edition (28 Feb 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1572730536
  • ISBN-13: 978-1572730533
  • Product Dimensions: 1.3 x 15.9 x 23.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 657,655 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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UNTIL very recently, contemporary science was shaped by a mode of thinking which placed rigorous detailed knowledge above all other considerations. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

By A reader on 22 Mar 2011
Format: Paperback
Although the lack of mathematical foundations makes the concepts in this book rather vague, it is an interesting book to return to after having worked with system dynamics (differential equations) and automata theory. It is easy to read, and managed to create a philosophy out of engineering. Highly inspired.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 10 reviews
212 of 217 people found the following review helpful
Fundamental to understand modern science and philosophy 28 Aug 1997
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Systems thinking is more than another new field of scientific and philosophical research. It leads to a new world view, integrating the sciences of nature and man. It is a world view for our times, explaining some some of our most cherished successes and some of our most distressing problems, and showing ways to resume progress toward new achievements. Knowledge of systems thinking is a key to understand modern developments in areas such as physics, business management, ecology, politics, natural resources, etc.

Ervin Laszlo is one of the most important contributors to the development of systems science and philosophy. With "The Systems View of the World" he achieved a remarkably accurate condensation, in a hundred clearly written and pleasantly readable pages, of the fundamental ideas of systems thinking.

The book begins contrasting the systems view of the world, based on integration an understanding of relationships, with the atomistic view of the world, based on decomposition and understanding of parts. He proceeds presenting the concept of system, leading the reader through a series of distinctions and examples. It is interesting to remark that Laszlo does not present a definition of system, coherently with the idea that system is a basic, primitive concept.

Laszlo follows with the explanation of the systems view of nature, summarized in four propositions, which are developed and exemplified:
1. Natural systems are wholes with irreducible properties;
2. Natural systems maintain themselves in a changing environment;
3. Natural systems create themselves in response to self-creativity in other systems;
4. Natural systems are coordinating interfaces in nature's holarchy.

The book's final part deals wit the system's view of ourselves. To do this, Laszlo begins from our cosmic origins, proceeding to the appearance of matter, life, consciousness and finally culture. He emphasizes the importance of values and explains why even traditional values, in spite of their permanent character, must be reformulated to meet the requirements of our times. Laszlo shows how the systems view of the world has a place for freedom and differentiation in an integrated world. He finishes the book stressing the role of religion in human life and proposes that the systems view of the world may offer some openings for conciliation of science with the different religious traditions.
43 of 49 people found the following review helpful
Excellent explanation of systems theory! 3 Oct 2003
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
If you would like to learn about systems theory with minimal background knowledge, this is an excellent book! It shows how we are all inseperable parts of nature and that everything we do to everyone and everything else influences ourselves as well. It shows us how nature is organized into many levels of whole units. It eloquently shows how we are all parts of larger whole units made of smaller whole units. It is just a wonderful book that reminds us of our connection with the rest of the universe. If you are interested in systems theory, I also recommend another super-fascinating book called "The Ever-Transcending Spirit" by Toru Sato that discusses this in relation to human consciousness. It is also one of my favorites! I am sure you will feel that these books are well worth the money.
15 of 19 people found the following review helpful
Understanding Systems to Heighten Awareness 17 Aug 2006
By Maureen Startin - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Ervin Laszlo, one of the greatest minds contributing to systemic theory, has done an excellent job of introducing this construct which takes one "outside the box!" Opening the door to bring heightened awareness of Self and the universe, Laszlo presents systemic and holistic thinking in invitng simplicity, while facilitating the exploration of the same. The world which Laszlo opens to the reader is a world that can inspire visionary thinking, leading us to a more peaceful, understanding existence. I strongly recommend anyone to follow Laszlo into a world of holism, growth and new paths to a more peaceful world!
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Understanding What a Systems View is and Means 18 Jun 2011
By Jesuis Laplume - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I bought this early book by Ervin Laszlo since it preceeds his later writing about the Akashic Field. I have done system science for many decades (including the system design of the Canadarm on the US Space Shuttle) and yet learned many new concepts. No wonder Ervin was compelled to follow on and, thanks to that, identified the concept of a Field of Consclousness that is the source of all that is. He may have written later books that would compete for the honour but I think that this book should be the one used to introduce scientists of all types to what system science really means. With this well under one's belt we would all do better science.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Very philosophical 12 May 2011
By John K. McIlwain - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This was more about the philosophy of systems theory than how systems work and how to work with them, which is what I was looking for. So I skimmed it and found it thoughtful but far more abstract than what I was looking for (I guess I've done my philosophy for now!). And in many ways it was really about a philosophy of life, not just systems, and how we need to evolve our way of approaching life. But I already knew that and what he added was not all that new at least to me. It was helpful to understand that looking at life from a systems point of view is part of the evolution in our thinking that is going on and supports the new way of thinking holistically about ecology, politics, economics, religion, etc., etc. Of course this way of thinking holistically is simply rediscovering the interconnectedness of all beings and things that the Buddha taught and that is embedded in the ancient wisdoms of many native people who live close enough to life and nature to see this daily. We have come so far we need to rediscover it and relearn how to live in this way. For this perspective on systems theory I found the book worthwhile.
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