Towards an Ontology of Problems

Advances in Systems Science and Applications 1:37-42 (1995)
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Abstract

Systems theory offers a language in which one might formulate a metaphysics (or more specifically an ontology) of problems. This proposal is based upon a conception of systems theory shared by vonBertalanffy, Wiener, Boulding, Rapoport, Ashby, Klir, and others,and expressed succinctly by Bunge, who considered game theory, information theory, feedback control theory, and the like to be attempts to construct an "exact and scientific metaphysics." Our prevailing conceptions of "problems" are concretized yet also fragmented, and in fact dissolved, by the standard reductionist model of science, which cannot provide a general framework for analysis. The idea of a "systems theory," however, suggests the possibility of an abstract and coherent account of the origin and essence of problems. Such an account would constitute a secular theodicy.

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Martin Zwick
Portland State University

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