Limitations of Systems Thinking LO26090

From: AM de Lange (
Date: 02/09/01

Replying to LO26084 --

Dear Organlearners,

Gavin Ritz <> writes:

>All models and theories have their limitations.
>I think those who develop and use them are
>aware of the limitations (well I hope so).
>Some of the answers lie in energy and entropy
>production and emergences issues. Who knows?

Greetings Gavin,

The fact that all models and theories have their limitations stems from
the essentiality of creativity called spareness "quantity-limit". Should
this essentiality be severely impaired in a model or theory, it would have
little value in any creative endeavour making use of it.

This is as a good place as any to stress once again the creative stroke
of a genius which Prigogine made early in his life. He realised that the
change /_\S(sy) in the entropy S(sy) of any system SY during any process
is too limited by its form to account for what goes on. So he changed its
form into
. /_\S(sy) = /_\(rev)S(sy) + /_\(irr)S(sy)
The term /_\(rev)S(sy) represents all the reversible exchange of entropy
between the system SY and its surroundings SU. It is a boundary
phenomenon. But the term /_\(iir)S(sy) represents all the irreversible
production of entropy deep inside the system SY self. The /_\(rev)S(sy)
can go up or down, but the /_\(irr)S(sy) can only go up. The limitations
of /_\(rev)S(sy) are very different to the limitations of /_\(irr)S(sy)

To those fellow learners still interested in tacit knowing. Many
thermodynamists (like Gibbs, Lewis, Duhem and Eddington) before Prigogine
had tacit knowing on irreversible thermodynamics, but none could
articulate it. The creative stroke of Prigogine described above made the
formalization of irreversible thermodynamics possible.

With care and best wishes


At de Lange <> Snailmail: A M de Lange Gold Fields Computer Centre Faculty of Science - University of Pretoria Pretoria 0001 - Rep of South Africa

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