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[Xmca-l] Re: Systems views [leontievactivity]

On 21 August 2013 11:35, Christine Schweighart <schweighartc@gmail.com>wrote:

> Thanks for this.  I am a little confused and curious.  In what way are
> functional approaches not a part of these systems?
> The way systems ideas are used doesn't assume causal relations, so in
> the spirit of 'bracketing'  and exploring 'direct appearance' in
> dialogue- using systems notions as means of getting to focus in an
> understood sense through an indirect 'mediational frame' ( I'm
> borrowing this from this community's use of the concept of
> dual-stimulation). However as this is in dialogue any 'function' of
> use of systems concepts is formed within not a priori.

Ok.  Functional views as "a priori projections" is to use them a narrow
non-genetic manner.

>From your description it sounds like general systems heuristics are being
used to look at the phenomena in a tentative way.

Thanks for clarifying.


> The relation with reality is explored, systems ideas do not function
> as 'ideal types', nor is action envisaged as 'realising the concept of
> system as represented in modelling' Various notions of system can be
> useeful in such dialogue, the motive is to gain systemic understanding
> of relations within practices '.
> Peter Checkland and Ray Ison work in this way.
>  Luria (1963, p.35) provides a good working definition in line with how
> tend
> to think about them in this work:
> “The view has often been expressed in the literature that the term
> “function” implies two totally different concepts. On the one hand it may
> denote the direct and manifest activity of a tissue (the secretory
> functions of the glands, the contractile function of muscle, and so on); in
> this sense the “function” naturally is characteristic of and inseparable
> from the particular tissue; the tissue cannot change its function nor take
> on a new one.
> Perhaps this could be refined with Maturana's notion of 'structure'
> within an organism, but he and Varela used this at the same time as
> the held the notion of 'Organisation' in autopoieisis - where
> 'organisation (unobservable) prescribes the  limits of change possible
> in structure' ( before entropy ,death etc) However they studied the
> nervous system, Varela went on to be concerned about 'energy' , but as
> yet there  is little understanding of how endocrine systems regulate
> 'functions'. So neuroscience is not the relevant source, but study of
> substrates and enzymes.   In relation to changing their environment
> organism 'parts' do change function when interpreted through
> endocrinal action.
> The significant difference is the concept of 'structural-coupling --
> rather than a notion that organisms only adapt to given environment
> conditions ( and the simplistic notion of evolution this entails).
>  On the other hand the term “function” may have a completely different
> meaning when we speak of “functions” as the basic form of adaption of the
> living organism to its environment and the principal manifestations of its
> vital activity.
> Organisms as 'self-producing - living-  are not in this kind of
> relation, but this is a systemic unity.
> Expressions such as the “respiratory functions”, the
> “digestive function”
>  Well, these are ways of considering a systemic unity as a composite
> unity - and these are not separate functions  they are in dynamic
> relation.
>  or the complex “locomotor functions” and, finally, the
> still more complex “psychological functions” (speech, writing, and so on)
> have a quite different meaning. We are concerned here with complex adaptive
> activity (biological at some stages of development and socio-historical at
> others),
> Aren't they always inevitably inter-twined ?
>  satisfying a particular demand and playing a particular role in
> the vital activity of the animal.
> If we say 'the animal' have we included all those 'complex'
> socio-historical aspects still? So we don't have 'the animal' as unit
> of analysis now.
>   A complex adaptive “function” such as
> this will usually be executed by a group of structural units
> [??]
> and, as
> Anokhin (1947) showed, these will be integrated into a “functional system.”
> The parts of this system may be scattered over a wide area of the body and
> united only in the execution of their common task (for example, respiration
> or locomotion). Between these parts there is a pliable yet strong temporary
> connexion, uniting them into one system and synchronizing their activity.
> This “functional system” works as a complete entity, organizing the flow of
> excitation and co-ordinating the activity of individual organs.”
>  Best,
> Huw
>  . .
> Where would you see Bateson's boundary - not 'the skin'?
> The kind of work T. Parson's did was labelled 'functionalist', but he
> didn't acccept that label. It was 'evolutionary' in this way of
> regarding humanity as a totality. There was a rebound against / after
> Parsons, and the 'interpretive' stance that became influential in
> Systems research after that emerged shaped 'in contrast to'
> 'functionalist'  causal assumptions. ( And cybernetic, second order
> cybernetic strands also co-exist still). So It difficult to locate
> 'function'  from Luria's  quote . Anohkin's quote hints at Maturana
> and Varela's  'Organisation', yet their conclusions are drawn from
> neural laboratory work and study ofcognition. This isn't life-science
> grounded to explain such relations within cultural lifeworlds. The
> temporal seems to frame singular co-ordinations, but doesn't provide a
> basis for relations in practices, with contradictory motives .
> Vasilyuk's work suggests an aesthetic work in that ( earlier in the
> Leontiev thread Andy situates it).
>  Christine