Systems Philosophy and Applications
Systems Philosophy and Applications*
Compiler: W. Huitt, Valdosta, GA
Last revised: December 2007
*All annotations are from Amazon.com
Citation: Huitt, W. (2007). Systems philosophy and
applications: A bibliography. Educational Psychology Interactive.
Valdosta, GA: Valdosta State University. Retrieved [date], from
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- Arshinov, V., & Fuchs, C. (Eds.). (2003). Causality, emergence, and
self-organization. Moscow. NIA-Priroda. Retrieved May 2007, from
- Axlerod, R. (1997). The
complexity of cooperation. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.
Robert Axelrod is widely known for his groundbreaking work in game theory and complexity
theory. He is a leader in applying computer modeling to social science problems. His book
The Evolution of Cooperation has been hailed as a seminal contribution and has
been translated into eight languages since its initial publication. The Complexity
of Cooperation is a sequel to that landmark book. It collects seven essays,
originally published in a broad range of journals, and adds an extensive new introduction
to the collection, along with new prefaces to each essay and a useful new appendix of
additional resources. Written in Axelrods acclaimed, accessible style, this
collection serves as an introductory text on complexity theory and computer modeling in
the social sciences and as an overview of the current state of the art in the field.
- Capra, F. (1988). The
turning point: Science, society, and the rising culture. New York: Bantam
- Capra, F. (1991). The
tao of physics: An exploration of the parallels between modern physics and eastern
mysticism. New York: Shambhala.
- Capra, F. (1996). The
web of life: A new scientific understanding of living systems. New York: Anchor Books.
During the past twenty-five years, scientists have challenged conventional views of
evolution and the organization of living systems and have developed new theories with
revolutionary philosophical and social implications. Fritjof Capra has been at the
forefront of this revolution. In The Web of Life, Capra offers a brilliant
synthesis of such recent scientific breakthroughs as the theory of complexity, Gaia
theory, chaos theory, and other explanations of the properties of organisms, social
systems, and ecosystems. Capras surprising findings stand in stark contrast to
accepted paradigms of mechanism and Darwinism and provide an extraordinary new foundation
for ecological policies that will allow us to build and sustain communities without
diminishing the opportunities for future generations.
- Gleick, J. (1988). Chaos:
Making a new science. New York: Penguin.
James Gleick explains the theories behind the fascinating new science called chaos.
Alongside relativity and quantum mechanics, it is being hailed as the twentieth
centurys third revolution.
- Goertzel, B. (1996). Unification of science and spirit: Hyperrealism.
Retrieved December 2007, from
- Holland, J., & Mimnaugh, H. (Ed.). (1996). Hidden
order: How adaptation builds complexity. New York: Perseus Press.
- Kauffman, S. (1996). At
home in the universe: The search for laws of self-organization and complexity. New
York: Oxford University Press.
According to MacArthur fellow Kauffman (Santa Fe Institute), "[T]he order of the
biological world...is not merely tinkered, but arises naturally and spontaneously because
of underlying principles of self- organization." These principles may be employed to
analyze all manner of highly-involved patterns, from molecular biology, the rise and fall
of corporations, to the intricate workings of government. Kauffman outlines the
characteristics and potential uses of complexity, simply delineating its meaning for the
future of scientific thought. For general readers.
- Kosko, B. (1993). Fuzzy
thinking: The new science of fuzzy logic. New York: Hyperion.
Fuzzy logic is a science and way of thinking which challenges ordinary mental habits and
provides a changing, flowing world view which challenges cut and dry mental processes.
Bart Kosko is a leader in the fuzzy logic way of thinking: his is an excellent and lively
presentation that is even more compelling in audio form.
- Laszlo, E. (1996). The
systems view of the world: A holistic vision for our time (Advances in systems theory,
complexity, and the human sciences). Cresskill, NJ: Hampton Press.
- Lewin, R. (2000). Complexity:
Life at the edge of chaos (2nd ed.). Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Complexity theory holds that at the root of all complex systems lie a few simple
rules that will yield a grand unification of the life sciences. Lewin personalizes a
dramatic story of scientific discovery that includes explorations by such diverse
scientists as Stephen Jay Gould, Edward O. Wilson, and James Lovelock.
- Peacocke, A. (1993). Theology
for a scientific age: Being and becoming-Natural, divine and human (Theology and the
Sciences). Minneapolis: Fortress Press.
- Savi, J. (1989). The
eternal quest for God: The divine philosophy of Abdul-Bahá. Oxford:
- Von Bertalanffy, L. (1976). General
system theory: Foundations, development, applications (Rev. ed.). George Braziller.
- Waldrop, M. M. (1992). Complexity:
The emerging science at the edge of order and chaos. New York: Simon & Schuster.
A look at the rebellious thinkers who are challenging old ideas with insights into ways
countless elements of complex systems interact to produce spontaneous order out of
confusion discusses politics, economics, and biology.
- Bronfenbrenner, U. (1981). The
ecology of human development: Experiments by nature and design. Cambridge, MA: Harvard
Briggs, J., Peat, F. D., & Peat, D. F. (1999). Seven
life lessons of chaos: Timeless wisdom from the science of change. New York:
Briggs and Peat, whose Turbulent Mirror (1990) is one of the best popular books on
the science of chaos (Briggs also wrote the lavish Fractals (1992) on chaos art),
now gives us a book that introduces the major ideas of chaos and shows how they can be
used metaphorically. For instance, sensitive dependence upon initial conditions, or the
butterfly effect, is the phenomenon of a tiny action, when amplified throughout a system,
having unexpectedly disproportionate effects. (It is called butterfly after the chaos
theory canard that a butterfly flapping its wings in China can cause a thunderstorm or
hurricane in New York.) Apply this to politics, say, and apparently small initiatives can
produce enormous changes. Briggs and Peat are careful to differentiate between scientific
fact and metaphor, unlike some popular but often inaccurate self-help writers. The
combination of factual exactitude and imaginative application makes this the best book on
- Buzan, B., Little, R. (2000). International
systems in world history: Remaking the study of international relations. New York:
Oxford University Press.
- Harman, W. (1988). Global
mind change: The promise of the 21st century. San Francisco: Berrett-Koehler
Global Mind Change startles us into reconsidering the role of consciousness in major areas
of human concern: science and education, spirituality and consciousness research, health
and healing, psychology and psychotherapy, economics and management. Revolutions are
generally thought of as large-scale, bloody upheavals involving whole countries and
societies. But there are quieter revolutions that begin in the individual mind and create
the kind of change that may be even more significant. By deliberately changing their
internal image of reality, people are transforming the world. Right now we are living
through one of the most fundamental shifts in history--a change in the actual belief
structure of Western industrial society.
- Hoekstra, T., & Allen, T. (1993). Toward
a unified ecology (Complexity in ecological systems series). New York: Columbia
The authors present a conceptual framework for a more coherent view of ecology, showing
how to link the various parts of ecology into a natural whole. Although abstract, the
analysis is anchored in practice, emphasizing examples of what ecologists do and why they
do it. For practicing and aspiring research ecologists and population biologists, as well
as those in the management of wildlife and forests.
- Lashley, T. II, & Matczynski, T. (1997). Strategies
for teaching in a diverse society: Instructional models. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth
This book focuses on a variety of ways to teach content material to students of all ages.
The teaching models are ones that entail both direct and indirect teacher control of the
learning material. In some cases teachers want students to construct their own schema, and
in other instances the teacher wants students to acquire content understandings in a
specific form...a form dictated by the teacher. This text shows teachers a variety of ways
to communicate content and includes lots of theoretical knowledge and practical examples.
- Lewin, R., & Regine, B. (2000). The
soul at work: Listen...respond...let go: Embracing complexity science for business success.
New York: Simon & Schuster.
The Soul at Work brings to businesspeople a new and powerful way of thinking about
and working in the new economy, one that draws on the new science of complexity, which
recognizes that business organizations are complex adaptive systems. The great
contribution of prize-winning author Roger Lewin and developmental psychologist Birute
Regine is to ground this science in organizational dynamics, in the interactions of
people, and to show how leaders who embrace the principles of complexity science are
developing highly innovative and adaptable organizations that are more likely to be
successful in traditional financial bottom-line terms. Most important, as the old
command-and-control style of management is relinquished in favor of a broader sharing of
leadership, people in these organizations experience a greater sense of commitment to
their work and to themselves in an atmosphere of genuine relationships and mutual respect.
The authors explain how these transforming ideas are creating a more human-oriented and
successful workplace, as revealed in the stories of a dozen actual companies of very
different types and sizes.
- Masterpasqua, F., & Perna, P. (Eds.). (1997). The
psychological meaning of chaos: Translating theory into practice. Washington, DC:
American Psychological Association.
The purpose of this book is to introduce mental health practitioners to the concepts of
nonlinear dynamic systems theory that have become so important in the natural and physical
sciences. In non-technical language, authors from various perspectives explain the meaning
of chaos, complexity and self-organization for psychological practice. All of the authors
share the belief that the perspective may well revolutionize the way we practice.
- Moen, P., Elder, G., Jr., & Luscher, K. (Eds.). Examining
lives in context: Perspectives on the ecology of human development (APA Science
Volumes). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.
Twenty-seven scholars discuss how the ecological theory and research of the
developmentalist Urie Bronfenbrenner (Cornell U.) led them to focus their own work on
problems crucial to "real life"--the rapidly changing world that often
challenges researchers to design inquiries in dramatically new ways. Intended for students
looking for an introduction to the theoretical approaches to ecological courses, and for
established scholars interested in multilevel approaches to human development. Presented
in five parts: the dynamics of individual development; historical and social time; the
multiple contexts of human development; the importance of process; and reflections and new
- Senge, P. (1990). The
fifth discipline: The art and practice of the learning organization. New York:
- Senge, P., & Kleiner, A. (Eds.)., Roberts, C., Ross, R., & Smith, B. (1994). The
fifth discipline fieldbook: Strategies and tools for building a learning organization.
New York: Currency/Doubleday.
- Senge, P., Kleiner, A. (Ed.)., Roberts, C., Roth, G., Ross, R., & Smith, B. (1994). The
dance of change: Mastering the twelve challenges to change in a learning organization.
New York: Doubleday.
- Wheatley, M. (1999). Leadership
and the new science: Discovering order in a chaotic world. San Francisco:
White, C. D. (1998). Making
a just peace: Human rights & domination systems. Nashville, TN: Abingdon Press.
When Margaret J. Wheatley's Leadership and the New Science was initially published
in 1992, it outlined an unquestionably unique but extremely challenging view of change,
leadership, and the structure of groups. Many readers immediately embraced its
cutting-edge perspective, but others just could not understand how the complicated
scientific tenets it described could be used to reshape institutions. Now Wheatley, an
organizational specialist who has since coauthored A Simpler Way,
updates the original by including additional material (such as an epilogue addressing her
personal experiences during the past decade) and reconstructing some of her more
challenging concepts. The result is a much clearer work that first explores the
implications of quantum physics on organizational practice, then investigates ways that
biology and chemistry affect living systems, and finally focuses on chaos theory, the
creation of a new order, and the manner that scientific principles affect leadership.
- Wilber, K. (1998). The
marriage of sense and soul: Integrating science and religion. New York: Shambhala.
The Marriage of Sense and Soul, a cognizant address of how to mend the rift between
science and religion,is further proof that Ken Wilber is one of the most knowledgeable and
clear-thinking individuals writing today. Like an experienced scout, Wilber has blazed a
careful trail through the dense history surrounding religion and science, from the basic
tenets of all religion and the foundations of science to the fundamental nature of our
postmodern society: the differentiation of art, morals, and science. It is this capacity
to differentiate that pits science and religion against one another, yet it ironically
proves to be the door to a reconciliation between the camps. Wilber proposes that, without
requiring drastic modification of the way either party perceives itself, science and
religion can coexist within a single framework, each playing a different role, yet married
in our quest to understand the universe. In the process, Wilber examines the work of many
of the pivotal scientific discoveries since the Enlightenment, as well as some of the most
influential thinkers of all time. Enough is here to perplex a tenured historian, yet his
course is so clearly charted that the reader comes away from The Marriage of Sense and
Soul not with confusion, but a feeling of completing a momentous and insightful
- Wilber, K. (2000). Integral
psychology: Conciousness, spirit, psychology, therapy. New York: Shambhala.
- Wolfe, R. W., & Gudorf, C. (Eds.). (1999). Ethics
and world religions: Cross-cultural case studies. Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books.
Provides case studies of ethical issues with commentary from representatives of world
- Zimmerman, B., Linderg, C., & Plsek, P. (1998). Edgeware:
Insights from complexity science for health care leaders. Irving, TX: VHA, Inc.
Complexity science reframes our view of many systems that are only partially understood
by traditional scientific methods. Systems as apparently diverse as stock markets, human
bodies, forest ecosystems, manufacturing businesses, immune systems, termite colonies and
hospitals seem to share some patterns of behavior. These patterns provide insights into
sustainability, viability, health and innovation. This book examines how leaders and
managers in health care organizations are beginning to use complexity science to discover
new ways of working.
- Bronfenbrenner, U. (1977). Toward an experimental ecology of human development.
Psychologist, 32, 513-530.
- Bronfenbrenner, U. (1989). Ecological systems theory. In R. Vasta (Ed.).
child development, vol. 6 (pp. 187-251). Greenwich, CT: JAI.
- Worlds of childhood: Nature and nurture of development. Part I. No. 23. (46
minutes). Part II. No. 24. (46 minutes).
These videos look at what has been learned from resent research on human development,
especially on the interaction of biology and environment as factors in development.
- Abraham, R. (1994). Chaos,
gaia, eros : A chaos pioneer uncovers the three great streams of history. San
Fransico: Harper San Francisco.
Chaos pioneer Ralph Abraham traces the history of consciousness through a rediscovery of
three driving forces, chaos, gaia, and eros--the mind, body, and spirit of evolution. With
startling originality and clarity of vision, Abraham employs photographs, timelines,
charts, and an engaging format to sweep the reader along on a wild ride through the whole
of history--blowing the doors off existing modes of thought.
- Arnoldi, M., Gearyh, C., & Hardin, K. (Eds.). (1996). African
material culture (African systems of thought). Bloomington, IN: Indiana University
Fourteen interdisciplinary essays examine African societies and cultures through the
examination of material objects and ceremonies representing African culture. This
college-level, scholarly collection will best appeal to any school with an African studies
program in place: chapters which consider technological style influences, identity
construction, and issues of changing interpretations of African objects and artifacts
provide in-depth analysis.
- Boulding, K. E. (1956). General systems theory--the skeleton of science.
Management Science, 2, 197-208. (Reprinted in E:CO, 6(1-2),
127-139. Retrieved April 2005, from
- Hutchingson, J. (1981). Organization and process: Systems philosophy and
Whiteheadian metaphysics. Process Studies, 11(4), 226-241. Retrieved
April 2005, from
- Klein, J. (2004). Interdisciplinarity and complexity: An evolving
relationship. E:CO, 6(1-2), 1-10. Retrieved April 2005, from
- Morgan, P. (1995). Reconceiving the
foundations of education: An ecological model. In F. Margonis (Ed.), Philosophy of
education (Yearbook). Urbana-Champaign, IL: Philosophy of Education Society.
- Pearce, W. B. (2002). Systems: Schools of thought and traditions of
practice. Redwood City, CA: Pearce Associates. Retrieved April 2005, from
- Pepper, S. C. (1926). Emergence. Journal of Philosophy, 23,
241-245. Retrieved January 2005, from
- Quantum Mechanics, Quantum Field Theory
- Choi, H. (2001). Knowledge of the unseen: A new vision for science and
religion dialogue. Perspectives on Science and Christian Faith, 53(2),
96-101. Retrieved August 2007, from
- McFarlane, T. (2000). Quantum physics, depth psychology, and beyond.
Eugene, OR: Center for Integral Science. Retrieved November 2007, from
- Sobottka, S. (2007, June). An interpretation of quantum theory according
to monistic idealism (Chapter 7). A course in consciousness.
Charlottesville, VA: University of Virginia. Retrieved August 2007, from
- Stenger, V. (2001, Spring). Humanity in time and space. Free
Inquiry, 21(2). Retrieved July 2007, from
- Process Philosophy
- Alexander, S. (1911). Foundations and sketch-plan
of a conational psychology. The British Journal of Psychology, IV.
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- Fleener, M. J., Smith, J., K., & Simpson, D. (2000). Philosophy and
teacher education: Paradox or paradigm? Association for Process Philosophy
in Education. Retrieved April 2005, from
- Frankenberry, N. (1983). The emergent paradigm and divine causation.
Process Studies, 13(3), 202-217. Retrieved December 1999, from
- Gershman, K. (1988). To and fro: Education for the art of life. Process
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- Rescher, N. (2002). Process philosophy. In E. Zalta (Ed.), The
Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Retrieved February 2005, from
- Riffert, F. (1999). Towards a process-psychology: Convergencies between
Whitehead and Piaget. Salzburger Beiträge zur Erziehungswissenschaft 2(2), 57-79.
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- Sherburne, D. (1991). The process perspective as context for educational
evaluation. Process Studies, 20(2), 78-85. Retrieved April 2005, from
- Whitehead's Philosophy
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- Fan, M. (2004). The idea of integrated education: From
the point of view of Whitehead’s philosophy of education. Paper presented
at the Forum for Integrated Education and Educational Reform sponsored by the
Council for Global Integrative Education, Santa Cruz, CA, October 28-30.
Retrieved December 2004, from
- Nobo, J. (1974). Whitehead's principle of process. Process Studies, 4(4),
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- Nobo, J. (1998). The approach to Whitehead: Traditional? Genetic? or
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- Rose, P. (1992). Whitehead and the dualism of mind and nature. Process
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Systems Theory and Education
- David, J. (1994, September). Realizing the promise
of technology: The need for systemic education reform. In: R. Anson (Ed.), Systemic
Reform: Perspectives on Personalizing Education. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of
Education, Office of Educational Research and Improvement.
- Fredriksen, J., & Collins, A. (1989). A systems approach to educational
testing. Educational Researcher, 18(9), 27-32.
- Goodman, G., and others. (1989). The systems approach: An
innovative model for improving the delivery of inservice training. International
Journal of Rehabilitation Research, 12(3), 261-270.
- Howard, J., & Terry, R. (1997). A systems approach and
instructional design principles: Two critical elements for effective WWW courseware
development. Paper delivered at the North American Web Conference, Fredericton, New
Brunswick, Canada, October 4-7.
- Seel, R. (2000). Culture and
complexity: New insights on organisational change. Organisations & People, 7(2).
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in technology and learning. Denver: School of Education, University of Colorado at
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