Any model is necessarily an observer's model. Only living systems construct models, as a device for survival and only humans construct very intricated models. G.A.& D. MIRHAM make the point: "Modelling is the very activity of Nature by which survival of Life on Earth is accomplished and assured" (1978, p.134).
R HARNDEN states:
"From the prospective of the observer a model might be described as operating in one of two distinct ways:
1) The model may be held to represent or convey a "objetive" state of affairs (e.g., as the model engine is held to "point at" a real locomotive or the model of DNA is sometimes described as reflecting the genetic code). As such, anyone model will be understood as true or false if "neutrally" conveying a picture of such "reality ".
2) The model might be described as enabling the orchestration of diverse viewpoints, in a process that brings forth some consensually accepted version of reality for a community of observers" (1990, p.291).
The consensual model does not negate the existence "out there" of "reality". It only states that this reality is "veiled" (to use B. d'ESPAGNAT's very apt term, 1985), because of our physiological limits to perceptions (sensorial and neurological), as observers.
We may admit its validity if we admit a sufficient convergence in our own personal ways to perceive and to obtain internal representations of some situation.
The "engine-type" model could be called hard, because consensus is so easy and generally stable (as it refers to man-made or quite common natural "objects"), that its existence is not even perceived.
The consensus model is a soft one, because it refers to complex situations whose observation produces easily ambiguous evaluations.
In any case "we communicate only through models" (G. BATESON). So is it also when we communicate, whatever we want to achieve.
- 1) General information
- 2) Methodology or model
- 3) Epistemology, ontology and semantics
- 4) Human sciences
- 5) Discipline oriented
To cite this page, please use the following information:
Bertalanffy Center for the Study of Systems Science (2020). Title of the entry. In Charles François (Ed.), International Encyclopedia of Systems and Cybernetics (2). Retrieved from www.systemspedia.org/[full/url]
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