The peculiar angle under which an observer focuses his or her attention on a complex situation or system.
R. ESPEJO stresses that "Complexity, as opposed to variety, is something that results from the interaction of the viewpoint with the situation. Complexity is in the eye of the beholder" (1988, p. 140).
Variety itself, is intrinsic and, save in very simple theoretical examples, never completely observable, because it becomes readily gigantic. St. BEER observed that 7 elements could have 2 possible patterns of interaction in time.
Much reduced descriptive models of complexity are extracted from potential or real variety by specific ways of observing systems. Moreover, descriptions by different observers may not coincide… and generally do not.
Even the same observer may very well describe a system or situation in different ways, according to his or her interest at the moment.
Moreover, any personal description is generally biased, even unknowingly, by the observer.
Better descriptions are in principle made by groups of observers from different viewpoints, and still more so if they use reasoned criteria and seek consensus.
It should also be taken in account that persona or shared viewpoints do not remain permanent in time, being influenced by learning, experience, debate, etc…
Stressing the importance of viewpoints will help systemists to avoid becoming doctrinaires liable to theoretical abuse.
- 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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