Systems Dialectics: The Development of A New World View -- WU Jie, August 3, 2002
46th Annual Meeting of the International Society for the Systems Sciences (ISSS), Shanghai, P.R. China, August 2-6, 2002.
Saturday, August 3, 2002, 9:10 a.m.
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Change in sequence of speakers, due to technical issues.
Introduction by Professor Michael C. JACKSON
Book on System Dialectics in the package.
Professor WU Jie
Note: This talk was conducted with simultaneous translation by two interpreters (to varying degrees of success!)
Topic today is Systems Dialectics: The Development of a New World View
This thought was developed years ago, and elaborated in some books that Wu wrote.
Only have 30 minutes
Will give a very short briefing
Have also provided 3 dissertations on systems dialectics: solving 3 problems.
1. The development of China
Had a traditional approach.
Need to use to some more recent theory.
In volume 3 and 4 on capital by Marx, he presented some ideas, relevant 150 years ago.
Labour as a multi-value system
In China, thought only physical labour led to value.
We applied a simple dualistic approach.
We should study a more systemic view of labour and value.
The simple dualistic approach can't solve all of the problems in the reform of China.
Karl Marx contributed some ideas on systems.
Bertalanffy and Laszlo and other system scientists have come to appreciate Marx's theories.
Bertalanffy thought systems dialectics similar
Laszlo thought similar to systems philosophy.
Angyos has mentioned the issue of one and many.
Marx also mentioned the unity and plurality.
Lenin mentioned the linkage between relative and absolute.
Chairman Mao ...
Chairman Deng Xiao Peng thinks we should study systems systemically, as studying a piano.
It is unfortunate that in the 50 years of socialist constructions, system principles weren't used.
We should now use these ideas in the future.
2. Since formation of the PR China, used construction with Cultural Revolution, Great Leap Forward, etc., weren't applicable to China.
Today, we only tackle a single problem, and not the whole.
e.g. debt and stock market, approached only in a singular way, without success.
Growing disparity between the west and east was also due to not using a systematic and holistic approach.
We still lack the correct systematic thinking and systematic philosophy proposed by Marx and Lenin.
Have some success stories: development of atom bomb, cable tv, development of Three Gorges project
These used the systematic approach.
If we still apply the traditional means from the Cultural Revolution, we won't be able to catch up to the western world.
Zheng Zemin says the theoretical development should be in advance of practical development.
We should emancipate our minds.
Can we really apply the systematic thinking of Marxism to the practical work day to day?
In the last 20 minutes, the major topic for this meeting.
3. System dialectics and the dialectics of materialism.
The new development of philosophy and systems thinking
Need to make it more relevant to today's systems thinking, and towards economic integration.
Represents the fundamental rules of development.
Thinking of 400 years ago has been outdated.
Descartes, thinking, has been proven by China to not apply to current society.
Descartes' analysis and thinking has come with some followers, e.g. Adam Smith and other economists and philosophers.
Since the 1920s, Descartes thinking is not applicable.
Thus the theme for the conference is new ideas, new thinking, for the new century
Today, would like to share some systems issues.
1. Relationship between systems dialects and dialectic materialism.
2. Systems philosophy
3. Systems philosophy and dialectical philosophy.
4. Development, and China's economic reform
Today, will focus on a few fundamental laws.
1. Law of over-optimization.
b. The whole is the bigger than the summation of the pa
d. General applicability
Story: Three monks who don't have water to drink
2. The law of structural change
Quality change and quantity change.
3. Differences in structure
Law of level transformation
e.g. Chinese characters for water, different for fire.
If the structure of symbols is different, then have totally different meanings.
We need to pay attention to the structural differences of matter.
(4?) Sequence will also distinguish system dialectics from material dialectics
e.g. one minister, and 3 vice-ministers -- which will have better performance? Can change the sequence of people.
Known in last century, but not elevated to systems thinking.
Key to change will the change in structural thinking.
Third law: Level transformation.
Also transformation law in transformation.
Fourth law of systems dialectics: differences and synergy.
Differences in systems, need contradictions.
Differences between systems thinking and contradiction thinking.
Contradiction thinking is different in solving problems.
System thinking is focused on structure, functions and external environment, and exchanges between matter, energy and information
Contradiction thinking will focus on struggle; systems thinking on harmony.
Can we achieve a win-win situation with the western world.
Four fundamental laws, borrowing a quotation from a famous physicist and philosopher.
In history, we have had so many philosophers with an impact on society.
Successful philosophers have upgraded our understanding and society.
China has had 20 years of reform, and opening up.
Some failures as we have not adopted system thinking.
e.g. singlistic approaches to reform, through campaigns focused on parts of the system in the drive to modernization.
These partial solutions haven't come up with satisfactory performance.
e.g. partial interests, attempt to reform in single field, leaving many problems unresolved
A solution limited in one area has failed to solve these problems.
Famous Chinese physicist:
In the 21st century, need to study the system as a whole.
Micro analysis and macro analysis must be done together.
Economics need to combined microeconomics and macroeconomics.
This has failed to be mentioned by textbooks.
Wish you happy stay in Shanghai, and a successful meeting.
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