The Design of Intellectual Movements -- Stuart Umpleby, August 5, 2002

46th Annual Meeting of the International Society for the Systems Sciences (ISSS), Shanghai, P.R. China, August 2-6, 2002.

Monday, August 5, 2002, 1:50 p.m., Human Systems Inquiry Track

This digest was created in real-time during the meeting, based on the speaker's presentation(s) and comments from the audience. These should not be viewed as official transcripts of the meeting, but only as an interpretation by a single individual. Lapses, grammatical errors, and typing mistakes may not have been corrected. Questions about content should be directed to the originator. These notes have been contributed by David Ing ( at the IBM Advanced Business Institute ( ).

George Washington U.

Studied at U. of I with von Foerster, and Ross Ashby was there.

Ideas weren't catching on in U.S.A., but did in Europe.

Early cybernetics, first order -- observed systems

Three types:

First: engineering picture of reality, a realist view of epistemology

Second: how the brain functions, constructivism

Third: cognition

1. how the world works; 2. how an individual constructs reality; 3. how people create and maintain social systems through language and ideas.

Design of intellectual movements, to transform a society.

Intellectual movement within a university (e.g. monetarism), as compared to a social reform movement (e.g. welfare)

A comparison of two intellectual movements:

So, how to create an intellectual movement?

When given a word association test: Americans work downwards in the specifics, Europeans move up to the abstract larger categories.


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