RECURSION (level of) 1)4)
"A level at which a viable system is in operation, as an autonomous part of a higher-level viable system, and containing within itself parts which are themselves autonomous viable systems" (St. BEER, 1974, p.72).
This definition is applicable to all viable complex systems, including social systems. However, as BEER himself discovered and explained, the problem of modern governments (of any type), is that none has a satisfactory model of the real workings of the society it is supposed to "govern", i.e. regulate. This shows ignorance of the basic principle according to which: "No regulator can actually work unless it contains a model of whatever is to be regulated" (p.34).
The situation seems to be still worse than this: Governments and politicians apply recursion to their own beliefs, or imaginary model of the society to be governed. (See "governability"): Recursion on figments generates… meta figments.
In a more abstract sense, recursion produces basically "vertical" or hierarchic structures, that can be characterized by the prefix "meta", as in metasystem (van GIGCH), metacontrol (van GIGCH), metalanguage, metamodel (van GIGCH).
It is helpful in order to distinguish logical types or levels, avoid paradoxes and avoid confusion in organizations.
J.van GIGCH observes: "Levels of recursion do not necessarily carry implications concerning authority or ethics, i.e. higher levels of control do not have more authority or are better in the moral sense than lower ones" (1986 b, p.90).
- 1) General information
- 2) Methodology or model
- 3) Epistemology, ontology and semantics
- 4) Human sciences
- 5) Discipline oriented
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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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