K. BOULDING stated clearly the necessary relation between the "specific"and the "general": "somewhere between the specific that has no meaning and the general that has no content there must be, for each purpose and each level of abstraction an optimum degree of generality".
Already in 1922, A. BOGDANOV wrote: "No specialist can live completely and solely within his speciality; as a result of contact with other people his knowledge and experience inevitably go beyond its boundaries" (1980, p.17).
However, still now very severe misunderstandings do exist between specialists and so-called "generalists".
Many systemists view specialists as narrow-minded professionals, unable to get out of their own limited field, to understand specialists in other areas and to collaborate usefully in so-called "multi-, or interdisciplinary" groups to search for satisfactory solutions for complex issues or global design.
Conversely, many specialists view systemists as inconsistent Jacks of all trades, meddling uselessly with subjects about which they lack real understanding, or even sufficient knowledge.
Such a controversy seems senseless.
In our days, nobody can be useful if not specially trained and competent in some limited field. Any good systemist must also be a good specialist in some specific field.
However, any responsible specialist may not anymore limit her/himself to the search of some unilateral and narrow solution to some fragment of a problem, risking to create more problems in the process.
The true responsibility of systemists is to create a (transdisciplinary) meta-language of concepts, methods and models, directed to the general understanding of interconnections between fields, and to discuss this meta-language with the more open-minded specialists, in order to make it more complete and useful.
Conversely the true responsibility of specialists is to abandon the "that is not my matter" attitude, in front of some out of their field consequence of their work, and to accept the dialogue (or "multilogue"!) with the systemists, eventually correcting some oversimplifications or unsatisfactory pseudo-general concepts, models or methods.
- 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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