International Encyclopedia of Systems and Cybernetics

2nd Edition, as published by Charles François 2004 Presented by the Bertalanffy Center for the Study of Systems Science Vienna for public access.


The International Encyclopedia of Systems and Cybernetics was first edited and published by the system scientist Charles François in 1997. The online version that is provided here was based on the 2nd edition in 2004. It was uploaded and gifted to the center by ASC president Michael Lissack in 2019; the BCSSS purchased the rights for the re-publication of this volume in 200?. In 2018, the original editor expressed his wish to pass on the stewardship over the maintenance and further development of the encyclopedia to the Bertalanffy Center. In the future, the BCSSS seeks to further develop the encyclopedia by open collaboration within the systems sciences. Until the center has found and been able to implement an adequate technical solution for this, the static website is made accessible for the benefit of public scholarship and education.


SYNTHESIS (Systemic methodologies of) 1)

The achievement of a satisfying global vision of a system involves a difficult methodological problem: Synthesis. In spite of its importance it did not worry too many systemists up till now, except J.L.LE MOIGNE ("Theorie du système général", 1990a) and R. RODRIGUEZ DELGADO (1993b) This last author distinguishes the following different ways toward synthesis:

"-Structural synthesis: Once structures have been analyzed and well known they should allow for a global and renewed representation of the system.

"-Functional synthesis: the same structures may lead to various functional distributions, which should be optimized. Synthesis and generalization methods allow for the global study of functions and the shaping of functional models which will permit to select some convenient ones.

"-Relational synthesis: synthesis and generalization methods also may be used for the shaping of models of the systems internal and external relations and of criteria allowing for the best adapted choices respect to the problem or the situation as it is.

"-Historical synthesis : historical synthesis studies allow for a global view of the system development in time and for predictions which would not be possible by other techniques.

"-Interdisciplinary synthesis: which takes place when two or more disciplines formerly isolated become united as for example: Physico-Chemistry, Biochemistry, Sociocybernetics, or Ecology.

"-Prospective synthesis: by use of feed-forward techniques it becomes possible to better short-term predictability and to establish probable medium and long term scenarios.

"Synthesis techniques vary widely according to the class of systems to which they are applied" (1993b, p.293-4).

One may also think that the various synthesis methodologies are in every case depending on specific systemic concepts.

For example:

- Structural and functional synthesis should be grounded on a common taxonomy of subsystems (MILLER, 1978) and on the concept of synchronic-diachronic structure.

- Relational synthesis should use interconnections graphs and anew the taxonomy of subsystems, as well as the concept of interface.

- Historical synthesis does not seem yet to have found its own systemic and cybernetical models. The concept of limit cycle and those of morphogenesis, steady state and ageing would probably be useful.

- Interdisciplinary synthesis involves finding new objects for research which could be modelized as complex systems as for example cyclical catalytic reactions, synaptic connections in neural networks, autopoietic organizations or biotopes.

- Prospective synthesis depends upon skilled use of the concepts of bifurcation, catastrophe, and combined cyclical rhythms, among others.


  • 1) General information
  • 2) Methodology or model
  • 3) Epistemology, ontology and semantics
  • 4) Human sciences
  • 5) Discipline oriented


Bertalanffy Center for the Study of Systems Science(2020).

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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