Systems Theory & Scientific Philosophy

The Birdman's magnum opus

Here is a description taken from the back cover:

SYSTEMS THEORY AND SCIENTIFIC PHILOSOPHY constitutes a totally new approach to philosophy, and is based on the pioneering work in cybernetics of W. Ross Ashby. Its purpose is to provide a scientific approach to the "big" questions of both personal and social philosophy. Part I is introductory; Part II treats the "mind-machine controversy" (Is the mind a machine?, Can a machine think?); and Part III deals with social philosophy. Highlights of Part I include a discussion of the relation of religious practices to systems theory, and the development of the faculty of luck. Highlights of Part II include a development of the theory of relative existence and its use in resolving the logical/semantic paradoxes, a systems analysis of pain and pleasure, identification of the problem of "positive pleasure", and a detailed development of the theory of Build-up- Release, the latter of which both encompasses and makes obsolete all previous theories of humor, eating, music, drug-taking, sexual activity and other pleasurable activities. Also, Part II includes an in-depth discussion of the free will-determinism problem and four special sub- problems, plus a chapter on the limitations of philosophical knowledge which concludes that differences in social philosophies often stem from different beliefs about certain unresolvable controversies. The major highlight of Part III is a statement and proof of the Fundamental Theorem of Utility Theory, a revolutionary accomplishment destined to have a major impact on philosophy not only because it unites egoistic and classical utility theory, but also because it resolves one of the most troublesome problems in modern philosophy, the Prisoner's Dilemma. Other highlights of Part III include discussion of the aggregation problem and voting, the Problem of Voting Motivation, the relation of systems theory and the sexual revolution, a systems analysis of gift-giving, the nature and evolution of money, the perpetuation of absurd value standards, the Trademark Paradox, the Paradox of Value, Gresham's Law for drugs, the close relation of socialism and Christianity, the fundamental import of the free will- determinism controversy to the capitalism-socialism dispute, and a discussion of the (previously-unidentified) single most important problem in modern education.



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