#concept47 mentions

A system is a group of regularly interacting or interdependent items forming a coherent whole. It is defined by its Boundary, i.e. by what is and what is not part of it.

Each item that is part of a system can itself be understood as a system. This means that described abstractly, The world is a hierarchy of systems.

A system can be fully characterised by describing the evolution of its states. This means that ontologically, Systems live in state spaces.

Systems emerge due to constraints.

If they change over time, we call them Dynamical Systems.



An affordance is a relational property of both a System and its Environment.

An Attractor Defines a Stable System

Since the “states that will actually be observed in [a] System are the Attractors”Abraham & Shaw (1992), 13 , we can identify any system as we observe it with its attractors.

Attractor Landscape

An attractor landscape is an abstraction of the State Space of a System.


An attractor is the set of states a System tends to be in given what it is or how it can maintain its boundaries.

Behavioural Disposition

A behavioural disposition is a disposition of a System to behave in a certain way.

Causal Emergence

Causation happens between Systems demarcated by System Boundaries, horizontally as well as vertically.

Causal Structure

Causation consists in Constraints.

Concept Mapping

What Concept Mapping is a tool for collaborative Sensemaking.

Concepts Are Attractors

Because Concepts are compressed models, and Models are Systems themselves, Concepts are also systems.

Concepts Are Compressed Models

A Concept is an interface to expose and connect some Models’ salient features.


Constraints are relational properties components acquire in virtue of being embedded in a higher level SystemJuarrero (1998), 234 alterations in the probability distribution of a system’s State Spaceibid.

Dynamical System

A dynamical system is a System that changes over time.


The context of a System from which it is separated by a System Boundary.

Epistemic Colonialism

Epistemic colonialism is the use of Power to force a System of thought, often an Ideology, onto an area of thought and a population of thinkers that have every right to organise and be organised differently to deal adequately with their specific experiential context.

Every System Is a Model of Its Environment

For a System to have an Implicit Model means embodying “statistical regularities of its world in its physical and functional composition”Kirchhoff et al.

Everything Exists Because of What It Really Is

Nothing is the same.


Evolution is descent with modification, that is change in the heritable characteristics of populations of individuals over successive generations.

Explicit Model

An explicit Model is a consciously articulated, interpretive description of a target System that can be the object of the modelling system’s attention.


Feelings are expensive, but effective cognitive mechanisms to direct our Attention, experienced via Interoception as bodily sensations.

Implicit Model

An implicit Model is an evolved, embodied representation of a System’s Environment.


In its most common sense, innovation is the creation and introduction of new, redesigned, or substantially improved Products, processes or Systems.

Markov Blanket

If we want to Prioritise abstraction over metaphor, the concept of a System Boundary needs to be stripped of its metaphorical content.


As a first approximation, a meme is System behaviour that can be copied.

Missing System

A missing system is a hypothetical System described by a Model that doesn’t track real System Boundaries – a system that doesn’t exist (in the hypothesised boundaries).


A model is a simplified representation of a System.


Perception is the active sampling a System does of its Environment to validate its Model.


At its core, political or social power is a System’s ability to influence the behaviour of other systems.

Prioritise Abstraction Over Metaphor

Usually, the Abstractions we are using are based on Conceptual Metaphors.

Prioritise Exploration Over Exploitation

A System samples its Environment to build, update and use Models of it.

Rationalism Is Not Rational

Rationalism à la Eliezer Yudkowsky has two connected fundamental flaws – an ontological and an epistemological one.


A behaviour and by extension a Behavioural Disposition is instrumentally rational iff it maximises the subjective probability for a System to achieve a certain goal given an Environment and the available Knowledge about it.


Renormalisation is the coarse-graining of Models when switching between levels of System description.

Scale Free Abstraction

Scale-free abstractions are a specific type of Shorthand Abstractions: highly general concepts taken from our best current thinking about evolution, cognition, and the world as a hierarchy of systems.

Selection Is Bayesian Search

As a corollary to the systems view of Evolution, on the level of the system of nature, selection of lower-level systems can be seen as Bayesian search – as an algorithm that metaphorically fills niches and builds bridges of complexity into the void by “looking for” Attractors of nature as a System.


Systems “try to survive” and are differentially well equipped for that, depending in their specific Environment.

Self Organisation

Self-organisation is a process where some form of overall order arises from local interactions between parts of an initially disordered System.

Stakeholder Map

What Stakeholder Maps help identify and classify actors who have Power over and/or interest in the outcomes of a Project or Product development.

Strategy Is a Learning Process

Strategy is de facto always an iterative learning process, even if this is often not made explicit and information gaps between iterations make it less effective and efficient.

Strategy Is a Pattern of Actions

On an abstract level, Strategy is a set of System activities, structured in a process.

Strategy Is Based on Models

Every Strategy is based on an (implicit or explicit) assessment of the situation, that is the Model a System has of its Environment.


Strategy is a set of choices about the use of a System’s resources to maximise its chances to fulfil its Purpose in a given Environment.

System Boundary

A System boundary is topologically defined as the set of system components which have connections both to other system elements and to its Environment.

System Change Needs Disruption, Popular Support and Alternative Institutions

Climate and Ecological Breakdown is the biggest challenge humanity has ever faced, with civilisational Collapse an increasingly realistic outcome.

Systems Emerge Due to Constraints

Systems or, more precisely, dissipative and autocatalytic structures that are precursors of autonomous, e.

Systems Live in State Spaces

We should Use a parsimonious and productive ontology.


Technology is “a collection of phenomena [or effects] captured and put to use”, “a programming of phenomena to our purposes”; a “purposed system”.

The World Is a Hierarchy of Systems

When thinking about ontology (put simply, what the world consists of), we can start with the basic fact that there is difference in the world – that “something can be distinguished from everything else”.