Conceptual Foundations for Multidisciplinary Thinking

By Stephen Jay Kline | Go to book overview

clear that the view that hierarchy cannot be a valid basis for analysis, because it is "man-made," as one formal reviewer of an earlier draft of this work wrote, is at bottom a confusion between system and sysrep. It is just this kind of confusion which makes the need for the distinction between system and sysrep critical for understanding. After all, Figures 7-1 and 7-2 are not rocks or organisms, or. . . . If seen literally, they are pieces of paper with markings on them.


Conclusions for Chapter 7

Hierarchy is a nearly ubiquitous structural feature of systems, concepts, communication, and thought. In order to understand the structure of inert systems, living systems, books, concepts, communications, and many other matters, we need the concept of hierarchy.

The overall hierarchy, called the hierarchy of constitution (Figure 7-1), is a useful framework for understanding the place of disciplines in our total knowledge and also their relations to each other, as Figure 7-2 illustrates.

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