Conceptual Foundations for Multidisciplinary Thinking

By Stephen Jay Kline | Go to book overview

APPENDIX D Glossary
Abundant society. A society in which at least go percent of the people are in a condition above Maslow level 2. See Maslow ladder, Chapter 7.
Autonomic. Designates a kind of feedback control that is built-in and rigid in the sense that it does the same thing every time. SeeFigure 6-1.
Barefoot data. Data that are credible owing to direct observation, without need for controlled experiments or laboratory tests -- for example, existence of an animal or a plant species.
Bit. A piece of data storable as a single fact in the human brain, not the computer usage.
Chunk. A combination of several bits of data into a recognized arrangement within the human brain -- for example, words.
Complexity, index of. A measure for the complexity of any system; defined and illustrated in Chapter 4.
Constraint. A condition that limits the scope of variables or parameters and thus the extent of possible variations within a system and/or in the design of a system. A critical distinction at many places is the difference between one or some constraints and complete determination. SeeChapter 5, for discussion and illustrations.
Control. The guidance or periodic correction of a system so that it matches a desired set point, course, or goal, usually using feedback. There are at least three qualitatively distinct levels of complexity of control modes: autonomic (built-in); human-control (has a human in the feedback loop); human-design (reflects on the system from outside and designs improvements). SeeFigure 6-1.
Culture gap. A term coined by C. P. Snow to refer to the gap in beliefs and hence difficulties of understanding and communications between technical and literary people. Other such gaps exist in modern culture, for example, between engineers and environmentalists.
Cybernetic. Norbert Wiener's word for autonomic feedback control. SeeAutonomic; Control; Feedback.

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