Toward a Unified Metaphysical Understanding: What is the relationship between processes and systems?    
 What is the relationship between processes and systems?
2012-05-31, by John Ringland

I happened to answer a question on Linkedin and thought I'd share it...

Question:
Has someone an idea , about the relationship between a process and system? is it the same ? what are the differences?

Answer:

Those concepts mean very different things to different people... for instance...

From a process oriented perspective processes are considered to be ontologically fundamental and objects exist as the phenomenal content of an experiential process.

From an object oriented perspective (the conventional view) objects are considered to be ontologically fundamental and processes exist as the behaviour of, and interactions between, objects.

System theory can help to unify both of these perspectives, by recognising that all systems have both an inner and outer aspect. I.e. A system has an inner process by which it experiences other systems as objects and thereby interacts with them; as well as an outer appearance by which it is experienced by other systems as an object.

This connects with some interpretations of quantum mechanics, where quantum information processes are considered to be ontologically fundamental and classical systems exist as 'observables'. Hence the quantum field is a kind of universal system simulator and the classical universe is analogous to a virtual reality within which we are virtual systems. Thus all classical systems are animated by underlying quantum processes.

It also connects with pan-proto-experientialism, which is a variety of pan-psychism; also neutral monism, type F monism as well as Advaita Vedanta, Buddhism and many Eastern philosophies - where "awareness" is the fundamental process that animates minds, which then experience the virtual appearance of an external world.

From this perspective 'processes' and 'systems' are intimately entwined. So too are information and computation (defined very generally).

From this perspective, a system is a dynamic pattern of information that conditions the flow of information, whilst information is discernible difference and computation is a coherent process involving the flow and transformation of information.

Using these general definitions one could say that a computational process within an information space animates virtual systems that experience each other as objects within a world that is characterised by appearances. These appearances arise within each system's 'inner' experiential process and portray the 'outer' appearances of other systems.

Thinking about processes and systems in this way opens up avenues for mathematical modelling and computer simulation of general systems. For an example see System Science of Virtual Reality.

Ciao

From a discussion in the "Systems Theory Passion" group on Linkedin.


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