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Encyclopedia > John N. Warfield
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JOHN N. WARFIELD


The career of John Warfield has been described as passing through four phases:

  • Phase 1: Electrical engineering faculty member: 1948-1965
  • Phase 2: Starting a systems science research career path: 1966-1980
  • Phase 3: Accruing evidence and developing components of systems science: 1980-2000
  • Phase 4: Aggregating and reorganizing: watching systems science emerge: 2000-2004

The first phase caused him to develop an appreciation for detail and honed his respect and love for mathematics, but it also developed and understanding for the gulf that often developed between mathematical models and physical natural phenomena. Note: The term model is also given a formal meaning in model theory, a part of axiomatic set theory. ...


In the second phase, He was asked to explore how complexity and difficult situations could be brought within the grasp of organizations. This caused him to delve into areas that were new to him, and caused him to learn much about human behavior and about philosophy. He was surprised to see how much was learned in the second half of the 20th century about human fallibility as individuals, in groups, and in organizations. He was also amazed to see how slowly progress had been made in formalizing human thought. And yet it became clear that great strides were made in this area in England in the 19th century with the work of George Boole and Arthur Cayley and, especially, of Augustus De Morgan, even though his work was largely ignored by the community of philosophers. George Boole [], (November 2, 1815 Lincoln, Lincolnshire, England - December 8, 1864 Ballintemple, County Cork, Ireland) was a mathematician and philosopher. ... Arthur Cayley (August 16, 1821 - January 26, 1895) was a British mathematician. ... Augustus De Morgan (June 27, 1806 - March 18, 1871) was an Indian-born British mathematician and logician. ...


He was able to draw on the timely work of Frank Harary and colleagues to develop a modeling system called Interpretive Structural Modeling, and he learned of a process called the Nominal Group Technique for eliciting information from groups that had very superior attributes which largely annulled some behavioral aspects that otherwise nullified what could be done effectively with groups. Frank Harary (March 11, 1921 - January 4, 2005) was a prolific American mathematician, who specialized in graph theory. ...


In the third phase, as it turned out, colleagues began to appear to start using the products that had been developed in the second phase, and significant empirical evidence of efficacy began to arise. He was able to collaborate with a few of these colleagues and gain insights that enabled improvements to made, including the development of metrics of complexity and laws of complexity that remain to be discovered by most of the people who write about complexity.


Finally, after retiring from his university position, he was surprised to discover that he had really discovered systems science He found it to consist of a hierarchy of sciences. Beginning at the base, with a science of description, continuing vertically with a science of design, then a science of complexity, next a science of action (called Interactive Management, He, and colleauges. needed only the two processes to work through all of these sciences. Whatever else might be needed in specific applications would be identifiable at the conclusion of the application of the Work Program of Complexity, which was the central outcome of this 38-year research odyssey. It would no longer be necessary to be “sold” on a particular method at the beginning of a study, but rather one could always start with a basis in systems science. Systems science is the science of complex systems. ... Systems science is the science of complex systems. ...


 
 

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