Who said “The whole is greater than the sum of the parts”?

Who said “The whole is greater than the sum of the parts”?

The phrase “The whole is greater than the sum of the parts” is well known and important to Systems Scientists and Systems Engineers alike. It’s like a short pithy definition of Emergence. And it is almost always automatically attributed to Aristotle. But what I want to know is this - Did he say it? Why did he say it? And in what context?

Zen and the Art of Systems Thinking

Zen and the Art of Systems Thinking

On June 21, 2017, I had the privilege of speaking to the INCOSE Chesapeake Chapter on the topic of Systems Science, Systems Engineering and Systems Thinking — using the catchy title, "Zen and the Art of Systems Thinking."  Here I include the slides and references for those who want to explore my talk in more detail.

Systems Science — an oxymoron?

Systems Science — an oxymoron?

How is Systems Science an oxymoron? It may come from the fact that studying Systems requires a holistic perspective whereas the fundamental concept of Science is looking at things in a reductionist manner. So how do you reconcile these two fundamentally different approaches into one discipline?  Maybe the key is looking and seeing “systems’ everywhere.

When Models and Metaphors are Dangerous

When Models and Metaphors are Dangerous

I just finished watching the documentary "All Watched Over by Machines of Loving Grace" by Adam Curtis. The entire series of three 1 hour shows is a real challenge. I say this because of the way Mr. Curtis makes such seemly tenuous connections between people and the flow of their ideas across modern history. His assertion is that these ideas together have forged our present day perception of reality. False perception is more like it.  

This "documentary" is very thought provoking piece of media. And when my thoughts get provoked I strike back with a long and pretentious blog.  

 

Style vs Substance?

Style vs Substance?

Is PowerPoint really EVIL? Edward Tufte thinks so. Is he right? or misinformed? Is there another explanation as to why Systems Engineers turn to PowerPoint to explain the “big picture” of the project or program they are working? Let’s explore this battle of “Style vs. Substance!”