Systems Engineering? No, Systems Methodology.

November 29, 2009

Below is excerpt from thread with Kent Palmer in public Google Wave on Systems Engineering (https://wave.google.com/wave/#restored:wave:googlewave.com!w%252Bi8fNaszLA). Kent Palmer wary about absence System Engineering as scientific discipline.
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I think that right object (system boundary) that you speak about is not Systems Engineering. Systems Engineering is craftsmanship, not science. It is Systems Thinking can pretend to be Science. You should apply not Philosophy of Science but Philosophy of Engineering (doing with purpose) for establishing an engineering (not science) discipline. I think that there is no extended thinking yet about what is engineering discipline (no Popper and Lakatos that think about engineering, not science) .

Nevetheless I think that you refer to a bundle of Systems Engineering and Systems Thinking and name it as Systems Engineering alone. I agree that there is a problem: Systems Engineering now almost not using Systems Thinking defined categories and concepts. Systems Engineering using some kind of other Sciences (usually it is called “approach” when concepts from one science we use in another field) and blame systems engineers that they use approaches from other sciences, not their “embedded science”.

I think that your object of study is Activity-1 that consist from Systems Thinking+Engineering. And due to meta-levels of your own approach you try establish Activity-2 to Engineer+Research of this Activity-1. When we have pattern in Activities we mention Method. Thus you speak about Method of Systems Engineering (and Systems Science), and meta-levels of this Method.

Then you should find Philosophy of Method (not merely Philosophy of Engineering and Philosopy of Science). There is a few (e.g. Bateson and Schedrovitsky). You want to develop and study method. You need methodology, not merely philosophy.

And you seek multi-meta-level Systems Methodology as your target. I agree with you: goal is Systems Methodology that is not exist now. Methodology is not Engineering and not Science, not Discipline, it is methodology — and work with activity disciplines as objects-of-interest.

You are not philosopher, you are methodologist. I agree. I am too.

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