Tag Archives: Symbolic Systems

Pi is Beautiful – Numberphile

Published on Jan 3, 2014
With thanks to Martin Krzywinski and Cristian Ilies Vasile

Graduate Programs: Symbolic Systems, Stanford

“The notions of symbol, meaning, representation, information, and action are at the heart of the study of symbolic systems. This common core of notions arises in a variety of fields including artificial intelligence, computer science, cognitive psychology, linguistics, philosophy, and symbolic logic.

As we have seen, the questions tackled by this new field are as old as thought itself. This century’s revolution stems from the advent of the computer and the associated ability to formulate these questions in mathematically rigorous new ways. This revolution has arisen simultaneously in several more traditional disciplines. As a result researchers in various fields who were pursuing similar goals discovered that by sharing their findings they could build cross-disciplinary theories that would shed light on their common questions.

But the crossing of disciplinary boundaries can be difficult. Contemporary researchers, trained in the context of traditional disciplines, frequently find it hard to assimilate needed concepts in another discipline. One of the beliefs of the creators of the Symbolic Systems Program is that it is the student of this new field, acquainted early on in his or her intellectual training with the philosophical and logical foundations, linguistic theories and techniques, facility and skill in the theory of computation and manipulation and use of computers, who will take the study of symbolic systems to new heights.

The Symbolic Systems Program offers students the opportunity to focus on these issues in their course of studies. Its majors are required to take courses in the Departments of Computer Science, Linguistics, Philosophy, and Psychology, as well as courses designed specifically for the program. Its goal is to prepare students with the vocabulary, theoretical background, and technical skills to understand and participate in contemporary interdisciplinary research into questions about language, information, and intelligence—both human and machine. The curriculum offers a combination of traditional humanistic approaches to these questions as well as a training and familiarity with exciting contemporary developments in the science and technology of computation.” https://symsys.stanford.edu/ssp_description

Master’s Requirements: https://symsys.stanford.edu/viewing/htmldocument/13915

Interdisciplinary Education: Capstone Goal

Quote from Wikipedia:

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General systems research and systems inquiry

Many early systems theorists aimed at finding a general systems theory that could explain all systems in all fields of science. The term goes back to Bertalanffy’s book titled “General System theory: Foundations, Development, Applications” from 1968.[9] According to Von Bertalanffy, he developed the “allgemeine Systemlehre” (general systems teachings) first via lectures beginning in 1937 and then via publications beginning in 1946.[25]

Von Bertalanffy’s objective was to bring together under one heading the organismic science that he had observed in his work as a biologist. His desire was to use the word system for those principles that are common to systems in general. In GST, he writes:

…there exist models, principles, and laws that apply to generalized systems or their subclasses, irrespective of their particular kind, the nature of their component elements, and the relationships or “forces” between them. It seems legitimate to ask for a theory, not of systems of a more or less special kind, but of universal principles applying to systems in general.

[26]

Ervin Laszlo[27] in the preface of von Bertalanffy’s book Perspectives on General System Theory:[28]

Thus when von Bertalanffy spoke of Allgemeine Systemtheorie it was consistent with his view that he was proposing a new perspective, a new way of doing science. It was not directly consistent with an interpretation often put on “general system theory”, to wit, that it is a (scientific) “theory of general systems.” To criticize it as such is to shoot at straw men. Von Bertalanffy opened up something much broader and of much greater significance than a single theory (which, as we now know, can always be falsified and has usually an ephemeral existence): he created a new paradigm for the development of theories.

Ludwig von Bertalanffy outlines systems inquiry into three major domains: Philosophy, Science, and Technology. In his work with the Primer Group, Béla H. Bánáthy generalized the domains into four integratable domains of systemic inquiry:

Domain Description
Philosophy the ontology, epistemology, and axiology of systems;
Theory a set of interrelated concepts and principles applying to all systems
Methodology the set of models, strategies, methods, and tools that instrumentalize systems theory and philosophy
Application the application and interaction of the domains

These operate in a recursive relationship, he explained. Integrating Philosophy and Theory as Knowledge, and Method and Application as action, Systems Inquiry then is knowledgeable action.[29]

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http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/General_systems_theory#General_systems_research_and_systems_inquiry