Your thoughtful comments are much appreciated.
Stafford, in Decision and Control, addresses some of these issues and
lays out a process for making a model in one domain (e.g., within a
company) that is isomorphic with a model from another domain (e.g., an
As you say, metaphors and analogies are quite dangerous.
What Stafford suggests is, I think, somewhat different and rather more
On Dec 9, 2008, at 4:52 PM, Czeslaw Mesjasz wrote:
> Dear All,
> I am currently working on a book about the links between various
> areas of
> "systems approach", or whatever we may call it, and broadly
> defined security. So I also had to read something on applications
> of thermodynamic models in social sciences.
> As to avoid any misunderstandings, I graduated in physics and in
> management. I am a kind of "former physicist" but it helps me in
> uderstanding the sense of the problems. In case of difficulties, I can
> always ask my Colleagues who are physicists.
> Applications of thermodynamics in studying society is a very
> well-known issue. All depends how we define social system.
> If we use "tangible models", thus attempts to find entropy,
> no-equilibrium, dissipative structures, etc. can bring some results.
> The main problem is that broadly understood "social systems" are
> and linguistic constructs. So we are affected by the participant-
> Thus we enter the applications of metaphors and/or analogies,
> or, in other words, linguistic variables. In my approach I prefer a
> moderate version of constructivism.
> In such case writing that a social system is in a far-from-equilibrium
> state is but another narrative which could be affected by
> reification of
> In my opinion such a "scientistic" language has been immensely
> abused by
> social scientists who do not know physics and by people coming from
> science", who some day discover that their models can be used for
> studying, or sometimes, even saving, society/humanity.
> I have even a hypothesis that using in social studies such terms as
> complexity, turbulence affects the minds at archetypical/subconscious
> level. It's my simplified explanation why studies referring to those
> ideas attract so much attention.
> It's a very old problem although not so trivial.
> For example, one of the challenges of modern economic thought is to
> assess to what extent economic ideas drawing on 18th and 19th century
> mechanics (equilibrium, stability, etc.), could be applied in modern
> theory and practice.
> I am sorry, but I cannot get involved too often in the discussion. I
> busy writing about some of the issues discussed here.
> Regards, Czeslaw Mesjasz
> Assoc. Prof. dr hab. Czesław Mesjasz
> Cracow University of Economics
> 31-510 Krakow
> ul. Rakowicka 27
> Tel: +48-12-293-56-19; Fax: +48-12-293-50-67
> e-mail: [log in to unmask]
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