The purpose thing…

Patrick Hoverstadt
04 October 2023

There is a split within Systems in both thinking and practice around purpose. Is it about ‘intention’ or is it about effects – the POSIWID position. This split is not limited to the field of systems, as an example it also splits the field of ethics, but for us in our discipline it has had enormous consequences. This talk will explore this from several angles – why the split exists, how different approaches are grouped either side of the split, how it has driven factionalism and mutual incomprehension  in the past and how the split itself represents one of the most fundamental issues in systems thinking and presents a dilemma for the systems practitioner and one that needs to be worked with. Finally we’ll look at the resolution of this in practice.