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Systems practice

, Volume 7, Issue 5, pp 487–521 | Cite as

An overview of the Singer/Churchman/Ackoff School Of Thought

  • G. A. Britton
  • H. McCallion
Papers

Abstract

The purpose of this paper is to explain the philosophical and methodological basis of the Singer/Churchman/Ackoff School of Thought (experimentalism). The key features of experimentalism relate to its philosophy, methodology, and imagery. The paper traces and explains the development of experimentalist philosophy from a philosophy of science to a philosophy of life. The basis of this philosophy is the pursuit of ideals. Next the experimentalist methodology is discussed. This is teleological, deriving its justification from the pursuit of the scientific ideal of truth. The paper shows how the methodology changed from optimizing, problem solving to interactive planning. Then experimentalist imagery is discussed in depth. This consists of a formal, rigorous, conceptual framework that provides a conceptual link among the mechanical, probabilistic, and functional images of nature. The authors conclude by discussing how experimentalism could be further developed.

Key words

Pragmatism philosophy of science methodology scientific imagery ideals 

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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1994

Authors and Affiliations

  • G. A. Britton
    • 1
  • H. McCallion
    • 2
  1. 1.School of Mechanical & Production EngineeringNanyang Technological UniversitySingapore
  2. 2.Mechanical Engineering DepartmentUniversity of CanterburyChristchurchNew Zealand

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