Reasoning about Systems and their Properties
Jerry Fodor once noted wisely that scholarship is the process by which butterflies are transmuted into caterpillars. Following this thought, I present this paper as a chrysalis: it lacks the spontaneity and debate of the live meetings at which some of this material was originally presented, but it has not gained a polished apparatus to support every assertion and anticipate every possible objection. I hope to clarify and develop my position in future writings and discussions. For the present, I trust that this paper will provoke thought and debate, as well as setting some general challenges for the field of systems engineering. Thanks are due to Aidan Ward for comments on the draft version.
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