Cosma / Communication / Knowledge / Form / Foundation / Theory / System



Peter Senge (MIT Sloan School)
Peter Senge (Pantheon)

Introduction to Systems Thinking (Daniel Kim, The Systems Thinker)
Systems Primer (International Society for the Systems Sciences)
Systems Fundamentals (Systems Thinker)


system : a regularly interacting or interdependent group of items forming a unified whole — Webster

Dictionary of Cybernetics and Systems (Principia Cybernetica)

Free Dictionary, Wiktionary, OneLook


Roget’s II (, Merriam-Webster Thesaurus, Visuwords


System is a group of interacting or interrelated elements that act according to a set of rules to form a unified whole. A system, surrounded and influenced by its environment, is described by its boundaries, structure and purpose and expressed in its functioning. — Wikipedia

Systems thinking is a way of making sense of the complexity of the world by looking at it in terms of wholes and relationships rather than by splitting it down into its parts. — Wikipedia

International Encyclopedia of Systems and Cybernetics, 2nd Edition (Charles François, Bertalanffy Center for the Study of Systems Science)
System (Encyclopædia Britannica)


Outline of Cybernetics and Systems (Principia Cybernetica)






Systems theory is the interdisciplinary study of systems. A system is a cohesive conglomeration of interrelated and interdependent parts that is either natural or man-made. Every system is delineated by its spatial and temporal boundaries, surrounded and influenced by its environment, described by its structure and purpose or nature and expressed in its functioning. In terms of its effects, a system can be more than the sum of its parts if it expresses synergy or emergent behavior. Changing one part of the system usually affects other parts and the whole system, with predictable patterns of behavior. For systems that are self-learning and self-adapting, the positive growth and adaptation depend upon how well the system is adjusted with its environment. Some systems function mainly to support other systems by aiding in the maintenance of the other system to prevent failure. The goal of systems theory is systematically discovering a system’s dynamics, constraints, conditions and elucidating principles (purpose, measure, methods, tools, etc.) that can be discerned and applied to systems at every level of nesting, and in every field for achieving optimized equifinality. General systems theory is about broadly applicable concepts and principles, as opposed to concepts and principles applicable to one domain of knowledge. — Wikipedia

What is Systems Theory? (Principia Cybernetica)
Systems Theory (Science Direct)



Systems explained by Russell Ackoff (Open University)
A Lifetime of Systems Thinking (Russell Ackoff, The Systems Thinker)
Russell L. Ackoff (Wikipedia)

W. Edwards Deming (Encyclopædia Britannica)
W. Edwards Deming (Wikipedia)


Systems science is an interdisciplinary field that studies the nature of systems—from simple to complex—in nature, society, cognition, and science itself. To systems scientists, the world can be understood as a system of systems. The field aims to develop interdisciplinary foundations that are applicable in a variety of areas, such as psychology, biology, medicine, communication, business management, engineering, and social sciences.

Systems science covers formal sciences such as complex systems, cybernetics, dynamical systems theory, information theory, linguistics or systems theory. It has applications in the field of the natural and social sciences and engineering, such as control theory, operations research, social systems theory, systems biology, system dynamics, human factors, systems ecology, systems engineering and systems psychology. Themes commonly stressed in system science are (a) holistic view, (b) interaction between a system and its embedding environment, and (c) complex (often subtle) trajectories of dynamic behavior that sometimes are stable (and thus reinforcing), while at various ‘boundary conditions’ can become wildly unstable (and thus destructive). Concerns about Earth-scale biosphere/geosphere dynamics is an example of the nature of problems to which systems science seeks to contribute meaningful insights. — Wikipedia

Explaining Systems Science (Michael Kalton and George Mobus, University of Washington)

Systems science portal (Wikipedia)
Systems science overview (Wikipedia)




A historical perspective of systems theory (Kevin MacGregor Adams, Patrick Thomas Hester & Joseph M Bradley, Proceedings of the 2013 Industrial and Systems Engineering Research Conference)


Quotations Page, Wikiquote


Library of Congress # Q295 Systems (UPenn Online Books)

WorldCat, Library of Congress, UPenn Online Books, Open Library




Systems Literacy (International Society for the Systems Sciences)
Systems & Technologies (PBS Learning Media)

MERLOT: Multimedia Educational Resource for Learning and Online Teaching
OER Commons: Open Educational Resources


Systems Innovation Courses

Systems Theory Course (Complexity Labs YouTube Channel)

MIT Engineering Systems Division


Systems Thinking Community Is Working to Create Social and Environmental Change – Here’s What We’ve Noticed Recently (Megan Alley, Climate Interactive)


International Society for the System Sciences (ISSS)
International Institute of Informatics and Systemics (IIIS)


Journal of the International Society for the Systems Sciences (ISSS)
Journal of Systemics, Cybernetics and Informatics (IIIS)
Systems Research and Behavioral Science


Books on Cybernetics and Systems Science (Principia Cybernetica)
Books by Members (International Institute of Informatics and Systemics)







LEGO Systems Wins Three Prestigious Toy of the Year Awards (PR Newswire)


Systems Art (Wikipedia)
Systems Art (Tate)


OEDILF: The Omnificent English Dictionary In Limerick Form


Song Lyrics


Systems Thinking and Futures Studies (Systems Thinking Ontario)




Here are links to pages about closely related subjects.

Knowledge Form
Philosophy Metaphysics, Logic, Epistemology, Ethics, Aesthetics
System, Cycle, Structure, Growth, Complexity, Control, Disturbance, Entropy, Chaos
Process, Manage, Design, Prototype, Implement, Assess, Revise, Maintain



1.   The resources on this page are are organized by a classification scheme developed exclusively for Cosma.