Proceedings of the 53rd Annual Meeting of the ISSS - 2009, Brisbane, Australia, Proceedings of the 53rd Annual Meeting of the International Society for the Systems Sciences

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John Kineman


Relational theory is an extension of Robert Rosen’s relational complexity. Its development implies a fundamental, four-quadrant ‘holon’ structure in nature based on nested modeling relations and their structure-function epistemology. Holons comprise and are comprised of other holons, thus providing a robust holistic analysis of nature at all scales. The four quadrants of the holon correspond with Rosen’s theory, Aristotle’s four causes, Ken Wilbur’s analysis of social hierarchies, and Vedic principles employed in quantum physics. Two quadrants of the holon define mechanistic science while the other two account for complexity. To use this view of nature as an analytical method and informatics architecture, each quadrant must have its own methods and tools. The mechanistic components are well developed but the relationistic ones are not. Quadrant II represents intrinsic potentials in nature, and it corresponds with the concept of the ecological niche in Ecology. The ecological niche is thus indicated as having central importance in ecology and relational theory. We are in a good position for rapid development of Quadrant II, which requires a robust and general method for ecological niche modeling. Such a method is being developed and is described here as the General Ecological Niche (GEN) model. Once this general method is established in Quadrant II, development of Quadrant III methodology for interactions of niche potentials and their aggregation into system attractors, may also be accomplished. Coupling models in all four quadrants of the relational holon will provide an entirely new form of analysis and informatics that is appropriate for studying complex and living phenomena. Urgent development of this architecture is recommended to address ecosystem problems.

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