Frases de Charles West Churchman

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Charles West Churchman

Data de nascimento: 29. Agosto 1913
Data de falecimento: 21. Março 2004


Charles West Churchman foi um filósofo e cientista de sistemas americano, professor da Universidade da Califórnia em Berkeley. Ele foi conhecido internacionalmente pelos trabalhos pioneiros nas áreas de pesquisa operacional, análise de sistemas e ética. Escreveu o livro Introdução à Teoria dos Sistemas em 1968, sendo um dos pioneiros a usar a abordagem sistêmica no ambiente de negócios.

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Citações Charles West Churchman

„Its roots are as old as science and the management function. It's name dates back only to 1940“

—  C. West Churchman
Context: No science has ever been born on a specific day. Each science emerges out of a convergence of an increased interest in some class of problems and the development of scientific methods, techniques, and tools which are adequate to solve these problems. Operations Research (O. R.) is no exception. Its roots are as old as science and the management function. It's name dates back only to 1940. p. 3; Partly cited in: Ivor Grattan-Guinness (2003) Companion encyclopedia of the history and philosophy of the mathematical sciences, Vol 1. p. 841


„The story begins with a somewhat disgruntled hero, who perceived of the world as populated with stupid people, everywhere committing the environmental fallacy. The fallacy was a case not merely of the “mind’s falling into error,” but rather of the mind leading all of us into incredible dangers as it first builds crisis and then attacks crisis.
Like all heroes, this one looked about for resources, for aids that would help in a dangerous battle, and he found plenty of support – in both the past and the present. It won’t hurt to summarize the story thus far. If the intellect is to engage in the heroic adventure of securing improvement in the human condition, it cannot rely on “approaches,” like politics and morality, which attempt to tackle problems head-on, within the narrow scope. Attempts to address problems in such a manner simply lead to other problems, to an amplification of difficulty away from real improvement. Thus the key to success in the hero’s attempt seems to be comprehensiveness. Never allow the temptation to be clear, or to use reliable data, or to “come up to the standards of excellence,” divert you from the relevant, even though the relevant may be elusive, weakly supported by data, and requiring loose methods.
Thus the academic world of Western twentieth century society is a fearsome enemy of the systems approach, using as it does a politics to concentrate the scholars’ attention on matters that are scholastically respectable but disreputable from a systems-planning point of view.“

—  C. West Churchman
p. 145; cited in C. WEST CHURCHMAN: CHAMPION OF THE SYSTEMS APPROACH, 2004-2007 Case Western Reserve University


„A system may actually exist as a natural aggregation of component parts found in Nature, or it may be a man-contrived aggregation – a way of looking at a problem which results from a deliberate decision to assume that a set of elements are related and constitute such a thing called ‘a system.“

—  C. West Churchman
C. West Churchman, , I. Auerbach, and Simcha Sadam (1975) Thinking for Decisions Deduction Quantitative Methods. Science Research Associates. cited in: John P. van Gigch (1978) Applied General Systems Theory. Harper & Row Publishers


„How can we design improvement in large systems without understanding the whole system, and if we the answer is that we cannot, how is it possible to understand the whole system?“

—  C. West Churchman
Context: It is only natural to expect that improvement can occur in certain sectors of the system without our having delved deeply into the characteristics of the whole system. Thus, for example, there is a tradition in Western thought that parts of the whole system can be studied and improved more or less in isolation from the rest of the system. So deeply ingrained is this concept of social improvement in Western thought that we naturally think it proper to subdivide our society into functional elements. We think it proper that each element develop its own criteria of improvement and that the elements be as free as possible from the interference of the other parts of the social structure... Men have neglected a very serious problem in defining improvement. The problem is very simple: How can we design improvement in large systems without understanding the whole system, and if we the answer is that we cannot, how is it possible to understand the whole system? p. 2 as cited in: John P. van Gigch (1991) System Design Modeling and Metamodeling. p. 145.

„Common to all these enemies is that none of them accepts the reality of the "whole system": we do not exist in such a system. Furthermore, in the case of morality, religion, and aesthetics, at least a part of our reality reality as human is not "in" any system, and yet it plays a central role in our lives.
To me these enemies provide a powerful way of learning about the systems approach, precisely because they enable the rational mind to step outside itself and to observe itself (from the vantage point of the enemies).“

—  C. West Churchman
p. 24; Partly as cited in: Reynolds, Martin (2003). "Social and Ecological Responsibility: A Critical Systemic Perspective." In: Critical Management Studies Conference 'Critique and Inclusively: Opening the Agenda'; in the stream OR/Systems Thinking for Social Improvement, 7-9 July 2003, Lancaster University, UK. Churchman had identified four generic enemies: politics, morality, religion, and aesthetics.

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