Organized Wholes

  • George E. Mobus
  • Michael C. Kalton
Part of the Understanding Complex Systems book series (UCS)


We start with an overview of the main attributes of systems in general. These common attributes are found in all systems. They can be examined in the abstract as concepts or concretely in actual example systems. The overall concept of a system begins with the concept of an organized whole entity that has connections to other such entities as well as exists in an environmental milieu. We have shamelessly invented the word “systemness” to encompass these general attributes. Our first Quant Box provides a starting place for a formal definition of systemness, which will apply as we construct models of systems for formal analysis. But the rest of the chapter provides descriptions that expand on that formality in terms easy to understand without the math. The first Think Box introduces a theme that will run through the rest of the chapters—that of how the brain is a wonderful model of a complex adaptive system and how the principles and subjects of the chapters apply to understanding this remarkable system.


Coupling Strength Large System System Science Electromagnetic Force Complex Adaptive System 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Bibliography and Further Reading

  1. Alkon DL (1988) Memory traces in the brain. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UKGoogle Scholar
  2. Bateson G (1972) Steps to an ecology of mind: collected essays in anthropology, psychiatry, evolution, and epistemology. University of Chicago Press, Chicago, ILGoogle Scholar
  3. Capra F (2000) The tao of physics. Shambhala Publications, Boston, MAGoogle Scholar
  4. Capra F (2002) The hidden connections. Doubleday, New York, NYGoogle Scholar
  5. Deacon TW (1997) The symbolic species. W.W. Norton & Co., New York, NYGoogle Scholar
  6. Goldberg E (2001) The executive brain: frontal lobes and the civilized mind. Oxford University Press, New York, NYGoogle Scholar
  7. Huth AG et al (2012) A continuous semantic space describes the representation of thousands of object and action categories across the human brain, Neuron 76: 1210–1224. Elsevier, Inc., New York, NYGoogle Scholar
  8. Johnson-Laird P (2006) How we reason. Oxford University Press, Inc., New York, NYGoogle Scholar
  9. LeDoux J (2002) Synaptic self: how our brains become who we are. Viking Penguin, New York, NYGoogle Scholar
  10. Meadows DH (2008) Thinking in systems. Chelsea Green Publishing, White River Junction, VTGoogle Scholar
  11. Mitchell M (2009) Complexity: a guided tour. Oxford University Press, New York, NYGoogle Scholar
  12. Perrett DI, Rolls ET, Caan W (1982) Visual neurons responsive to faces in the monkey temporal cortex. Exp Brain Res 47:329–342CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Primack JR, Abrams NE (2006) The view from the center of the universe. Riverhead Books, New York, NYGoogle Scholar
  14. Rolls ET (1984) Neurons in the cortex of the temporal lobe and in the amygdala of the monkey with responses selective for faces. Human Neurobiol 3:209–222Google Scholar
  15. Smith BC (1996) On the origin of objects. MIT, Cambridge MAGoogle Scholar
  16. Yamane S et al (1988) What facial features activate face neurons in the inferotemporal cortex of the monkey? Exp Brain Res 73:209–214CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • George E. Mobus
    • 1
  • Michael C. Kalton
    • 2
  1. 1.Faculty in Computer Science & Systems, Computer Engineering & Systems Institute of TechnologyUniversity of Washington TacomaTacomaUSA
  2. 2.Faculty in Interdisciplinary Arts & SciencesUniversity of Washington TacomaTacomaUSA

Personalised recommendations