BEHIND THE SCENES

The notes and letters in this section of Behind the Scenes contains a mixture of topics.   Some are very basic areas of theory which may interest those readers who are more theoretically oriented. Some explore the genesis of ideas, some historical matters of interest. Others give insights into what was going on in some of the premier centres of thought and action in systems

LETTER TO ERIC TRIST: AFTER 5TH COLLEGE AND K.R. PLAN

Fred Emery, 1961

Amongst other things, this letter from the Tavistock Institute documents how in 1961 Fred was already developing the concepts in the famous 1965 'causal texture' paper.  It also documents the typical maladaptive dynamics inside a DP1 structure and his determination not to let these dynamics sink his work and the future he could see for open systems.

COMMENTS ON NOTES FROM K. KOFFKA: PROBLEMS IN THE PSYCHOLOGY OF ART

January 25, 2025

These are notes from a symposium discussing some very fundamental issues in psychology. These along with many other basics obviously form some of the foundation for his abiding interest in perception in general.

NOTES ON CONTEXTUALISM

1982

There are notes establishing a rigorous distinction between Contextualism and the two other major world hypotheses.

ON BEHAVING PURPOSEFULLY

1982

These notes are one of the documents exploring the possibility of a fruitful period of collaboration between Fred and Russ Ackoff at the group S3 in the Wharton School, Uni or Pennsylvania. The idea was to create a sequel to On Purposeful Systems (1972) which was itself an uneasy aggregate of the ideas of both men. The first page is by Fred while the rest is by Russ and looks as if he had already prepared a substantial draft of such a book. As the two proposals make clear, they had drifted further apart in the interval between finalizing OPS and 1982, and really were poles apart.   Despite two years of effort at working together, they failed and indeed, the gap widened.

SYSTEMS THINKING AND MACRO-MARKETING

1982

Despite the name, these are notes for chapter 1 of a book about the development of systems thinking. They are concerned primarily with the very basics of the scientific endeavour.

CONTEXTUALISM

1983

This is an edited series of extracts from World Hypotheses (Pepper, 1942). Fred would have prepared and used it as teaching notes at S3.

NOTES ON PEIRCE AND OST

1982

This documents a basic set of correspondences found in OST and the work of Charles Peirce with a bit of Fritz Heider thrown in. Was probably used as teaching notes at S3.

BASIC PROPOSITIONS OF SOCIAL SYSTEMS THINKING

Fred Emery, 1984

This is a further exposition of correspondences between OST and the levels of C. S. Peirce with specific reference to perception and the world hypotheses. Would have been used as teaching notes.

LETTER TO OGUZ BABUROGLU

1987

This letter contains Fred's observations about recent changes in Australia and the implications thereof, plus his thoughts about what would be involved if we were to see a new wave of interest in systems.

SECOND LETTER TO OGUZ BABUROGLU

1987

This letter deals mainly with the genesis of the famous 1965 open systems paper and the naming of the causal textures of the environmental types described in it.

LETTER TO PER: DEVELOPMENT IN NORWAY

Fred Emery, 1987

As the title says, this letter discusses some matters contemporary to organizational development at the time and some concerned with the historical significance of the Norwegian Industrial Democracy Program.