This paper introduces Deleuze’s philosophy of becoming in system theoretic terms and proposes an alternative ontological foundation to the study of systems and complex systems in particular. A brief critique of system theory and difficulties apparent in it is proposed as an initial motivation to the discussion. Following is an overview aiming to provide access to the ‘big picture’ of Deleuze’s revolutionary philosophical system with an emphasis on a system theoretic approach and terminology. The major concepts of Deleuze’s ontology – difference, virtuality, multiplicity, assemblages, quasi-causation, becoming (individuation), intensity and progressive determination are introduced and discussed in some length. Deleuze’s work is a radical departure from the dogma of western philosophy that also guides the foundations of science and system theory. It replaces identity with difference and being with becoming, in other words, it provides system theory with an ontological ground based on change, heterogeneity and inexhaustible novelty-producing process that underlies all phenomena. The conceptual tools made available by this philosophy seem to capture the fundamental aspects of complexity and complex systems much better than the current conceptual system that is based on static transcendental ontological entities.
Research Professor. Director at Learning Change Project – Research on society, culture, art, neuroscience, cognition, critical thinking, intelligence, creativity, autopoiesis, self-organization, rhizomes, complexity, systems, networks, leadership, sustainability, thinkers, futures ++
Giorgio Bertini does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organization that would benefit from these papers, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.
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