Churchman, Bayes, and the systems approach

Per my post on climate and the Bayesian brain, as well as the ever-present challenge of effective inquiry regarding the elephants among us, there’s this prescient piece from C. West Churchman, c.1979:

I was amazed that Khun’s book, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, or the advent of Bayesian statistics, could have created such a stir among the intellectuals! In the systems approach, all methods of inquiry, all designs of inquiring systems are options of the inquirer; there is no a priori set of standards that dictate the preferable ones.

No a priori standards, indeed. To guide individual inquiry and individual action into something more collective, we have social institutions. Not a priori either, they’re ours for the shaping. Once shaped, though, path dependence sets in.

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