Systems Science Friday Noon Seminar Series




Download (506.8 MB)

Download Captions (99 KB)

Download Slides (203 KB)


Media is loading




This talk is a systems philosophical examination of Eugen Rosenstock-Huessy’s “cross of reality,” a structure that fuses a spatial dyad of inner-outer and a temporal dyad of past-future into a space-time tetrad. This tetradic structure is compatible not only with the "human-centered" phenomenological point of view that Rosenstock-Huessy favors, but also with a "world-centered" scientific point of view. The structure is applied by him explicitly or implicitly to a wide variety of individual and collective human experiences; it is in effect his "theory of everything." From a systems perspective, the structure is a space-time framework for isomorphisms in the social sciences and humanities. In a sense, it formalizes Klir's notion of space and time as "support variables," but it differs from the conventional three dimensions of space and one of time, and it also accords to space and time intrinsic meaning. In this talk I mention a few examples of Rosenstock-Huessy's applications of this structure to the realms of language, religion, and social critique, and show how the structure diagrams some simple themes in systems theory. This paper was given at the recent Northwest Philosophy Conference (NPC) on Nov 13, 2021 at PSU, organized by the Philosophy Department. The NPC paper can be downloaded from which also has a link to the presentation slides. The paper and slides for this SySc seminar will be roughly the same as those used for NPC, with some modifications/additions.

Biographical Information

Martin Zwick is a Professor of Systems Science at Portland State University. His first professional position was in the Department of Biophysics and Theoretical Biology at the University of Chicago. In the 1970's his interests shifted to systems theory and methodology. Since 1976 he has been on the faculty of the Systems Science Program and during the years 1984-1989 he was the program head. In 2009, he was awarded the Branford Price Millar award for faculty excellence. His research interests are in discrete multivariate modeling (reconstructability analysis), theoretical biology and Artificial Life, and systems theory and philosophy. Scientifically, his focus is on applying systems theory and methodology to the natural and social sciences, most recently and especially to data analysis. Philosophically, his focus is on how systems ideas relate to classical and contemporary philosophy and how they help us understand and address societal problems. He is very happy to report that on Dec 31, 2021, he sent off to the publisher (Springer) the manuscript for his book, Elements and Relations, his synthesis of the theory side of the systems field.


Eugen Rosenstock-Huessy (1888-1973), Tetrad, Systems theory, Structure-function, Franz Rosenzweig (1886-1929), Isomorphisms


Systems Science

Persistent Identifier


© Copyright the author(s)

This Item is protected by copyright and/or related rights. You are free to use this Item in any way that is permitted by the copyright and related rights legislation that applies to your use. For other uses you need to obtain permission from the rights-holder(s).

The purpose of this statement is to help the public understand how this Item may be used. When there is a (non-standard) License or contract that governs re-use of the associated Item, this statement only summarizes the effects of some of its terms. It is not a License, and should not be used to license your Work. To license your own Work, use a License offered at