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Subjectivity and objectivity in systems thinking

An interesting and important question in systems thinking is whether social systems exist in an objective way or whether they are subjective constructs.

Consider a social situation you know well. For example, it might be a family gathering, a meeting at work, or even the Brexit vote. Do you think everybody involved saw the situation in an objective way? Did you?

To investigate the subjective-objective perspectives question, you are invited to participate in an experiment. The following optional, anonymous questionnaire will take about five minutes to complete and does not count towards your score on the course.

You will be asked which country you live in, whether you think British citizens will have higher incomes as a result of the Brexit, whether gold is worth more money than silver, whether the climate system is changing, whether the results of Donald Trump’s climate change policy, and if the balls in a given image are the same size. If required, you will be able to answer that you are unsure.

Go to the questionnaire (external web site)

The results of this quiz will be published next week.

What do you think? Is it possible for people to be objective when describing systems? Do you have examples of subjectivity and objectivity? Give your views and examples in the discussion.

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This article is from the free online course:

Systems Thinking and Complexity

UNESCO UNITWIN Complex Systems Digital Campus