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What is the course about?

This is a textbook on modeling and coherence and their practical application to communication. When we talk about modeling as a discipline, we mean both ontology and logic (that is why sometimes instead of "modeling" we can say "ontologics"). Ontology is the area of knowledge about what objects and relationships exist in the world, and logic - about what operations can be performed with them and how to draw conclusions, conduct reasoning. When we talk about coherence, we discuss how to maintain attention on selected objects and relationships until the desired goal is achieved. For example, in order to reach agreements on changes in a project.

Modeling can be studied separately: it can be an interesting discipline about extracting objects from the background, relationships between entities, navigating through levels of abstraction, classes, types. You may find it enjoyable if you like observing your own thinking process and have experience in it, and if you appreciate tidy and elegant things. It may seem boring and stressful if you are more accustomed to thinking about immediate physical actions or simply not used to delving into such matters intentionally.

Modeling is directly needed in the work of those who deal with data structures and various types of design: various researchers (marketing, product), analysts, designers of information and other systems, architects (business architects, enterprise architects, everyone who devises how something will work). We are not listing job titles, but roles - you may be called something else at work, but perform one of the listed functions, and notice that modeling is still necessary for you - read! you might find something useful for yourself.

Coherence will be especially useful for those who hold leadership roles, organize meetings, facilitate, and so on - where the "human factor" matters in decision-making. People do not retain attention the same way as machines and AI, we need special "workarounds" to focus attention on important aspects individually or as a group, maintain it until the goal is achieved, and in case of failures, be able to recognize them and intervene.

In this textbook, we apply modeling and coherence to two important areas.

Firstly, to human communication - this is the next step: as soon as you start thinking about something differently, you immediately want to start talking about it differently. It's also about maintaining attention to new language and changes in actions until new, more suitable ways of action become a habit.

Secondly, to research. We discuss how we ask "why" questions and how to answer them. Not in detail, but at least a general approach to epistemology is provided. It also provides information on how to lower the entry barrier to start modeling, create "epiphanies" in research more often.

What can you learn in this course

  • building higher quality models and meta-models, sometimes even meta-meta-models. You will learn what all this means later in the book.
  • focusing on the created important models.
  • using higher quality sources of information to create meta-models or meta-meta-models;
  • segmenting subject areas to create neutral and granular conceptual grids. This means that your subject area segmentation will be suitable for universal discussion, with "cells" for any objects of any interlocutors.
  • selectively and elegantly distinguishing objects from the background, focusing attention only on the essentials.
  • learning to maintain attention (personal and collective) on objects until the goal is achieved.
  • composing descriptions for different inquiries. Many are familiar with this as "practice of composing descriptions", but in reality this is not just one practice, but many. We have different tasks and we compose different descriptions for them, corresponding to different requirements.
  • working with roles. Recognizing roles of agents (interlocutors) based on their words, to successfully exchange appropriate descriptions with them and then coordinate joint actions.
  • working with beliefs, conducting cause-and-effect analysis, and calculating probabilities.
  • Recognizing when something goes wrong and intervening in a timely manner.
  • and finally, successfully coordinating joint activities with other people — one of our main goals.

Practical assignments

If you are taking the course concurrently with reading the textbook, you can complete practical assignments after each section.

We recommend doing them in the order proposed, and choosing material that has practical value for you.

Training on educational examples is usually ineffective, and on those made up by you - a little more effective, but still not very: you put in the right amount of effort only if you are genuinely interested in the result. Moreover, the difficulty of practice tasks often differs significantly from that of training tasks: then there is a predictable surprise - it was so easy with training examples, but in reality it's tougher.

Thinking by writing

It is strongly recommended to write your reflections and thoughts on the read material after each section (you can do it more often, but not less).

Otherwise, there will be no understanding of the material, and learning may even stall completely.

You can do this in your notes (start an exocortex and have some sort of Luhmann index card system in it), or you can do it publicly — then you can get some comments from others, and it will be more interesting.

In the Systems Management School community, there is a special place to keep such notes:

If you have any questions, you can ask them in the course support chat

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