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Description of the system, system realization, creator organization --- these are all examples of alphas, "apples from textbooks and workbooks", mental operations are done with them. Work products/artifacts (documentation of various models of the target system and supra system, system realization and their work on paper or in databases, project role performers, material realization of the system)--- these are "apples we eat", they can easily be found in projects, pointed at (indicated in space). They are usually well described in textbooks of the project domain, they belong to the meta-model. The most general alphas are the objects of the meta-meta-model, they are given to us in the knowledge/theories of fundamental methods of thinking, fundamentally detached from the subject areas of specific projects. That is why disciplines of fundamental methods of thinking in the intellectual stack (physics, mathematics, ontology, logic, rationality, etc.) are called transdisciplines: they are "trans", beyond the subject applied disciplines, they give us abstract types of the meta-meta-model, not more specific applied types of the meta-model.

Actions applied to alphas as functional objects and artifacts/"work products" as constructs that play the role of alphas (or rather these constructs-documents that describe the state of functional objects-alphas) are different. How to distinguish them, and how to relate them to each other--- this is the main difficulty in mastering not only systems engineering, but also any other method of describing the surrounding world and its regularities: how to combine objects of any theory with real-world objects.

This is exactly what distinguishes physicists and engineers from mathematicians/pure logicians: physicists are concerned with what their formulas correspond to in the real world, while mathematicians/pure logicians are not worried. Physicists are concerned with annotating the mathematical types of physical objects with the types of mathematics.

If there is an object in the physical world called "physical space", then in the world of mathematics there will be an object called "space" and the physicist postulates that it will describe the real space as a mathematical space. This is all about working with types, it needs to be understood once, otherwise, you will get confused when a physicist talks about the "space" from the physical world, and when the "space" from the mathematical world.

One of the students at MIPT scored two points on the systems thinking exam because he could not decide: are the "goods for shipment" the physical goods lying on the shelf of the warehouse, or is it a list stored somewhere in his computer's database. One time he referred to these goods as goods, and another time -- a description of goods, which he called goods, because he was primarily writing a program and did not see any goods. And further, these same goods had to be called the target system -- and it turned out that the "supposed goods" in the computer had a completely different environment than in the real goods! Don't be that student!

Work with types: descriptions come at many levels, but they are descriptions! And the physical world is the physical world! But functional objects (alphas included, "roles") are quite physical when constr...