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The fifteen papers comprising this book were chosen out of the sixty-one contributions to the Symposium and Section on Social Systems held in the context of the Fourth International Congress of Cybernetics and Systems (Amsterdam, The Netherlands, 21-25 August, 1978). These papers, as­ sembled here on the basis of their topicality, depth and originality, cover a wide range of problems, ranging from 'Societies and Turing machines' to 'Dialectics and catastrophe'. An interesting array of themes is considered by authors from six countries. It is felt that these papers, some of them thought-provoking and of great merit, will cast new light on social problems. Though the contributions consider a wide variety of topics, the underlying trend is apparent in many instances. Of special value is the discussion of the relevance of cybernetics and systems to a wide spectrum of social problems. I think the treatment and the approach adopted by the contributors merit wide attention, since their contributions constitute an appreciable advance in a fairly novel field. 1. ROSE BLACKBURN (U.K.) May, 1978 Acknowledgements First of all, we want to thank the authors for their contributions to these volumes, often produced under severe time pressure. We are particularly indebted to publisher Hans van der Sluijs and desk editor Judy Marcure for their helpful cooperation in having both volumes edited and published on schedule.

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