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David Rousseau PhD BEng FRSA

Director David Rousseau founded the Centre for Systems Philosophy, which promotes the use of Systems Philosophy as a methodology for addressing problems that require both scientific and philosophical analysis. In particular, he is interested in how we can use systems thinking to bring matters of ultimate concern into the domain of science. He is Editor-in-Chief of Systema, the Journal of the Bertalanffy Centre for the Systems Sciences.  He chairs the Special Integration Group (SIG) on Systems Philosophy in the International Society for the Systems Sciences He is a Visiting Fellow at the Centre for Systems Studies and a member of the Centre for Spirituality Studies, both at the University of Hull.  He is an Honorary Research Fellow in the Alister Hardy Religious Experience Research Centre in the University of Wales, and an Executive Member and Company Secretary of the British Association for the Study of Spirituality.  He is a Fellow of the Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (RSA). His academic background spans Engineering (with a specialisation in Systems Engineering), Philosophy (with a specialisation in Philosophy of Mind) and Religious Studies (with a specialisation in spiritual experiences). His early career involved more than 20 years in senior management, programme management and systems engineering roles in the aerospace and semiconductor industries.  Over that period he maintained a long-standing interest in the Big Questions, and the clues about them provided by exceptional human experiences. Over time he realised how systems thinking can open up new avenues of research in this area, and so in 2007 he returned to academia to help develop such methodologies.  In 2008 he started a PhD study using Systems Philosophy to analyse the mind-body relationship in the light of near-death experiences.  The success of this research encouraged him to found the Centre for Systems Philosophy to further develop Systems Philosophy and to promote its application.  David’s current research is focused on the unity of knowledge, the modelling of the nature of Nature, and the ontological foundations of moral intuitions. 

Publications in process

Wilby, J., Rousseau, D., Midgley, G., Drack, M., Rousseau, J., & Zimmermann, R. (in prep). The Foundations and Dynamics of Systems Science Wilby, J., Rousseau, D., Midgley, G., Drack, M., Rousseau, J., & Zimmermann, R. (in prep). Philosophical Foundations for the Modern Systems Movement.  Proceedings of the 17th Conversation of the International Federation for Systems Research, St. Magdalena, Linz, Austria, 27 April - 2 May 2014. Rousseau, D. (in prep).  A Modern Defence of Systems Philosophy’s Realism Rousseau, D. (in prep).  Systemic Semantics: Framework for a Transdisciplinary Discourse Domain Rousseau, D. (in prep).  GST and the Philosophy of Science Rousseau, D. (in prep).  A Systematic Framework for Comparing World-Views Rousseau, D. (in prep).  Systems Philosophy After 40 Years: Updating the Baseline  Rousseau, D. (in prep).  The Philosophy of Spirituality:  Prospects and Prospectus Nahm, M., Greyson, B and Rousseau, D. (in prep). Asymmetry between brain structure and mental faculties

Research Publications

Rousseau, D. & Wilby, J. (2014) Moving from Disciplinarity to Transdisciplinarity in the Service of Thrivable Systems. Systems Research and Behavioral Science. Special Issue: ISSS Yearbook. DOI: 10.1002/sres.2314 Rousseau, D. (forthcoming). Reconciling Spirituality with the Natural Sciences:  A Systems-Philosophical Perspective. Forthcoming in Journal for the Study of Spirituality. Rousseau, D. (forthcoming). Anomalous Cognition and the Case for Mind-Body Dualism. In E. C. May & S. B. Marwaha (Eds.), Extrasensory Perception: Support, Skepticism, and Science [2 volumes] (Vol. 2). Praeger. Rousseau, D. (2014).  A Systems Model of SpiritualityZygon: Journal of Religion and Science. Vol. 49 No. 2 pp. 476-508. Rousseau, D. (2014).  Systems Philosophy and the Unity of KnowledgeSystems Research and Behavioral Science. 31(2) pp. 146-159. DOI: 10.1002/sres.2189.  [earlyview published online June 2013] Rousseau, D. (2013).  Philosophical Conditions for Sustainable Outcomes to Complex Systemic Interventions. Proceedings of the 57th Annual Conference of the International Society for the Systems Sciences, on “Curating the Conditions for a Thrivable Planet: Systemic Leverage Points for Emerging a Global Eco- Civilization”.  Hai Phong City Convention Centre, Hai Phong, Viet Nam, 14-19 July 2013. Rousseau, D. and Rousseau J. (2012). Is there "Ultimate Stuff" and are there "Ultimate Reasons"? Finalist in the Foundational Questions Institute’s 2012 Essay Competition:  Questioning the Foundations.  Published on the FQXi website here. Rousseau, D. (2012)  The Implications of Near-Death Experiences for Research into the Survival of Consciousness, Journal of Scientific Exploration, Vol. 26, No. 1, pp. 43-80. Rousseau, D. (2011)  Minds, Souls and Nature:  A Systems-Philosophical Analysis of the Mind-Body Relationship in the Light of Near-Death Experiences . (PhD Thesis, University of Wales, Trinity Saint David, School of Theology, Religious Studies and Islamic Studies).  Rousseau, D. (2011)  Near-Death Experiences and the Mind-Body Relationship: A Systems-Theoretical Perspective, Journal of Near-Death Studies, 29, pp. 399-435.  Rousseau, D. (2011)  Understanding Spiritual Awareness in Terms of Anomalous Information Access, The Open Information Science Journal - Special Issue: Information and Spirituality, 3, pp. 40-53. Rousseau, D. (2008)  The Mind-Body Relationship:  A Literature Review and an Assessment in the Light of Near- Death Experiences.  (Unpublished MPhil Thesis, University of Wales, Trinity Saint David, Dept of Philosophy).  

Book Reviews

Rousseau, D. (2014) Review of Paul Badham’s  “Making Sense of Death and Immortality”.  De Numine, Vol 56., pp.41-43. Rousseau, D. (2012).  Review of Stanley Krippner and Harris L Friedman (Eds)’s “Mysterious Minds: The Neurobiology of Extraordinary People”. Journal of the Society for Psychical Research, Vol. 76.3, No. 908. Rousseau, D. (2011).  Physicalism, Christianity and the Near-Death Experience: An essay review of Michael Marsh’s "Out-of-Body and Near-Death Experiences: Brain-state Phenomena or Glimpses of Immortality?". Journal of the Society for Psychical Research, Vol. 75.4, No. 905, pp. 225-234.  Rousseau, D. (2011).  Review of Gregory Shushan’s “Conceptions of the Afterlife in Early Civilizations: Universalism, Constructivism, and Near-Death Experience”. Journal of the Society for Psychical Research, 75.2, No. 903, pp. 122-125. Rousseau, D. (2011).  Review of Penny Sartori’s “The Near-death Experiences of Hospitalized Intensive Care Patients: A Five-year Clinical Study”. Journal of the Society for Psychical Research, 75.1 No. 902, pp. 47-49. Conference Presentations and Invited Addresses Rousseau, D. (2014).  Reconciling Spirituality with the Natural Sciences: a Systems-Philosophical perspective Presentation to the Third International Conference of the British Association for the Study of Spirituality, “Spirituality in a Challenging World,” 19 – 21 May 2014, Ashridge House, Berkhamsted, Hertfordshire, UK. Rousseau, D. (2014).  Near-Death Experiences and the Mind-Body Relationship: a Systems-Theoretical Perspective.  Research Seminar at the School of Theology, Religious Studies and Islamic Studies, University of Wales, Lampeter, Founder's Library, 14 May 2014, 4 pm. Rousseau, D. (2014).  Foundations and a Framework for Future Waves of Systemic Inquiry.  Keynote presentation to the Symposium on “Bertalanffy and beyond: improving Systemics for a better future”, at the 22nd European Meeting on Cybernetics and Systems Research (EMCSR), “Civilisation at the Crossroads: Response and Responsibility of the Systems Sciences”, 22-25 April 2014, University of Vienna. Rousseau, D. (2013). Reflections on the meaning and significance of General System Theory. Research Seminar presented at the Centre for Systems Studies, University of Hull, Kingston upon Hull, East Yorkshire, 30 October 2013. Rousseau, D. (2013). The Dimensions of Spirituality.  Invited Address to the London local group of the Scientific and Medical Network, Denning Hall, Hampstead, London, 12 August 2013. Rousseau, D. (2013).  Philosophical Conditions for Sustainable Outcomes to Complex Systemic Interventions. Presented at the International Society for the Systems Sciences’ conference on “Curating the Conditions for a Thrivable Planet: Systemic Leverage Points for Emerging a Global Eco-Civilization”.  Hai Phong City, Viet Nam, 14-19 July 2013. Rousseau, D. (2013).  The Dimensions of Spirituality.  Invited Address to the Society for the Study of Normal Psychology, 5 June 2013, Colet House, 151 Talgarth Road, London. Rousseau, D. (2013).  Minds, Souls and Nature: a systems-philosophical perspective.  Invited address to the conference of the Scientific and Medical Network on “Connecting Mind, Spirit and Nature”, 19-23 February 2013, Frenchman’s Cove, Jamaica.   Rousseau, D. (2012).  Could Spiritual Intuitions Map a Scientifically Plausible Ontology? Conference paper presented to the joint conference of the Scientific and Medical Network and the Society for Scientific Exploration, on “Mapping Time, Mind and Space”, 18-21 October 2012, An Grianan Adult Education College, Termonfechin, Drogheda, Ireland. Rousseau, D. (2012).  A Philosophical Framework for Exploration Science. Invited address to Study Day on "Making Sense of Psi", Society for Psychical Research, 28 April 2012, London, UK. Rousseau, D. (2010).  Beyond Dualism: insights and predictions from a new mind-body model. Invited address to Study Day on "Ordered Minds with Disordered Brains: From Evidence to Insight", Society for Psychical Research, 27 Nov 2010, London, UK.  Rousseau, D. (2010).  If minds are not just brains, what might they be?  Invited Address: Gwen Tate Memorial Lecture, 7 October 2010, London, UK. Rousseau, D. (2009). The Mind-Body System: Integration as a Factor in Exceptional Ability and Spiritual Experience. Conference paper presented at the 13th Annual Conference of the Transpersonal Psychology Section of the British Psychological Society, 18-21 Sept 2009. Scarborough, UK. Rousseau, D. (2009). Evidence is not Enough. Conference paper resented at the 33rd International Conference of the Society for Psychical Research, 4-6 Sept 2009. University of Nottingham. Rousseau, D. (2009). If minds are not just brains, what sort of thing might they be? Invited address to the Guildford local group of the Scientific and Medical Network, 18 Nov 2009, Godalming, UK.
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