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Importance of general systems theory for scientific training

Gribkov Andrei Armovich

ORCID: 0000-0002-9734-105X

Doctor of Technical Science

Leading researcher, Scientific and Production Complex "Technological Center"

124498, Russia, Moscow, Zelenograd, Shokin Square, 1, building 7

andarmo@yandex.ru
Other publications by this author
 

 
Zelenskii Aleksandr Aleksandrovich

ORCID: 0000-0002-3464-538X

PhD in Technical Science

Leading researcher, Scientific and Production Complex "Technological Center"

124498, Russia, Moscow, Zelenograd, Shokin Square, 1, building 7

zelenskyaa@gmail.com
Other publications by this author
 

 

DOI:

10.7256/2454-0757.2024.4.70462

EDN:

YXCPXY

Received:

10-04-2024


Published:

17-04-2024


Abstract: The article investigates the possibility of formation of creative competencies of students within the framework of scientific personnel training. It is noted that the available training courses within the framework of general training of scientific personnel allow to prepare a specialist who is able to use existing knowledge, but such a specialist is not trained in creativity. For the formation of creative competences it is necessary to take a training course of the general theory of systems, the purpose of which is to create a universal methodology of reliable representation of models of objects, based on the similarity (isomorphism) of the forms and laws of the universe. A detailed argumentation of the connection between creativity and holistic representation of being, the empirical manifestation of which is isomorphism, is given. The mechanism of knowledge translation within the framework of the mechanism of multisystem integration of human being, the mechanism of knowledge borrowing by human being from sensually comprehended forms of reality is investigated. It is stated that in order to meet the set tasks of cognition, a version of the general theory of systems, extended by the metaphysical component, is required. Further, starting from the metaphysical description of the foundations of the phenomenon of isomorphism observed in the practice of cognition, it is possible to form complete collections of patterns typical forms, templates of objects and their relations. At present, the work on such a version of the general theory of systems is being finalized. The article concludes with a discussion of the problematics of teaching general systems theory. It emphasizes two components: the issue of positioning the training course "General Theory of Systems" in relation to other courses, as well as taking into account the specifics of the subject area of students in different specialties (directions).


Keywords:

scientific personnel, creativity, general theory of systems, isomorphism, metaphysics, multisystem integration, knowledge borrowing, patterns, teaching, training course

This article is automatically translated. You can find original text of the article here.

Introduction

Necessary components of scientific personnel training programs, along with special courses that form a complex of professional knowledge, are also training courses that correspond to the general training of the student, regardless of the professional field. Among the general courses, a special place is occupied by a group of courses that form competencies in scientific work. This group includes two courses that differ in content.

The first course, which is independent in content, is included (with a corresponding change in the volume of taught material) in the bachelor's, master's and postgraduate training programs. As part of the bachelor's degree program (usually the 2nd semester of the 1st year), this course is called "Fundamentals of research work" [1], as part of the master's degree program - "Methodology of scientific knowledge" [2] or "Methodology of scientific research" [3], as part of the postgraduate training program "Fundamentals of scientific research activity" [4]. The purpose of this course is to teach the methodological foundations of scientific knowledge, approaches to choosing the direction and determining the content of research, methods for determining information sources and working with them, organizing and processing the results of theoretical and experimental research, rules for presenting the results of scientific activity.

The second course, independent in content, is called "Theory of systems and system analysis" [5]. Sometimes this course (with some unprincipled changes) is taught under the name "General Theory of Systems". This course is usually included in the Bachelor's degree program of the 4th or 5th semesters. The purpose of the course is to teach the methodology of a systematic approach to solving problems of analysis and synthesis.

The course "General theory of systems" includes a presentation of some provisions of the general theory of systems (A.A. Bogdanov's tectology, L. Von Bertalanfi's general theory of systems, etc.), but mainly it is about using a systematic approach for various fields of application. Meanwhile, the methodology of the systems approach is not the main content of the general theory of systems. The general theory of systems, like many other theories, uses a systematic approach, moreover, makes it the main tool of cognition, but the content of the general theory of systems is not in it.

The purpose of the general theory of systems is to create a universal (i.e. applicable in all subject areas) methodology for the reliable representation of object models based on the similarity (isomorphism) of forms and laws of the universe [6]. In other words, the content of the general theory of systems is a model of being, which ensures the integrity of its representation, the empirical confirmation of which is the isomorphism of forms and laws of the universe. L. Von Bertalanfi positioned the general theory of systems as a theory that helps to make scientific discoveries by transferring the principles of construction and interaction of objects from one field of knowledge to another [7, p. 31].

The current practice of forming competencies in scientific work based on these training courses seems logical, quite consistent, but it does not provide all the necessary competencies. On the basis of existing programs, it is possible to train a specialist who is able to productively use existing knowledge, but create new knowledge, solve problems for which no solution method is known, such a specialist is not trained the education system (within the framework of these training courses) does not prepare a creative unit.

The formation of a creative unit will require adjusting the system of training scientific personnel. The training course "Fundamentals of research activity", currently taught in the form of three completed courses of varying degrees of depth (as part of bachelor's, master's and postgraduate training), it seems advisable to integrate into one course consisting of three consecutive parts. An addition to this course, designed to expand the tools of scientific activity, may be the course "Methodology of a systematic approach", dedicated to the methodology of analysis and synthesis based on a systematic approach. It is appropriate to include this course in the master's degree program, since the competencies formed through it are in demand by personnel directly involved or planning to take part in scientific activities. At the stage of master's training (after the course "Methodology of a systematic approach") or in graduate school, the training course "General Theory of systems" becomes in demand. This course, unlike the courses of the same name that currently exist, is designed to prepare a creative unit from a specialist with competence in the field of research activities and methodology of a systematic approach.

In this article, we will consider a set of issues related to the preparation of a creative unit: we will determine the genesis of creativity and its connection with the integrity of the representation of being; consider the necessary content of the general theory of systems capable of providing such a holistic representation of being; consider some problems of teaching the training course "General Theory of Systems" and its relationship with philosophy.

Creativity and the integrity of the representation of being

The general definition of the concept of "creativity" can be formulated as follows: creativity is a process of activity, as a result of which qualitatively new values are created: material (technical creativity), intellectual (in the form of new knowledge; scientific creativity), spiritual (artistic creativity) or social (social creativity) [8]. The creative process is realized through creative thinking, characterized by the creation of a subjectively new product and neoplasms in the cognitive activity itself to create it [9, p. 66]. The object of creativity in scientific and technical activity is a creative task, "for the solution of which there are still no generally accepted rules and regulations defining the exact program for its solution" [10, pp. 39-40]. Creative tasks cannot be solved by means of reproductive (rational) thinking based on the use of existing and logically following ready-made knowledge and skills [9, p. 66].

Every solution to a problem, including a creative one, is some kind of knowledge. In the case of cognition of reality, this is knowledge about the existing, in the case of creation, this is knowledge about a new object the result of creation consistent with reality (otherwise, the result of creation is impossible). In both cases, in the process of solving the problem, only a new description of reality is born: augmented, refined or corresponding to an alternative interpretation of it. In the process of creativity, the human mind somehow receives this knowledge. But, as Aristotle already knew: "the objects of thought are in sensually comprehended forms" [11, p. 405]. Consequently, the knowledge obtained as a result of the creative process is borrowed by a person from sensually comprehended forms of reality. In this regard, two legitimate questions arise: "How does this borrowing happen?" and "Why is such borrowing possible?"

A possible means of implementing this borrowing is the phenomenon of multi-system integration described by the authors [12]. Human intelligence is integrated into a large number of systems: into the physical world, into the biological system of the thinking individual and the system of the biological species to which the individual belongs, into the personality (of the social individual) and the social system, as well as into the knowledge system of mankind. Each of the systems is characterized by a variety of patterns of forms and relationships that can be translated into other systems in the process of creative thinking. Such a translation corresponds to the use of the similarity property (the "great principle of similarity" [13]). The property of similarity of any aggregates (collections) of elements, indifferent to the nature of these elements, is called isomorphism.

The isomorphism of forms and laws in different subject areas, in the description of various levels of organization of matter, is an empirical fact that is constantly confirmed in the process of cognition. The existence of the phenomenon of isomorphism determines the correctness of the principle of similarity, ensures the effectiveness of multi-system integration in human intelligence and, ultimately, makes it possible to borrow knowledge from sensually comprehended forms of reality in the creative process.

From the point of view of the theory of knowledge, the phenomenon of isomorphism is a confirmation of the possibility of building an integral model of being. Since being has integrity, therefore, the more ordered and limited (in terms of forms and laws) the phenomenon of isomorphism appears within the framework of the accepted model of being, the more holistic and better this model reflects reality.

The most accurate and unambiguous definition of the concept of "system integrity" is the definition formulated in the theory of systems. According to this definition, the integrity of a system is determined by its stability and localization. At the same time, localization is understood as the predominance (or sufficiency) in determining its state of internal processes in comparison with external ones. This definition of integrity is completely suitable for the model of being. Achieving the integrity of the representation of the model of being is the central task of the general theory of systems.

Flaws and directions of expansion of the general theory of systems

Currently, the general theory of systems is a set of many variants of the theory, united by the use of a systematic approach in cognition and the statement of the existence of isomorphisms in the world. It should be added that in a number of versions (in particular, R. Akoff and Yu.A. Urmantsev), the primacy of isomorphism in the construction of the theory is questioned.

Different versions of the general theory of systems are based on the use of significantly different methodologies and analytical research tools. In particular, the general theory of systems by Y.A. Urmantsev [14], the most elaborated of all general theories of systems at the present time, is very different from the tectology (general organizational theory) of A.A. Bogdanov [15], the general theory of systems by L. von Bertalanfi [16] or more modern versions of the theory: the mathematical general theory of systems by M.D. Mesarovich [17] or A.I. Uemov's general theory of systems [18].

One of the most obvious flaws of the existing versions of the general theory of systems is the noticeable influence of the subject area of the creators' activities on them. The starting point for the general theory of systems is to ensure universality and universality. However, in all existing versions of the general theory of systems, there is a departure from this attitude: the tectology of A.A. Bogdanov (an outstanding materialist philosopher, revolutionary figure and ideologist of socialism) is based on the analysis of socio-economic processes; the general theory of systems by L. von Bertalanfi, whose field of scientific interests was biology, is based on the formation and mechanisms of the development of biological the mathematical general theory of systems by M.D. Mesarovich, Professor of systems engineering and Mathematics, is largely applied and is intended primarily for the analysis of engineering systems. The most consistent attitude towards universality and universality is observed in the general theory of systems by Yu.A. Urmantsev (OTSU), however, the influence of the author's subject area biology and related chemistry - is also noticeable in it.

This flaw in the existing versions of the general theory of systems is most noticeable, but it is not the main reason for the failure of this (by design, extremely promising, claiming to be the "philosopher's stone") theory, but its obviously applied nature. If we proceed from the purpose of the general theory of systems, which we formed earlier, then it claims to be a tool (perhaps the main one) of the theory of knowledge. At the same time, the creators of the general theory of systems consistently declared the applied nature of this theory, the rejection of the "explanatory" trend. In particular, A.A. Bogdanov wrote: "For tectology, if it "explains" how the most heterogeneous elements in nature, in work, in thinking are combined, then it is a matter of practical mastery of all possible ways of such combination; it lies entirely in practice; and even cognition itself is for it a special case of organizational practice, coordination of a special type of complexes" [15, book 1, p. 57].

Limiting the general theory of systems to the framework of applied theory radically reduces its cognitive potential it is difficult, and often impossible, to determine a correct and productive approach to cognition based solely on empirical experience (even a generalized way). It is necessary to understand the content of the objects of knowledge, including the description of the mechanisms of their existence through concepts directly correlated with being.

Therefore, it is necessary to expand the general theory of systems with an ontological part. Further, starting from the ontological (metaphysical) description of the basics of the phenomenon of isomorphism of forms and laws observed in the practice of cognition, it will be possible to form complete (representative, but limited in size) collections of patterns typical forms, patterns of objects and their relationships, widespread in various subject areas, at different levels of the organization of matter. Based on the results of practical cognition, classification of objects of cognition, as well as comparison of the results of cognition with known patterns, it will be possible to form complete collections of secondary properties and laws of objects. These secondary properties and laws, the correctness of which has been confirmed by practice, will not be completely deterministic, but they will become effective tools of cognition, including those that can be included in the arsenal of creative thinking.

Currently, work is being completed on a general theory of systems that implements the specified sequence of constructing a model of being, which as a result will have integrity. It was called the "empirical-metaphysical general theory of systems" [19] and includes an ontological part (called the "metaphysics of material existence"), an exposition of the evolutionary approach to cognition, as well as a methodology for determining and describing these collections of patterns (as well as primitives from which patterns are collected), secondary properties and laws. Internal contradictions or contradictions with reality in the empirical-metaphysical general theory of systems have not yet been revealed.

The problems of teaching general theory of systems

The effectiveness of the General Theory of Systems training course in the formation of scientific personnel is determined by the correct positioning of this course relative to other training courses and optimal consideration of the specifics of training for different specialties (areas of training).

We have already discussed the issue of positioning the General Theory of Systems training course in relation to the related course "Fundamentals of Research activities" (taught, according to our proposal, in the form of three consecutive parts within the framework of bachelor's, master's and postgraduate training) and the course "Methodology of a systematic approach" (taught within the framework of master's training) above and they established that these training courses should precede the course "General Theory of Systems", forming the competencies necessary for its development.

An important condition for mastering the course "General Theory of Systems" is also its correlation with philosophical training courses. Currently, the Philosophy course is included in the bachelor's degree program of the 2nd semester of the 1st year, i.e. it is aimed at students with an initial level of training. Philosophy is not taught at the higher courses (except in the case of training in the specialty or direction "Philosophy").

The course "General Theory of systems" requires relevant competencies in the field of philosophy. Therefore, the separation of the courses "Philosophy" and "General Theory of Systems" for a long time (4 years if the course "General Theory of Systems" is included in the master's degree program, 5 or more years if it is included in the postgraduate training program) is highly undesirable. The solution to this problem is the inclusion of the educational course "Philosophy of Cognition" [20], which actualizes knowledge in the field of philosophy, practiced in some universities in the program of master's or postgraduate training.

Along with the correct positioning of the course "General Theory of Systems", its effectiveness is significantly influenced by taking into account the specifics of the subject area of students. This course is supposed to be included in the training programs for masters and postgraduates in all natural sciences, technical, economic and most of the humanities. This is necessary for the formation of systematic thinking among specialists with higher education, expansion and deepening of ideas about the world, interaction, mutual penetration of its various components and their unity, including those realized through a community of forms and laws. The development of courses on general systems theory, which will be included in training programs in various subject areas, will inevitably require an expansion of the variety of such courses.

The most effective use of the tools of general system theories in any particular subject area is provided when it is integrated with particular system theories corresponding to this subject area. For example, for the analysis of information systems, it is advisable to integrate the general theory of systems with information theory and cybernetics [21], in terms of applied research of information systems with the theory of control or the theory of automatic control. In the field of engineering systems implementation, it is necessary to integrate system analysis (the applied part of the general theory of systems [22]) with system engineering.

The potential of the general theory of systems in solving fundamental and practical problems arising in the knowledge and creation of the world in a variety of subject areas is huge, but currently it is used very little. An important, and perhaps decisive, role in the development and realization of the potential of the general theory of systems can be played by the higher education system, which is able to stimulate the development and popularize the general theory of systems, the importance of which in ensuring the sustainable development of society will steadily increase.

Conclusion

Based on the results of the research presented in this article, the following key conclusions can be formulated:

1. Currently, there are a number of training courses that serve to develop students' competencies in the field of scientific work. On their basis, it is possible to train a specialist who can use existing knowledge, but such a specialist is not trained in creativity.

2. One of the training courses for the general training of scientific personnel is currently the "General Theory of Systems". In its modern form, this course serves to form students' competencies in the field of methodology of a systematic approach to solving problems of analysis and synthesis. Meanwhile, the goal of the general theory of systems is different and consists in creating a universal (i.e. applicable in all subject areas) methodology for the reliable representation of object models, which is based on the similarity (isomorphism) of forms and laws of the universe.

3. Knowledge obtained as a result of the creative process is borrowed by a person from sensually comprehended forms of reality. A possible means of implementing this borrowing is the mechanism of multi-system integration. Human intelligence is integrated into a large number of systems: the physical world, the biological, the social system, the knowledge system of mankind, etc. Each of the systems is characterized by a variety of patterns of forms and relationships that can be translated into other systems in the process of creative thinking. This translation corresponds to the use of the similarity property. The property of similarity of any aggregates (collections) of elements, indifferent to their nature, is called isomorphism.

4. The existence of the phenomenon of isomorphism determines the correctness of the principle of similarity, ensures the effectiveness of multi-system integration in human intelligence and, ultimately, makes it possible to borrow knowledge from sensually comprehended forms of reality in the creative process. Mastering the general theory of systems, the core of which is the statement of isomorphism, expands the creative possibilities of the student, allows you to form a creative unit.

5. The main reason for the failure of the general theory of systems is its obviously applied nature. Therefore, it is necessary to expand the general theory of systems with an ontological (metaphysical) part. Based on metaphysics, it will be possible to significantly expand the tools of theory, including the formation of collections of patterns, primitives, secondary properties and laws. Currently, work is being completed on such an expanded version of the general theory of systems, called the Empirical-Metaphysical general theory of systems.

6. The problems of teaching general theory of systems consist of two main components: the issue of positioning the training course "General Theory of systems" relative to other courses in the framework of training scientific personnel, as well as taking into account the specifics of the subject area of students in different specialties (directions). Both problems have acceptable, practically feasible solutions.

References
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In the peerreviewed article "The place and role of the general theory of systems in the training of scientific personnel", the subject of the study is the general theory of systems in the training of scientific personnel. The purpose of the study is to consider a set of issues related to the training of a scientific researcher (in the terminology of the author(s) "creative unit). The theoretical and methodological foundations of the research are not explicitly indicated, it can be assumed that the author's approach is based on the general provisions of the philosophy of knowledge, within which the surrounding world is considered systematically. The research method uses the analysis of scientific publications of works and reflection aimed at understanding the complex of issues related to the applications of systems theory in the training of a scientific researcher. The relevance of the work is determined by the fact that today many studies contain references to the use of a systematic approach. However, there are practically no elements of the theory of systems or a description of the actual application of the system approach. This contradiction is due to a lack of understanding of the place and role of the general theory of systems in the training of scientific personnel, that is, not understanding what it means to think systematically. This article contributes to the resolution of this contradiction to a certain extent. This study substantiates the importance of the training course "General Theory of systems" in the formation of scientific personnel. In the opinion of the author(s), the potential of this course can be fully used with the correct positioning of this course relative to other training courses and optimal consideration of the specifics of training for different specialties (areas of training). An important condition for mastering the course "General Theory of Systems" is also, according to the author(s), its correlation with philosophical training courses. The scientific novelty of the publication is associated with the justification of the following positions: 1) the study of the general theory of systems, which is based on the concept of isomorphism, contributes to the expansion of students' creative abilities and the formation of a creative personality; 2) the content of the general theory of systems course includes two key components: determining the place of this course among other disciplines within the framework of scientific training and taking into account the specifics of the subject area of students of different specialties. This study is characterized by general consistency, which is set by a consistent description: 1) the genesis of creativity and its connection with the integrity of the representation of being; 2) the necessary content of the general theory of systems capable of providing such a holistic representation of being; 3) the problems of teaching the course "General Theory of Systems" and its relationship with philosophy. The content meets the requirements of the scientific text. In general, the work has a good level of philosophical reflection. The bibliography of the work includes 22 publications and consists mainly of works representing various versions of the theory of the system, as well as the foundations of scientific knowledge. Thus, the appeal to the main opponents from the area under consideration is fully present. However, it is worth noting that the rules for the design of bibliographic references do not require specifying the URL and the date of reference. The article will be of interest to specialists in the field of organization of scientific research, as well as teachers of the disciplines "theory of systems" and "organization of research work". Conclusion: The article "The place and role of the general theory of systems in the training of scientific personnel" has scientific and theoretical significance. This article may be recommended for publication.