Not John Boyd

But a good video, nonetheless.

Here’s Prof. Daniel Bonevac giving an introductory lecture on the OODA loop:

Professor Bonevac is a member of, and was formerly chair of, the Philosophy Department at the University of Texas. I don’t know when this lecture was given, but the video was posted in April of this year. One of the interesting things about it is that Professor Bonevac is teaching a class on Organizational Ethics.

In Boyd’s scheme of things, strategy is a game of interaction and isolation on physical, mental, and moral levels.  The moral level of conflict is the most powerful: Morally isolate yourself, and you both run out of allies and de-motivate your own organization. That is, you give up and lose, no matter what weapons or how many forces remain on your side.

Moral strength rests on perceived adherence to an ethical code. Boyd claims in Strategic Game that:

Morally adversaries isolate themselves when they visibly improve their well being to the detriment of others (i.e. their allies, the uncommitted, etc.) by violating codes of conduct or behavior patterns that they profess to uphold or others expect them to uphold. Chart 47.

This may strike some readers as too materialistic (Boyd was writing at the height of the Cold War, where the Soviet Union and various communist-inspired national liberation movements were the big threat), but it works just as well if the leaders of any ideological movement are seen as improving their positions by betraying their beliefs.

I think you’ll find Prof. Bonevac’s lecture to be most interesting and highly entertaining.  He does subscribe to the OODA “loop” as a circular process, somewhat in contrast to my own interpretation (for which, see “Boyd’s Real OODA Loop” on the Articles page). But then, I’ve heard Boyd describe it in much the same way as Professor Bonevac, and if he were just going to repeat my views, what would be the point?

[The video cuts off after 45 minutes, so it’s entirely possible that he addresses my concerns later on. If anybody has a link to the rest of the lecture, please include it in the comments.

Tip of the hat to reader Max Moore, who brought this to my attention with a comment on the Contact page.]

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