An Introduction to John Boyd’s Thought

By Michele Pileri

Translated from the Italian — Special to DNI
13 May 2008

[Author’s note: What follows was to be a shortened version of a work written to be published by the Rivista Italiana Difesa (Italian Defence Review). The original one was written for a public that has hardly ever heard of John Boyd, so it included introductory pages on Boyd’s life, career and technical accomplishment, that have been omitted here.

I said “it was to be” because in the course of the translation I added some clarifications and some parts that were cut from the original article due to space limitations.

This work begins with a long paragraph on “Destruction and Creation.” This is not fortuitous or simply due to a chronological order, but it is because of the central role that this has in all Boyd’s work.

About this matter, what I am going to stress is the systematic relevance of concepts and arguments contained in “Destruction and Creation,” which in my opinion do not represent a simple inspiration or even a generic background. I think it is possible to find there much more robust connections as well as to employ some concepts to clarify other aspects of Boyd’s thought.

Moreover, in the subsequent pages we will underline the essential dialectic character of Boyd’s thought, character that contributes so much to the elegance and richness of the same.]

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