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Systems Theory

Edited by Jon Lawhead (University of Southern California)
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  1. Frane Adam, Ivan Bernik & Borut Rončević (2005). A Grand Theory and a Small Social Scientific Community: Niklas Luhmann in Slovenia. Studies in East European Thought 57 (1):61 - 80.
    We analyse the reception of Niklas Luhmanns social metatheory in Slovenian social. The first part outlines the intellectual climate that prevailed in the decade before the post-socialist transition. The decline of the previously dominant Marxist ideology created space for other social theories. Luhmanns ideas were the most prominent among social macro theories in the initial phase. The second part describes variations in the reception of his ideas. The initial affirmative approach was upgraded by a number of more selective and critical (...)
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  2. The General Systems Theory: An Adequate (2002). Paulina Taboada. In Paulina Taboada, Kateryna Fedoryka Cuddeback & Patricia Donohue-White (eds.), Person, Society, and Value: Towards a Personalist Concept of Health. Kluwer Academic Pub.
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  3. Evandro Agazzi (1978). Systems Theory and the Problem of Reductionism. Erkenntnis 12 (3):339 - 358.
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  4. Johann P. Arnason (1997). Novalis, Marx and Parsons: Niklas Luhmann's Search for Modernity. Thesis Eleven 51 (1):75-90.
    In an essay on `the modernity of modern society', written after the demise of the Soviet model but against the premature triumphalism of mainstream modernization theory, Niklas Luhmann proposes to broaden the perspectives of sociological analysis by drawing on neglected or misunderstood traditions. A re-reading of Marx and a reconstruction of Romantic insights into the modern condition serve to problematize the conventional functionalist account of modernization. But at the same time, Luhmann re-defines the conceptual framework of systems theory in such (...)
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  5. J. Arnoldi (2001). Niklas Luhmann: An Introduction. Theory, Culture and Society 18 (1):1-13.
    The article is an introduction to a special section in TCS on the work of Niklas Luhmann. The first part of the article provides a general introduction to Luhmann's work with an emphasis on the basic elements of Luhmann's general systems theory, in particular Luhmann's notions of autopoiesis and meaning, and the traditions on which it is based. The second part of the text is a presentation of the articles in the special section.
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  6. W. Ross Ashby (1962). Principles of the Self-Organizing System. In H. Von Foerster & Zopf Jr (eds.), Principles of Self-Organization: Transactions of the University of Illinois Symposium. Pergamon 255–278.
  7. Dirk Baecker & Niklas Luhmann (1987). Theorie Als Passion Niklas Luhmann Zum 60. Geburtstag.
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  8. Kenneth D. Bailey (2005). Emergence, Drop-Back and Reductionism in Living Systems Theory. Axiomathes 15 (1):29-45.
    Millers Living Systems Theory (LST) is known to be very comprehensive. It comprises eight nested hierarchical levels. It also includes twenty critical subsystems. While Millers approach has been analyzed and applied in great detail, some problematic features remain, requiring further explication. One of these is the relationship between reduction and emergence in LST. There are at least four relevant possibilities. One is that LST exhibits neither clear reductionism nor emergence, but is essentially neutral in this regard. Another is that the (...)
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  9. Philip Barnard & Tim Dalgleish (2005). Psychological-Level Systems Theory: The Missing Link in Bridging Emotion Theory and Neurobiology Through Dynamic Systems Modeling. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 28 (2):196-197.
    Bridging between psychological and neurobiological systems requires that the system components are closely specified at both the psychological and brain levels of analysis. We argue that in developing his dynamic systems theory framework, Lewis has sidestepped the notion of a psychological level systems model altogether, and has taken a partisan approach to his exposition of a brain-level systems model.
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  10. John Bednarz (1984). Complexity and Intersubjectivity: Towards the Theory of Niklas Luhmann. [REVIEW] Human Studies 7 (3-4):55-69.
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  11. Guy Bellavance (1991). Niklas Luhmann, Amour Comme Passion. De la Codification de l'Intimité, Traduit de l'Allemand Par Anne-Marie Lionnet, Aubier, 1990, (C 1986), 330 P. Niklas Luhmann, Ecological Communication, Translated by John Bednarz Jr., The University of Chicago Press, 1989, (1986), 187 P.Niklas Luhmann, Amour Comme Passion. De la Codification de l'Intimité, Traduit de l'Allemand Par Anne-Marie Lionnet, Aubier, 1990, (C 1986), 330 P.Niklas Luhmann, Ecological Communication, Translated by John Bednarz Jr., The University of Chicago Press, 1989, (1986), 187 P. [REVIEW] Philosophiques 18 (2):177-180.
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  12. P. Berge, Y. Pomeau & C. Vidal (1987). Order Within Chaos. Wiley.
  13. A. Bielecki, Andrzej Kokoszka & P. Holas (2000). Dynamic Systems Theory Approach to Consciousness. International Journal of Neuroscience 104 (1):29-47.
  14. James A. Blachowicz (1971). Systems Theory and Evolutionary Models of the Development of Science. Philosophy of Science 38 (2):178-199.
    Philosophers of science have used various formulations of the "random mutation--natural selection" scheme to explain the development of scientific knowledge. But the uncritical acceptance of this evolutionary model has led to substantive problems concerning the relation between fact and theory. The primary difficulty lies in the fact that those who adopt this model (Popper and Kuhn, for example) are led to claim that theories arise chiefly through the processes of relatively random change. Systems theory constitutes a general criticism of this (...)
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  15. J. Bleicher (1982). System and Meaning: Comments on the Work of Niklas Luhmann. Theory, Culture and Society 1 (1):49-52.
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  16. Stéphane Bornhausen (1999). Hommage À : Niklas LUHMANN. Hermes 23:347.
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  17. J. Brejdak (2003). Niklas Luhmann - hermeneutyka różnicy konstytutywnej. Fenomenologia 1:75-90.
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  18. Ann Burlein (2005). The Productive Power of Ambiguity: Rethinking Homosexuality Through the Virtual and Developmental Systems Theory. Hypatia 20 (1):21-53.
    This paper juxtaposes Deleuze's notion of the virtual alongside Oyama's notion of a developmental system in order to explore the promises and perils of thinking bodily identity as indeterminate at a time when new technologies render bodily ambiguity increasingly productive of both economic profit and power relations.
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  19. Guy Burneko (1991). It Happens by Itself: The Tao of Cooperation, Systems Theory, and Constitutive Hermeneutics. World Futures 31 (2):139-160.
    (1991). It happens by itself: The Tao of cooperation, systems theory, and constitutive hermeneutics. World Futures: Vol. 31, Cooperation: Toward a Post-Modern Ethic, pp. 139-160.
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  20. Wayne Christensen (1996). A Complex Systems Theory of Teleology. Biology and Philosophy 11 (3):301-320.
    Part I [sections 2–4] draws out the conceptual links between modern conceptions of teleology and their Aristotelian predecessor, briefly outlines the mode of functional analysis employed to explicate teleology, and develops the notion of cybernetic organisation in order to distinguish teleonomic and teleomatic systems. Part II is concerned with arriving at a coherent notion of intentional control. Section 5 argues that intentionality is to be understood in terms of the representational properties of cybernetic systems. Following from this, section 6 argues (...)
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  21. Hans-Ulrich Dallmann (1998). Niklas Luhmann's Systems Theory as a Challenge for Ethics. Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 1 (1):85-102.
    The author discusses Niklas Luhmann's concept of ethics and morals. Therefore he sketches the main traits of Luhmann's theory of systems (e.g. the terms autopoiesis, system and environment, code and programme). From the system-theoretical point of view, ethics are characterized as the reflexive theory of morals. Morals are described as the communication of regard or disregard. The author shows which consequences follow from this concept by discussing problems concerning several subsystems at the same time. The problems of Luhmann's theory of (...)
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  22. Daniel Dennett (2011). Intentional Systems Theory. In Brian McLaughlin, Ansgar Beckermann & Sven Walter (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Philosophy of Mind. OUP Oxford
  23. Chunyu Dong (2010). Intelligent Design From the Viewpoint of Complex Systems Theory. Frontiers of Philosophy in China 5 (3):461-470.
    Based on an analysis of the origins and characteristics of Intelligent Design, this essay discusses the related issues of probability and irreducible complexity. From the viewpoint of complex systems theory, I suggest that Intelligent Design is not, as certain advocates claim, the only reasonable approach for dealing with the current difficulties of evolutionary biology.
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  24. Didier DuBois (1997). Fuzzy Sets and Systems: Theory and Applications. Academic Press, Inc..
    / Part INTRODUCTION Fuzziness is not a priori an obvious concept and demands some explanation. "Fuzziness" is what Black (NF) calls "vagueness" when ...
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  25. Dave Elder-Vass (2007). Luhmann and Emergentism: Competing Paradigms for Social Systems Theory? Philosophy of the Social Sciences 37 (4):408-432.
    Social systems theory has been dominated in recent years by the work of Niklas Luhmann, but there is another strand of systems thinking, which is receiving increasing attention in sociology: emergentism. For emergentism, the core problems of systems thinking are concerned with causation and reductionism; for Luhmann, they are questions of meaning and self-reference. Arguing from an emergentist perspective, the article finds that emergentism addresses its own core problem successfully, while Luhmann's approach is incapable of resolving questions of causation and (...)
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  26. Horace Fairlamb (2012). Must Complex Systems Theory Be Materialistic? Foundations of Science 17 (1):1-3.
    So far, the sciences of complexity have received less attention from philosophers than from scientists. Responding to Salthe’s (Found Sci 15, 4(6):357–367, 2010a ) model of evolution, I focus on its metaphysical implications, asking whether the implications of his canonical developmental trajectory (CDT) must be materialistic as his reading proposes.
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  27. Estelle Ferrarrese (2004). Niklas Luhmann et l'opinion publique. Cahiers Internationaux de Sociologie 1 (1):97-115.
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  28. Alan Fogel, Ilse de Koeyer, Cory Secrist & Ryan Nagy (2002). Dynamic Systems Theory Places the Scientist in the System. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 25 (5):623-624.
    Dynamic systems theory is a way of describing the patterns that emerge from relationships in the universe. In the study of interpersonal relationships, within and between species, the scientist is an active and engaged participant in those relationships. Separation between self and other, scientist and subject, runs counter to systems thinking and creates an unnecessary divide between humans and animals.
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  29. Charles Francois (1999). Systemics and Cybernetics in a Historical Perspective. Systems Research and Behavioral Science 16 (3):203-219.
  30. Tage Frandberg (2001). Living Systems: Theory and Application. Nova Science Publishers.
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  31. Roman Frigg (2004). In What Sense is the Kolmogorov-Sinai Entropy a Measure for Chaotic Behaviour?—Bridging the Gap Between Dynamical Systems Theory and Communication Theory. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 55 (3):411 - 434.
    On an influential account, chaos is explained in terms of random behaviour; and random behaviour in turn is explained in terms of having positive Kolmogorov-Sinai entropy (KSE). Though intuitively plausible, the association of the KSE with random behaviour needs justification since the definition of the KSE does not make reference to any notion that is connected to randomness. I provide this justification for the case of Hamiltonian systems by proving that the KSE is equivalent to a generalized version of Shannon's (...)
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  32. Philippe Gagnon (2010). “What We Have Learnt From Systems Theory About the Things That Nature’s Understanding Achieves”. In Dirk Evers, Antje Jackelén & Taede Smedes (eds.), How do we Know? Understanding in Science and Theology. Forum Scientiarum
    The problem of knowledge has been centred around the study of the content of our consciousness, seeing the world through internal representation, without any satisfactory account of the operations of nature that would be a pre-condition for our own performances in terms of concept efficiency in organizing action externally. If we want to better understand where and how meaning fits in nature, we have to find the proper way to decipher its organization, and account for the fact that we have (...)
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  33. Philippe Gagnon (2002). La Théologie de la Nature Et la Science À l'Ère de L'Information. Cerf.
    The history of the relationship between Christian theology and the natural sciences has been conditioned by the initial decision of the masters of the "first scientific revolution" to disregard any necessary explanatory premiss to account for the constituting organization and the framing of naturally occurring entities. Not paying any attention to hierarchical control, they ended-up disseminating a vision and understanding in which it was no longer possible for a theology of nature to send questions in the direction of the experimental (...)
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  34. Robert M. Galatzer-Levy (2005). Exploring Psychological Complexity Through Dynamic Systems Theory: A Complement to Reductionism. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 28 (2):206-207.
    Dynamic systems theory (DS) provides tools for exploring how simpler elements can interact to produce complex psychological configurations. It may, as Lewis demonstrates, provide means for explicating relationships between two reductionist approaches to overlapping sets of phenomena. The result is a description of psychological phenomena at a level that begins to achieve the richness we would hope to achieve in examining psychological life as it is experienced and explored in psychoanalysis.
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  35. Jorge Galindo (1999). Obituario intelectual: Niklas Luhmnann o la teoria como pasión. Signos Filosóficos 1 (2):199-207.
    "Obituario intelectual:Niklas Luhmann o la teorí­a como pasión" Durante tres décadas Niklas Luhmann se dio a la tarea de elaborar una teorí­a de la sociedad moderna desde la óptica de la teorí­a de los sistemas sociales operativamente clausurados. La empresa llevada a cabo por este pensador alemán lo ha colocado como uno de los más importantes teóricos sociológicos del presente siglo. En el presente escrito, que hace las veces de un pequeño homenaje a Luhmann, fallecido el 6 de noviembre de (...)
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  36. Juan Antonio Gómez García (2009). La estructura filosófica de la postmodernidad político-jurídica. Una hermenéutica estructural de la teoría sistémica de Niklas Luhmann. Anales de la Cátedra Francisco Suárez 43:195 - 215.
    The theory of systems formulated by the sociologist Niklas Luhmann is one of the most notable products theoretical from what has been called post-modernity. His great explanatory capacity makes it very interesting as a model for understanding the social, political and legal reality in the current complex. This work tries to interpret this theory from a structural perspective methodologically, that is, explaining the structure of thought on which rests from a hermeneutics that considers her analogical in relation with the Modernity, (...)
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  37. Sabine Geppert (2000). Niklas Luhmann: The Reconstruction of Modernity. Dissertation, Rutgers the State University of New Jersey - New Brunswick
    Niklas Luhmann ranks among the most distinguished social theorists of the late Twentieth Century. Originally trained as a lawyer, he became Germany's most prolific and influential modern sociologist, writing on a wide range of topics---from law to politics, to economics, ethics, education, and intellectual history. Drawing on diverse intellectual sources from phenomenology to cybernetics, his highly abstract Systems Theory split the scientific community from early on into dedicated followers and stern opponents. The polemic divide in the reception of his work (...)
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  38. Alfred Gierer (1981). Generation of Biological Patterns and Form: Some Physical, Mathematical and Logical Aspects. Progress in Biophysics and Molecular Biology 37 (1):1-48.
    While many different mechanisms contribute to the generation of spatial order in biological development, the formation of morphogenetic fields which in turn direct cell responses giving rise to pattern and form are of major importance and essential for embryogenesis and regeneration. Most likely the fields represent concentration patterns of substances produced by molecular kinetics. Short range autocatalytic activation in conjunction with longer range “lateral” inhibition or depletion effects is capable of generating such patterns (Gierer and Meinhardt, 1972). Non-linear reactions are (...)
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  39. Alfred Gierer & Hans Meinhardt (1972). A Theory of Biological Pattern Formation. Kybernetik, Continued as Biological Cybernetics 12 (1):30 - 39.
    The paper addresses the formation of striking patterns within originally near-homogenous tissue, the process prototypical for embryology, and represented in particularly purist form by cut sections of hydra regenerating, by internal reorganisation of the pre-existing tissue, a complete animal with head and foot. The essential requirements are autocatalytic, self-enhancing activation, combined with inhibitory or depletion effects of wider range – “lateral inhibition”. Not only de-novo-pattern formation, but also well known, striking features of developmental regulation such as induction, inhibition, and proportion (...)
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  40. Matthew E. Gladden (2016). Organizational Posthumanism. In Sapient Circuits and Digitalized Flesh: The Organization as Locus of Technological Posthumanization. Defragmenter Media 93-131.
    Building on existing forms of critical, cultural, biopolitical, and sociopolitical posthumanism, in this text a new framework is developed for understanding and guiding the forces of technologization and posthumanization that are reshaping contemporary organizations. This ‘organizational posthumanism’ is an approach to analyzing, creating, and managing organizations that employs a post-dualistic and post-anthropocentric perspective and which recognizes that emerging technologies will increasingly transform the kinds of members, structures, systems, processes, physical and virtual spaces, and external ecosystems that are available for organizations (...)
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  41. Peter Godfrey-Smith (2000). Explanatory Symmetries, Preformation, and Developmental Systems Theory. Philosophy of Science 67 (3):331.
    Some central ideas associated with developmental systems theory (DST) are outlined for non-specialists. These ideas concern the nature of biological development, the alleged distinction between "genetic" and "environmental" traits, the relations between organism and environment, and evolutionary processes. I also discuss some criticisms of the DST approach.
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  42. Rafael Benevides Barbosa Gomes, Leadership and Social Systems Theory Coming Together.
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  43. A. Gras (1990). The Luhmann File. 2. Some Key Words in the Sociological Theories of Luhmann, Niklas. Cahiers Internationaux de Sociologie 89:389-398.
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  44. Paul E. Griffiths & Russell D. Gray (2005). Discussion: Three Ways to Misunderstand Developmental Systems Theory. [REVIEW] Biology and Philosophy 20 (2-3):417-425.
    Developmental systems theory (DST) is a general theoretical perspective on development, heredity and evolution. It is intended to facilitate the study of interactions between the many factors that influence development without reviving `dichotomous' debates over nature or nurture, gene or environment, biology or culture. Several recent papers have addressed the relationship between DST and the thriving new discipline of evolutionary developmental biology (EDB). The contributions to this literature by evolutionary developmental biologists contain three important misunderstandings of DST.
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  45. Reiner Grundmann (1990). Luhmann Conservative, Luhmann Progressive. European University Institute.
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  46. H. U. Gumbrecht (2001). How is Our Future Contingent?: Reading Luhmann Against Luhmann. Theory, Culture and Society 18 (1):49-58.
    In a first retrospective of Niklas Luhmann's work, it is surprising to see that concepts regarding time and temporality received comparatively little attention. This article starts with the hypothesis that, over the years, Luhmann tended to subsume and deal with topics regarding time under the notion of `contingency'. Identified as the central `Eigenwert' of modern societies, Luhmann seems to suggest that contingency ended up modifying the three classical time dimensions. In the case of the future dimension , the question arises (...)
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  47. Hermann Haken & Helena Knyazeva (2000). Synergetik: zwischen Reduktionismus und Holismus. Philosophia Naturalis 37 (1):21-44.
    Die philosophischen Folgerungen der Synergetik, einer interdisziplinären Theorie der Evolution und Selbstorganisation komplexer nichtlinearer Systeme, werden in diesem Artikel zur Diskussion gestellt. Das sind der weltanschauliche Sinn des Begriffs von der „Nichtlinearität“, die konstruktive Rolle des Chaos in der Evolution, eine neue Vorstellung von diskreten Spektren evolutionärer Wege in komplexen Systemen, die Prinzipien des Aufbaus von komplexem evolutionärem Ganzen, der Integration von komplexen Strukturen, die sich mit verschiedenen Geschwindigkeiten entwickeln, die Methoden des nichtlinearen Managements komplexer Systeme. Die Synergetik entdeckt allgemeingültige (...)
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  48. Francis Halsall (2012). Niklas Luhmann and the Body. The New Bioethics 18 (1):4-20.
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  49. Francis Halsall (2008). Systems of Art: Art, History and Systems Theory. Peter Lang.
    Systems theory understands phenomena in terms of the systems of which they are part. This book is about a systems theoretical approach to thinking about art.
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  50. Paul Harrison (1990). Niklas Luhmann, Love as Passion (Cambridge, Polity, 1986). Thesis Eleven 27 (1):234-239.
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