This work represents Niklas Luhmann's definitive application of systems theory to the understanding of law. In it Luhmann reviews past attempts to create a theory of law and argues they all fail to capture how law operates in modern society. He presents an alternative, critical theory through analysing law as a system of communication.
Niklas Luhmann is widely recognized as one of the most original thinkers in the social sciences today. This major new work further develops the theories of the author by offering a challenging analysis of the relationship between society and the environment. Luhmann extends the concept of "ecology" to refer to any analysis that looks at connections between social systems and the surrounding environment. He traces the development of the notion of "environment" from the medieval idea--which encompasses both human and natural (...) systems--to our modern definition, which separates social systems from the external environment. In Luhmann's thought, human beings form part of the environment, while social systems consist only of communications. Utilizing this distinctive theoretical perspective, Luhmann presents a comprehensive catalog of society's reactions to environmental problems. He investigates the spheres of the economy, law, science, politics, religion, and education to show how these areas relate to environmental issues. Ecological Communication is an important work that critically examines claims central to our society--claims to modernity and rationality. It will be of great importance to scholars and students in sociology, political science, philosophy, anthropology, and law. (shrink)
Trotz Luhmanns und Bourdieus Grundlagenwerke hat die Soziologie die empirische Erforschung und theoretische Analyse der Kunst weitgehend vernachlässigt. Ein soziologisch fundierter aktueller Aufriss des Kunstsystems liegt nicht vor. Einen Versuch dazu unternimmt Müller-Jentsch mit dieser Publikation, die fokussiert auf die soziologischen Begriffe von Organisation, Profession und Strategie Beiträge zu einer empirisch gerichteten Soziologie des Kunstsystems versammelt.
The paper reconstructs the evolution process of scientific knowledge. The evolution theory has been applied hitherto exclusively to the famous reference problem. It the eye would be incapable seeing something really available it could not establish itself it the reality as such evolutional achievement. Contrary to this view the author states that the cognitive apparatus could survive not due to their achievements in the representations of the external world but rather due to their selfreproductive capabilities. By extrapolation of this view (...) on the level of the epistemology it means that the knowledge itself selects that it can know on the base of that it already knows. The author suggests the principles of such cognitive evolution - the mechanisms of variety, selection and restabilization. The mechanism of variety concerns exclusively some particular operations. Something innovative which has been recently created would occasionally be uttered, suggested, described, and probably printed under sole condition that it is apprehensible and writable. The selection is always based on some structures i.e. on the expectations of some reproductive use of some meaning affitudes. Only the structures can be marked out symbolically: applied to the science it means that they are marked as the true or the false ones. Finely, the stabilization level consists in the continuality of the autopoesis of the scientific communication. (shrink)
Observing is a paradoxical operation: a duality as unity, and a distinction between distinguishing and indicating, that is, a distinction that is repeated in itself. One can speak of scientific observation only if such an operation of distinguishing- indication is achieved through concepts. If one observes observation one cannot avoid observing the paradox. When a second-order observer wants to know how the observed observer observes, it has to observe how the observed observer deals with its own paradox, how it de-paradoxizes (...) the paradox. Even scientific communication is an actualization of the paradox of observation, and therefore it is in principle incapable of dealing with logic. A theory of scientific observation should then be concerned with how science has nevertheless managed. The point comes to be: who observes with the aid of the concept of communication, and how does it observe? (shrink)
Ever since the inception of its academic career, sociology has approached its subject-matter in two different ways; one positivist, the other critical. Important theories, such as those of Karl Marx or Emile Durkheim, have always emphasized either one of these perspectives, but could never completely ignore the other one. The result was that as an empirical science, sociology has been interested in latent structures, while as critical theory, it has pointed out that social reality is not what it seems to (...) be. Therefore, all attempts at building a unified theory of society on the basis of the critical/positivist distinction had to lead into the paradox of treating appearance and reality, or latent and manifest structures, as one and the same thing. This situation is now changing in radical ways which sociology has yet to appreciate. I am referring to recent interdisciplinary discussions about theories of self-referential systems, autopoietic system closure, the second-order cybernetics of observing systems, and constructivist epistemology and information processing. We can draw upon these recent discussions in order to understand society as a self-observing system that defines its own identity while, at the same time, leaving an "unmarked space" for the possibility to describe society in quite different ways. (shrink)
The article is an edited version of a set of notes written by Luhmann on poetry and social theory. It is a series of reflections on different paradoxical forms of communication, mainly exploring notions of incommunicability, silence and latency. The article also deals with poetry, religion and the relationship between consciousness and communication. Luhmann's notes have appeared in their original form in German in the journal Soziale Systeme.
Germany's leading contemporary social theorist provides a definitive analysis of art as a social and perceptual system which not only represents an important intellectual step in discussions of art but also an important advance in systems theory. Luhmann insists on the radical incommensurability between psychic systems (perception) and social systems (communication). Art is a special kind of communication that operates at the boundary between the social system and consciousness in ways that profoundly irritate communication while remaining strictly internal to the (...) social. Each chapter elaborates a particular aspect of the general problem of art's status as a social system. The book draws on a vast body of research in the social sciences, phenomenology, evolutionary biology, cybernetics, and information theory, combined with an intimate knowledge of art history, literature, aesthetics, and contemporary literary theory. The book also engages virtually every major theorist of art and aesthetics from Baumgarten to Derrida. (shrink)
L’union des deux thèmes hétérogènes « capitalisme » et « utopie », provient d’une description des conséquences d’une différenciation fonctionnelle du système de la société. Si par « capitalisme » on entend la description d’une société possédant un système économique différencié et autonome quant à ses opérations, la question est de savoir comment le système politique peut coexister à côté de lui. Par l’utopie. L’utopie politique, qui permet d’assurer la coexistence des deux systèmes, se nomme « économie sociale de marché (...) ». Mais cette utopie n’est plus définie comme modèle idéal permettant une critique de la société actuelle, c’est une composante de l’autodescription du système, une forme de réplication, dans le système politique lui-même, du caractère non maîtrisable de la société. (shrink)