System Theory

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Systems theory: a scientific/philosophical approach and set of concepts, rather than a theory, for the transdisciplinary study of complex phenomena. It was first proposed by the biologist Ludwig von Bertalanffy in the 1940's (anthology: "General Systems Theory", 1968), as a reaction against scientific reductionism*. Rather than reducing a phenomenon (say, the human body) to a collection of elements or parts (say, the organs or cells), systems theory focuses on the relations and interactions between the parts, which connect them into a whole (see holism*). The particular arrangement of…show more content…
This difference in emphasis can be seen in the various branches of Systems Theory and their use of the term "system". General Systems Theory, founded by Ludwig von Bertalanffy [13], was an attempt to revive a view of Unified Science through the study of the attributes and properties common to all real systems, con- ceived of as physical processes and objects. He emphasized in par- ticular that, in contrast to the then prevalent prejudice in physical science, real systems are open to, and exist in complex hierarchical relations with, their environments; and that by continual Evolution, qualitatively new properties can appear through Emergence. This view is related to the evolutionary philosophy of Spencer [11], Berg- son [3], and de Chardin [4], and later systems philosophical work of Laszlo [8], Turchin [12], and Jantsch [6]. Mathematical Systems Theory derives from the modeling view of Systems Theory, which sees a system as a (usually mathematical) model of a bounded area of the universe. This work arose from iso- morphies developed between models of electrical circuit systems and other physical systems, and is exemplified by the mathematical the- ories of Zadeh [15], Ashby [1, 2], Mesarovic [9], Rosen [10], and Klir [7]. This view is related to philosophical Constructivism, which sees ___________________________* PESP, Free
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