Release | The open theory and its enemy

Dr. Steffen Roth

Roth S. (2019), The open theory and its enemy: Implicit moralisation as epistemological obstacle for general systems theory, Systems Research and Behavioral Science, Vol. 36 No. 3, 1-8 [SSCI .860, Scopus, CABS**].

Article available for download here.

Abstract: Ludwig von Bertalanffy decisively shaped open systems theory as challenge and alternative to the then‐dominant theories of closed systems. This strategic positioning and its success have abetted frequent and frequently implicit moralisations of openness and closeness. In this article, we draw on the concept of autopoietically closed systems to show that the prevailing affirmative bias to openness constitutes an epistemological obstacle to the advancement of general systems theory. We demonstrate how this obstacle can be removed by tetralemmatic decision programmes that facilitate the management of dilemmatic co‐occurrences of and trade‐offs between openness and closeness.

Keywords: autopoietic systems, Bertalanffy, epistemological obstacles, general systems theory, Luhmann, open systems, tetralemma

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