Talk:Systems theory

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Suggest merge of Systems science with Systems theory[edit]

The introductory sentence in Systems science is:

Systems science is an interdisciplinary field of science that studies the nature of complex systems in nature, society, and science.

And the introductory sentence here in Systems theory is:

Systems theory is an interdisciplinary field that studies the nature of complex systems in nature, society, and science.

If these subjects are in fact the same we only need one article (and we have lots of material for it). If they are different we need to better distinguish them. To encourage a decision I propose a merger. -- (talk) 16:34, 20 August 2009 (UTC)

Maybe Systems science ... could be a redirect to Systems theory... then that is a simple operation where the redirect just goes to Systems theory. - skip sievert (talk) 16:49, 20 August 2009 (UTC)
I removed the merge proposal. You can't propose to merge two articles based on the first sentence. The systems science article is clearly about the field of science, while systems theory is about the specific theory and theories developed in this field. The difference is obvious:
If you think the article doesn't explain this difference enough, then the solution here is to add some more of this explaination.
-- Marcel Douwe Dekker (talk) 17:05, 20 August 2009 (UTC)

As a start I have changed the lead sentence here to:

Systems theory is interdisciplinary theory about the nature of complex systems in nature, society, and science. More specifically, it is a framework by which one can investigate and/or describe any group of objects that work in concert to produce some result.

This should explain the difference. -- Marcel Douwe Dekker (talk) 17:22, 20 August 2009 (UTC)

An other reason to remove the merge proposal is, that both subjects are more then notable to justify separate articles. Now don't get me wrong. I am not saying every thing is fine the way it is. I think there is still a need for mayor improvement, especially in the systems theory, systems science and system thinking articles. I think eventually all three need some mayor rewriting. -- Marcel Douwe Dekker (talk) 17:39, 20 August 2009 (UTC)

OK. I'm obviously no expert here. But if systems theory is the collection of theories regarding systems science, you really need a reference back to systems science in the first sentence or two of this article. I'll leave it to you guys. -- (talk) 17:50, 20 August 2009 (UTC)
I think you did made an important point, that the both introductions are/were too alike, which could be confusing. The terms "systems theory" and "systems thinking" are also sometimes used as synonym of "systems science". I guess you could say "systems science" and "systems theory" are related like natural science and physics.
Now I added your suggestion to the to-do list, although I am not so sure it should be mentions in the first sentence? Or mentioning it in the first sentence will completely explain. Maybe it would be nice to have a separate section explaining the difference...!? -- Marcel Douwe Dekker (talk) 19:29, 20 August 2009 (UTC)
Probably anywhere in the lead would be good as to breaking down the finer points, with the other article connectors doing that with brief intros to them creatively introducing the different basic concepts in a sentence. skip sievert (talk) 20:49, 20 August 2009 (UTC)
If you have an idea how to proceed, just go ahead. -- Marcel Douwe Dekker (talk) 21:10, 20 August 2009 (UTC)
I'd rather you did Mdd, if you feel like it. I am over whelmed with the articles I am partially contributing to now, though I have this one on my watch list because of interest. The leads in all these mentioned are one big paragraph. The leads could be 2 or 3 paragraphs... with a little expanded info in them... like an explanatory thing and article link with more info from the article body included in summary form. I do not think it is a huge big deal since the article links in the See also section contain the links to the article pages in discussion, but expanding and making the distinctions would probably improve the article over all. With the improvements you made Mdd, the basic difference is now shown, so mostly the issue is pretty resolved I think. A bigger more interesting lead... another paragraph or two seems like a good idea for future reference though skip sievert (talk) 21:51, 20 August 2009 (UTC)

Hi all. I'm impressed by the above discussion -- looking forward to seeing these improvements. I just wanted to comment that after reading this article I'm still not very clear on what systems theory really is. The article seems rather heavy on historical details and ontological circumscription, and rather light on explaining the central concept itself. Is it possible to add even a few sentences and maybe a simple example at the beginning to explain more what systems theory is? How does this new perspective change the way systems are described? What exactly is the system of description? etc. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Tombleyboo (talkcontribs) 22:21, 7 September 2009 (UTC)

Copy-paste registration[edit]

This edit has text copy/paste the systems psychology article. -- Mdd (talk) 21:41, 19 October 2009 (UTC)

Suggested reversal of redirection from System theory to Systems theory[edit]

System theory is in my opinion the gramatically more correct expression, even if Systems theory might be more wiedely used.

As a support for this opinion here a quote from a recent book by Aloisius Louie, former student of eminent system scientist Robert Rosen: (Aloisius Louie, 2009, "Beyond Life Itself" p. 85/86)

4.3 “Systems [sic] Theory” Consider the terms ‘theory of systems’ and ‘system theory’ in the previous paragraph; in particular, note the singular form system in the latter: not “systems theory”. This last usage is a solecism that became accepted when it had been repeated often enough, a very example of ‘accumulated wrongs become right’. Recall that von Bertalanffy’s masterwork is called General System Theory. (In some of his later writings, the term “systems theory” did occasionally appear. I have in my collection some copies of his original typescripts, in which he had written “system theory”, but in the published versions they mysteriously mutated to “systems theory” — evidence of the handiwork of an over-zealous copy editor, perhaps...) Just think of ‘set theory’, ‘group theory’, ‘number theory’, ‘category theory’, etc. Of course one studies more than one object in each subject! Indeed, one would say in the possessive ‘theory of sets’, ‘theory of groups’, ‘theory of numbers’, ‘theory of categories’, ...; one says ‘theory of systems’ for that matter. But the point is that when the noun of a mathematical object (or indeed any noun) is used as adjective, one does not use the plural form.

(end of quote)

thus systems theory should redirect to system theory and not vice versa.

Since I dont know how to edit the article(s) to that effect, and I dont want to mess anything up, I ask any of the experts to please do that. thank you. (talk) 09:19, 11 January 2010 (UTC)


I think the word Lehre is fairly fuzzy, and perhaps deliberately so, in German, but I believe that the dogmatic or doctrinal aspect is usually present somewhere in the term, however distateful thinking Germans may find this. Dogma has an unpleasant set of associations, largely arising from its use in connection with religious belief. Doctrine is not much better. Lehre has overtones of intellectual authority, which the average German university student in my experience seems to find not unattractive. Pamour ([[User talk:Pamour|talk]]) 12:50, 25 January 2010 (UTC)

Agreed. It's the German equivalent of Hopi expressions of time or Smilla's 15000 words for snow. Language expresses culture, or it's nothing, I suppose. (talk) 09:43, 18 October 2014 (UTC)

Science is not a theory[edit]

The science of systems is far greater than the theory of systems. This argument about combining science with theory existed from the beginning and still is here. The article is a great improvement from the beginning,but a lot of work needs to be done about how it began. It is incorrect to assign the term "inter..." to all systems when "trans... is more accurate. Check your own definitions. Also it is incorrect to assume that simple systems are not part of systems theory. (talk) 23:47, 14 April 2010 (UTC)

Contradictions w.r.t. Bertalanffy's GST[edit]

The Contradiction[edit]

I posit that the term "" in the introduction is inconsistent with GST as described in Bertallanfy's seminal book on the subject.

The scientific utility of examining systems as a series of "independent" parts is granted by Bertalanffy without reservation. But to describe System Theory, as it is in the first sentence, does not distinguish it from the way the majority of science was done then and now; namely, the study of systems as a litany of independent parts, statistically and/or functionally related to other parts posteriori. Furthermore, the emphasis on "independence" expressly contradicts the main thesis of Bertalanffy's book, GST; namely, that to understand open systems, the parts can not be solely examined as independent events. A quote from GST (p.36-37; revised paperback edition) to bolster this point:

"Aims of General System Theory

"...While in the past, science tried to explain observable phenomena by reducing them to an interplay of elementary units investigatable independently of each other, conceptions appear in contemporary science that are concerned with what is somewhat vaguely termed 'wholeness,' i.e., problems of organization, phenomena not resolvable into local events, dynamic interaction manifest in the difference of behavior of parts when isolated or in a higher configuration, etc.; in short, 'systems' of various orders not understandable by investigation of their respective parts in isolation."


"These considerations lead to the postulate of a new scientific discipline which we call general system theory. Its subject matter is formulation of principles that are valid for 'systems' in general, whatever the nature of their component elements and the relations or 'forces' between them.
"General system theory, therefore, is a general science of 'wholeness' which up till now was considered a vague, hazy, and semi-metaphysical concept."

Bertalanffy goes on to more rigorously define "wholeness" in chapter 3 by contrasting how classical science uses systems of differential equations for closed systems from how a general system approach would have to be modeled for open systems; the main point being the "dependence" of "parts" a priori in systems in general. Again, he does not disparage reductionism as it is clearly a useful means of inquiry for separable systems. Never the less, GST (per Bertalanffy) is not concerned with rehashing what science has already mastered. It is focused on leveraging the common denominators between sciences to tackle general open systems, which to date are not well understood by independent parts and closed feedback loops.

Therefore, I suggest the word "independent" be removed from the very first sentence.

System vs. systems[edit]

"System Theory" is preferable because it pre-supposes that systems are not independent. An inter-dependent organization of systems, parts, or elements is itself one single system. And this is the focus of System Theory (specifically, General System Theory). Otherwise, it is not distinguished from any other scientific project, whether physics, biology, or chemistry; all of which predominantly and usefully examine the world as a litany of one-to-one correlated closed systems. However, System Theory proper, is concerned with the overlapping inter-dependent relation between all these sub-domains and how they manifest themselves in one open system, whose behavior is not understood by its parts alone.

Cheers, Wolfworks (talk) 03:01, 15 July 2010 (UTC)

To introduce myself[edit]

Far too many people find science incomprehensible--especially when it's described in the specialized vocabulary specific to each field. Not infrequently scientists in other fields can't follow it, and when the writing lacks clarity even people within the field don't fully grasp the meaning. I have witnessed this ad nauseum.
To give an example. In science the word "theory" is used somewhat like "theorem" is in geometry--as a formal, widely accepted explanation. It's used in contrast as "theory vs. hypothesis," the latter a working theory in the process of being tested. And there is theoretical vs. clinical work/conceptual vs. practical. For lay people the word "theory" is used in contrast with "reality"; they understand the meaning of theory as closer to hypothesis. The result is miscommunication. Therefore, in the interest of clarity I'm joining your efforts. I'm not a science journalist, not even a writer, but in our era systems theory in its various forms is especially important for the general population to understand. P.S. Good, you have a photo of Margaret Mead, but at that time she was married to Gregory Bateson and he was the one who was most focused on systems theory--see his book, Steps to an Ecology of Mind.[User:Margaret9mary|Margaret9mary]] (talk) 21:20, 6 February 2011 (UTC)Margaret9mary (talk) 21:56, 6 February 2011 (UTC)

I undid your revision because it wasn't done in accordance with the ways of the encyclopaedia. You can't just start your own text here disregarding everything already written in the article. -- Mdd (talk) 22:15, 6 February 2011 (UTC)
I realize I just jumped in. But where to start? I want to request that the article be written for people outside the field of specialty. For many years systems theory has been incomprehensible for most people and the WP article as it stands is incomprehensible for college level students. Why is it so difficult to explain something so common in nature? Today systems theory is urgently needed for understanding any discussion concerning climate destabilization. And in 1969 John Bowlby published his book, Attachment (on the biological foundations of human relations), his concept grounded in systems theory; 40 years later, scores of books written on the subject, but systems theory has been left out. Gregory Bateson spent his last 9 years trying to develop epistemology as a unified explanation of systems theory, but couldn't complete it. Perhaps the problem is that language itself is a left-brain, linear function, and classical science is very strongly so. But systems theory involves nonlinear thinking (see the first 8 pages of Lawrence Bale. Gregory Bateson, Cybernetics and the Social/Behavioral Sciences for a good description comparing the two). What I'm asking is for a comprehensible explanation of systems theory. P.S. I am a right-brained, nonlinear thinker. After 65 years of waiting I am willing to speak up. The examples I gave were given by the two gentlemen listed above. The physiology teacher here at the college loaned me his text which says, "the principle of homeostasis is of modern physiology" (talk) 23:28, 6 February 2011 (UTC)Margaret9mary (talk) 23:30, 6 February 2011 (UTC) theory involves nonlinear thinking... Does that mean it a specialized skill, not accessible to the layman? Or alternately, do the narrow strictures of a conventional technical education tend to obstruct one's ability to understand or accept systems theory? (talk) 12:44, 18 October 2014 (UTC)
I have no answers, but I do know a few things:
  • There are already two more simple versions in Wikibooks and in the Simple Wikipedia
  • I think your first attempt didn't only just jumped in. It also doesn't last because it was trying to simplify things to much.
  • If you want to rewrite a subject like this, and really make some improvement, you should rely on reliable sources... There is the possibility to start collecting possible quotes in a Wikiquote article.
Now if you want to proceed rewriting this article, I would propose you start making a draft version in your own userspace. -- Mdd (talk) 00:07, 7 February 2011 (UTC)

A Complex system is like a Tennis Match[edit]

I checked Wikibooks and Simple WP. Something essential is still missing.
Gregory Bateson complained that people often didn't understand him (see Intro to Steps to an Ecology of Mind) and it isn't surprising; explaining right-brain thinking with left-brain language is difficult ("Language commonly stresses only one side of any interaction"). Bateson and others tried but couldn't produce a brief description of systems that makes it clear. Cross-disciplinary discriptions tend to go back and forth betweeen various ideas and fields and they can be hard to follow. But, as Bateson said, this reminds me of a story--(because stories can better describe systems theory).
It's like trying to describe a fast-paced tennis match--
You can't watch just one player and follow the game.
You can't be very precise about where each player is standing because they're constantly moving.
You watch the fast-moving ball and the players relationship to it.
A Complex system is like the two tennis players and the ball moving. ...more on this later.
Lawrence Bale describes, in Gregory Bateson: Cybernetics and the social behavioral sciences by Lawrence S. Bale, Ph.D.: First Published in: Cybernetics & Human Knowing: A Journal of Second Order Cybernetics & Cyber-Semiotics, Vol. 3 no. 1 (1995), pp. 27–45, how classical science reduces a subject to two variables to study it with greater precision. This requirement makes it impossible for science to study a complex system with many variables.
Science broke things down into pieces to study them and forgot to put the pieces back together again.Margaret9mary (talk) 01:18, 10 February 2011 (UTC)Margaret9mary (talk) 02:38, 10 February 2011 (UTC)

Towards a definition of a system in systems theory[edit]

This article on Systems theory needs to begin with a definition of what systems are. "System" is a word widely used and systems theory refers specifically to self-regulating systems. They are self-regulated through feedback.etc.Margaret9mary (talk) 22:32, 11 February 2011 (UTC)

I haven't undone your last two edits, but I really opose to this kind of POV. Systems theory is not specifically about self-regulating systems. But you got a point that systems theory isn't about all possible systems either.
I once created List of types of systems theory, and I guess you could say that every theory is about a specific kind of systems. However, making these kind of generalization should be considered OR and should be avoided as well. -- Mdd (talk) 01:07, 12 February 2011 (UTC)
Ludwig von Bertalanffy's theory is about self-regulating systems in nature. John Bowlby speaks of behavioral systems functioning through "feedback control of behavior." Gregory Bateson dedicated the final years of his life to seeking a unifying theory of cybernetics/information theory/communication theory/complex systems theory, etc.
I don't know everything there is to know of systems listed under systems theory, but this is not my "POV" but theirs. If you would, please take a look at the first 8 pages of this article: Gregory Bateson: Cybernetics and the social behavioral sciences by Lawrence S. Bale, Ph.D.: First Published in: Cybernetics & Human Knowing: A Journal of Second Order Cybernetics & Cyber-Semiotics, Vol. 3 no. 1 (1995), pp. 27–45. --and let me know what you think....Margaret9mary (talk) 01:50, 15 February 2011 (UTC)
A heroic attempt to define what has as many definitions as there are practitioners. As such this is a 'good' article. However, in my practical experience as a control systems engineer 'systems thinking' has all too often been used simply to provide justification for the innumerate to overrule the numerate and the technically naive to overrule the erudite, and as a fig leaf for ignorance. Where there is neither empirical evidence nor mathematical proof, we are not dealing with science or theory at all, merely hocus-pocus.Gordon Vigurs (talk) 09:17, 18 June 2011 (UTC)
You scored a hit! And I would add that while one needs people who think across disciplines, one can't recognize such polymath individuals by agreeing to lower the tennis-net to half-mast. (talk) 10:04, 18 October 2014 (UTC)

Original Research: "Biomatrix systems theory"[edit]

The section "Biomatrix systems theory" has been flagged as WP:NOR since it does not rely on wide scientific publications. In fact, the only publication cited (REF #29: "Dostal, Elisabeth (2005)") dates from 2005 and reports only 19 citations on Google Scholar as of 29 April 2013 (mainly own citations from the same University). This section is under WP:PROD.

Ledjazz (talk) 14:31, 29 April 2013 (UTC)

Further reading[edit]

This section has grown out of control, so I have moved it out of the article into this talk page. Please see Wikipedia:Further reading and put only entries that are topical, reliable and balanced, and please, keep the section limited in size. "Wikipedia is not a catalogue of all existing works." Please, if you add an entry back into the article, motivate why. Thank you! Lova Falk talk 07:50, 29 May 2013 (UTC)

  • Russell L. Ackoff (1978). The art of problem solving. New York: Wiley.
  • Ash, M.G. (1992). "Cultural Contexts and Scientific Change in Psychology: Kurt Lewin in Iowa." American Psychologist, Vol. 47, No. 2, pp. 198–207.
  • Kenneth D. Bailey (1994). Sociology and the New Systems Theory: Toward a Theoretical Synthesis. New York: State of New York Press.
  • Béla H. Bánáthy (1991) Systems Design of Education. Englewood Cliffs: Educational Technology Publications
  • Béla H. Bánáthy (1992) A Systems View of Education. Englewood Cliffs: Educational Technology Publications.
  • Béla H. Bánáthy (1996) Designing Social Systems in a Changing World New York Plenum
  • Béla H. Bánáthy (1997) "A Taste of Systemics", The Primer Project, Retrieved May 14, (2007)
  • Gregory Bateson (1979). Mind and nature: A necessary unity. New York: Ballantine
  • Bausch, Kenneth C. (2001) The Emerging Consensus in Social Systems Theory, Kluwer Academic New York
  • Ludwig von Bertalanffy (1950) "An Outline of General System Theory." British Journal for the Philosophy of Science Vol. 1, No. 2
  • Ludwig von Bertalanffy (1955). "An Essay on the Relativity of Categories." Philosophy of Science, Vol. 22, No. 4, pp. 243–263.
  • Ludwig von Bertalanffy (1968). Organismic Psychology and Systems Theory. Worchester: Clark University Press.
  • Ludwig von Bertalanffy (1968) General System Theory: Foundations, Development, Applications New York: George Braziller
  • Ludwig von Bertalanffy (1974). Perspectives on General System Theory Edited by Edgar Taschdjian. George Braziller, New York.
  • Walter F. Buckley (1967). Sociology and Modern Systems Theory. New Jersey: Englewood Cliffs.
  • Mario Bunge (1979) Treatise on Basic Philosophy, Volume 4. Ontology II A World of Systems. Dordrecht, Netherlands: D. Reidel.
  • Fritjof Capra (1997). The Web of Life-A New Scientific Understanding of Living Systems, Anchor
  • Peter Checkland (1981). Systems thinking, Systems practice. New York: Wiley.
  • Peter Checkland P. 1997. Systems Thinking, Systems Practice. Chichester: John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
  • C. West Churchman (1968). The systems approach. New York: Laurel.
  • C. West Churchman (1971). The design of inquiring systems. New York: Basic Books.
  • Peter Corning (1983) The Synergism Hupothesis: A Theory of Progressive Evolution. New York: McGraw Hill
  • Davidson, Mark. (1983). Uncommon Sense: The Life and Thought of Ludwig von Bertalanffy, Father of General Systems Theory. Los Angeles: J.P. Tarcher, Inc.
  • Dostal, E. (2005). Biomatrix: A Systems Approach to Organisational and Societal Change. South Africa: BiomatrixWeb.
  • Durand, D (1979) La systémique, Presses Universitaires de France
  • Robert L. Flood (1999). Rethinking the Fifth Discipline: Learning within the unknowable. London: Routledge.
  • Charles François. (2004). Encyclopedia of Systems and Cybernetics, Introducing the 2nd Volume:
  • Herman Kahn (1956). Techniques of System Analysis, Rand Corporation
  • Ervin László (1995). The Interconnected Universe. New Jersey, World Scientific.
  • Charles François (1999). "Systemics and Cybernetics in a Historical Perspective"
  • Erich Jantsch (1980). The Self Organizing Universe. New York: Pergamon.
  • Gennady Gorelik (1975) "Reemergence of Bogdanov's Tektology" in. Soviet Studies of Organization, Academy of Management Journal. 18/2, p. 345–357
  • Debora Hammond (2003). The Science of Synthesis. Colorado: University of Colorado Press.
  • Diederich Hinrichsen and Pritchard, A.J. (2005) Mathematical Systems Theory New York: Springer. ISBN 978-3-540-44125-0
  • David Hull (1970). "Systemic Dynamic Social Theory." Sociological Quarterly, Vol. 11, Issue 3, pp. 351–363.
  • Hyötyniemi, Heikki (2006). Neocybernetics in Biological Systems. Espoo: Helsinki University of Technology, Control Engineering Laboratory.
  • Michael C. Jackson (2000). Systems Approaches to Management. London: Springer.
  • George J. Klir (1969). An Approach to General Systems Theory. New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold Company.
  • Ervin László (1972). The Systems View of the World. New York: George Brazilier.
  • Ervin László (1972a). The systems view of the world. The natural philosophy of the new developments in the sciences. New York: George Brazillier. ISBN 0-8076-0636-7
  • Ervin László(1972b). Introduction to systems philosophy. Toward a new paradigm of contemporary thought. San Francisco: Harper.
  • Ervin László (1996). The Systems View of the World. Hampton Press, NJ. (ISBN 1-57273-053-6).
  • Lemkow, A. (1995) The Wholeness Principle: Dynamics of Unity Within Science, Religion & Society. Quest Books, Wheaton.
  • Niklas Luhmann (1996) Social Systems Stanford University Press, Palo Alto, CA
  • Mattessich, R. (1978) Instrumental Reasoning and Systems Methodology: An Epistemology of the Applied and Social Sciences. Reidel, Boston
  • Minati, Gianfranco. Collen, Arne. (1997) Introduction to Systemics Eagleye books. ISBN 0-924025-06-9
  • Montuori, A. (1989). Evolutionary Competence. Creating the Future. Amsterdam: Gieben.
  • Morin, E. (2008). On Complexity. Cresskill, NJ: Hampton Press.
  • Howard T. Odum (1994) Ecological and General Systems: An introduction to systems ecology, Colorado University Press, Colorado.
  • Olmeda, Christopher J. (1998). Health Informatics: Concepts of Information Technology in Health and Human Services. Delfin Press. ISBN 0-9821442-1-0
  • Owens, R.G. (2004). Organizational Behavior in Education: Adaptive Leadership and School Reform, Eighth Edition. Boston: Pearson Education, Inc.
  • Pharaoh, M.C. (online). Looking to systems theory for a reductive explanation of phenomenal experience and evolutionary foundations for higher order thought Retrieved Dec.14 2007.
  • Provost Jr., Wallace (1984) "Science as Paradigmatic Complexity." International Journal of General Systems
  • Pouvreau, David (2013). Une histoire de la 'systémologie générale' de Ludwig von Bertalanffy - Généalogie, genèse, actualisation et postérité d'un projet herméneutique Doctoral Thesis, Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales (EHESS), Paris :
  • Rugai, Nick (2013). Computational Epistemology: From Reality to Wisdom, Second Edition, Book, Lulu Press
  • Schein, E.H. (1980). Organizational Psychology, Third Edition. New Jersey: Prentice-Hall.
  • Peter Senge (1990). The Fifth Discipline. The art and practice of the learning organization. New York: Doubleday.
  • Peter Senge, Ed. (2000). Schools That Learn: A Fifth Discipline Fieldbook for Educators, Parents, and Everyone Who Cares About Education. New York: Doubleday Dell Publishing Group.
  • Graeme Snooks (2008). "A general theory of complex living systems: Exploring the demand side of dynamics", Complexity,13: 12-20.
  • Steiss, A.W. (1967). Urban Systems Dynamics. Toronto: Lexington Books.
  • Gerald Weinberg. (1975). An Introduction to General Systems Thinking (1975 ed., Wiley-Interscience) (2001 ed. Dorset House).
  • Norbert Wiener (1967). The human use of human beings. Cybernetics and Society. New York: Avon.
  • Young, O. R. (1964) “A Survey of General Systems Theory”, General Systems, vol. 9, p. 61–80.

Further comment[edit]

Hi Lova Falk, some time ago I have given this some reconsideration, and I think there are ways to get control back here. We could think about criteria for inclusion. For example (see here) whether of not to:

  1. Included a limited number of publications, with the highest number of citations
  2. Excluded: Publications less known/cited from same author
  3. Excluded: Publications with no info available
  4. Excluded: Foreign publication
  5. Excluded: Publications Not directly related

Now if we wish, as you stated to "put only entries that are topical, reliable and balanced, and please, keep the section limited in size", we could choose for this collection of 10 publications. -- Mdd (talk) 21:55, 15 August 2013 (UTC)

 Done A selection of high cited publications is added back now, see here. -- Mdd (talk) 21:50, 26 November 2013 (UTC)

Second sentence is ...[edit]

> The term does not yet have a well-established, precise meaning, but systems theory can reasonably be considered a specialization of systems thinking, a generalization of systems science, a systems approach.

What? That is an utterly useless sentence. CraigWyllie (talk) 01:22, 2 July 2013 (UTC)

I disagree, it is actually a necessary concession. Without it, the article might seem overly precise, more precise than it really is or can be. (talk) 09:57, 18 October 2014 (UTC) concession to

Margaret Mead[edit]

"Margaret Mead was an influential figure in systems theory". So says the caption to her photo, but on what basis? Very little I think, apart from her attending one or two cybernetics conferences. Macdonald-ross (talk) 12:41, 28 October 2013 (UTC)

Agreed. This article seems to be an effort to raise the status of certain ideas or authors by "adhesion" of famous figures and a huge list of supposed participants. Next we'll be hearing that Einstein, Darwin, and Ludwig Lavater were all closet systematologists who spoke an isomorphic scientific language, each anticipating the other. You can increase the number of outlinks of a webpage without limit, but you can't force anybody to link in. (talk) 09:55, 18 October 2014 (UTC)

Re Grey box completion and validation[edit]

“See also“ “Grey box completion and validation“ has been removed anonymously without explanation from this and several other topics. Following advice from Wikipedia if there are no objections (please provide your name and reasons), I plan to reinstate the reference in a weeks time.

The removed reference provides techniques for developing system models and hence is relevant. In particular most models are incomplete (i.e. a grey box) and thus need completion and validation. This reference seems to be within the appropriate content of the “See also” section see Wikipedia:Manual_of_Style/Layout#See_also_section.

BillWhiten (talk) 05:28, 22 March 2015 (UTC)

@BillWhiten: I support the inclusion of Grey box model. Jonpatterns (talk) 10:49, 22 April 2015 (UTC)

Link to interaction![edit]

Warning: I wrote a book about interaction, and can be an evil publicist, so I don't edit the page directly.

Interaction is a field of study of the systems theory ("In modern science, dynamic interaction is the basic problem in all fields, and its general principles will have to be formulated in general General Systems Theory.", —Ludwig von Bertalanffy, 1968, General Systems Theory-), so it should have a link to it on its definition, ex: ... Systems in nature communicate between them holding interaction. Interactions that may provide them of order or chaos in specific dimensional sets (a company earns money from interaction sets, so it may use it to hire more employees, etc).

Rodolfoap (talk) 06:45, 11 November 2015 (UTC)


In the "History" section I find the following statements:

John von Neumann discovered cellular automata and self-reproducing systems, again with only pencil and paper. Aleksandr Lyapunov and Jules Henri Poincaré worked on the foundations of chaos theory without any computer at all.

To me that reads a little "fan worshipy", and seems out of place in an encyclopedic article. Lots of people discovered lots of impressive things without computers, and with only pencil and paper: geometry; calculus; relativity theory; quantum mechanics; etc. It is not clear why the particular tools used -- or not used -- by von Neumann or Poincare are any more significant than their employment or absence in any of those other discoveries. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:30, 19 November 2015 (UTC)

Agreed its commentary and should be removed ----Snowded TALK 07:33, 20 November 2015 (UTC)

Merge "discussion"[edit]

There is no discussion on the Systems science talk page regarding the merge tag, and there is no discussion here regarding it more recent than 2009. The tag was only updated by a bot and I am unclear why the system keeps it current automatically rather than deleting it automatically. The "merge discussion" here barely mentioned the merge proposal. Instead it focussed, in detail, on the overall quality of the article. So, as no reasoning or support has been put forward I've removed the tags from both pages. Judging the merge proposition from the discussion here it seems to me that a merge would be the worst possible way forward for these articles. Not only has no robust rational FOR it been put forward but the arguments that have been show the considerable and fundamental disagreement about what the terms mean vs. what in some "ideal world" they perhaps should mean. There ARE different meanings for the terms and irrespective of how this comes to be addressed in my opion there should be an article that focuses on the theory as proposed originally by von Bertalanffy and developed from that. This article should be that one. Currently the merge proposal seems to be the result of that group of Wiki authors enamoured of an "ideal" taxonomy and ontology of "knowledge" and who lobby for setting out this rather than the actual and messy truth of the history of "ideas". LookingGlass (talk) 11:18, 20 July 2016 (UTC)

Pseudo reverence[edit]

I have rewritten the tangled sentences around the term pseudoscience. Lazlo's introduction (see:, in Perspectives on General System Theory, did not accord with its use in the article. I have edited the sentence after the term to accord with the entry on the FullWiki ( which seems almost identical to that here anyway. I've added back Laslo's intent with respect to the word pseudoscience in his own words. Or tried to! The article still witnesses the scars of the battle between idealists and researchers. LookingGlass (talk) 12:10, 20 July 2016 (UTC)