Systems theory


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Photo: ⓒ Erik Zika



System theory describes systems from the relationships between them.  It offers the most general way to describe complex systems and contains all of the key concepts such as “system”, “surroundings”, “information”, “self-regulation”, “inner and outer boundaries” and so on. System theory is at the same time the roof under which other structural sciences such as cybernetics, complexity theory, information theory, chaos theory and others can be combined to give a unified, general theory.

System theory was founded by the biophysicist Ludwig von Bertalanffy. It has exerted an influence upon many other disciplines, above all sociology, in which its best-known application has been in the “sociological system theory” propounded by Niklas Luhmann.