Publication 4720

Drackab M. & Pouvreau D. (2015) On the history of Ludwig von Bertalanffy’s “General Systemology”, and on its relationship to cybernetics. Part III: Convergences and divergences. International Journal of General Systems 44(5): 1–49. Fulltext at https://cepa.info/4720
Bertalanffy’s so-called “general system theory” (GST) and cybernetics were and are often confused: this calls for clarification. In this article, Bertalanffy’s conceptions and ideas are compared with those developed in cybernetics in order to investigate the differences and convergences. Bertalanffy was concerned with first order cybernetics. Nonetheless, his perspectivist epistemology is also relevant with regard to developments in second order cybernetics, and the latter is therefore also considered to some extent. W. Ross Ashby’s important role as mediator between GST and cybernetics is analysed. The respective basic epistemological approaches, scientific approaches and inherent world views are discussed. We underline the complementarity of cybernetic and “organismic” trends in systems research within the unitary hermeneutical framework of “general systemology”.

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