There has been, and still is, an important debate between critical systems and soft (interpretive) systems concerning epistemology and ontology. Flood and Ulrich argued for a position they termed “critical idealism,” but this has been contested by Fuenmayor, who proposed that critical systems was unnecessary since phenomenology provided the necessary and sufficient form of critique. This paper, in turn, argues for critical systems, providing a critique of phenomenology which shows that at least three of its own presuppositions are invalid. It is further suggested that an adequate philosophy for critical systems has not yet emerged and that the cognitive autopoietic theories of Maturana and the critical realism of Bhaskar will be important strands in its development.
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