Publication 6582

Sahal D. (1982) Structure and self-organization. Behavioral Science 27: 249–258. Fulltext at
This paper seeks to clarify the nature and significance of structuralisms. The doctrine of structuralism is regarded here as synonymous with that of holism. It transcends the traditional dichotomy between form, or the static configuration of a system’s components, and function, or the process of dynamic change in that system. Viewed from the broader holistic perspective, the relationship between form and function is of a mutually causal nature. The thesis is advanced here that the emergence of structure lies in the process of self-organization. Conversely, it is the structure of the system which makes it self-organizing. The origin of a wide variety of technological, organizational, and social innovations is to be found in the interplay of structure and self-organization. The theory is developed and illustrated at several levels of systems. Its implications for a transdisciplinary synthesis of knowledge are discussed.

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