Publication 6363

Luhmann N. (1992) The concept of society. Thesis Eleven 31: 67–80. Fulltext at
Excerpt: If one considers sciences such as biology, psychology or sociology from the distance of an uninvolved observer one might conclude that biology has to do with life, psychology with the soul or consciousness, and sociology with society. A closer look makes it apparent, however, that these disciplines have characteristic difficulties with concepts intended to designate the unity of their object. The concept of autopoiesis is addressed directly to this problem. It was originally introduced by Humberto Maturana with respect to life, but it may well be applicable to consciousness and to society. It is, however, a concept which plays almost no role in the daily business of these disciplines, so that we are left with the question, why is there this particular problem of designating the unity of the object of these disciplines by a scientific concept.

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