The Open Theory and Its Enemy: Implicit Moralisation as Epistemological Obstacle for General Systems Theory
Systems Research and Behavioral Science, Vol. 36 No. 3, January/February 2019
20 Pages Posted: 17 Apr 2019
Date Written: March 28, 2019
Ludwig von Bertalanffy decisively shaped open systems theory as challenge and alternative to the then-dominant theories of closed systems. This strategic positioning and its success have abetted frequent and frequently implicit moralisations of openness and closeness. In this article, we draw on the concept of autopoietically closed systems to show that the prevailing affirmative bias to openness constitutes an epistemological obstacle to the advancement of general systems theory. We demonstrate how this obstacle can be removed by tetralemmatic decision programmes that facilitate the management of dilemmatic cooccurrences of and trade-offs between openness and closeness.
Keywords: open systems; autopoietic systems; general systems theory; epistemological obstacles; tetralemma; Bertalanffy; Luhmann
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation