An Analysis of the System Theoretic Perspectives in the Proposals by Klir and Luhmann for the Study of Cross-Area Epistemic Communication

Rafael A. Ayala-Rodríguez


System theory presents multiple approaches that enable a certain understanding of systems given the particularities of each of the various approaches to it. If one were to describe under which conditions there exists the possibility of communication across knowledge areas and one were to use Systems Theory to perform such a description, which of the available system theoretical perspectives would be most adequate? This endeavor requires a choice among these different approaches available within systems theory, and since the analysis is to be made on a set of knowledge-producing areas inscribed in a knowledge validating environment, the need for a cross disciplinary approach such as the one taken by systems theory is deemed appropriate. We have selected two of these systems theoretical positions to describe and ultimately select from. The present article discusses the differences and similarities of the approaches to systems theory proposed by Klir and the one in Luhmann’s social systems. The methodology used for this purpose is a summary revision of some key system theoretical proposals for the objective of contextualizing both theories and providing the grounds for analysis. Given the contextualization of the perspectives one is able to better appreciate the implications inherent in taking one or another perspective for the proposed study. The gain in depth, the distinctions, and the qualifications in the resulting characterization of the system to study will strongly depend on the choice of perspective. A clear distinction between methodologies is obtained as a result of this study and the obvious choice for the objective of studying cross-area communication among knowledge areas is presented and justified.


Systems; Epistemology; Knowledge Systems

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