A Landmark in the History of Science

H. von Foerster’s Cybernetics of Cybernetics (1974)


This paper presents and discusses an authentic landmark in the history of science, namely H. v. Foerster’s Cybernetics of Cybernetics, 1974. This is a book rarely known even by many specialists. This paper argues that von Foerster’s book constitutes a unique achievement in the history of science. A thorough presentation is introduced that brings a complete panorama of concepts, problems and approaches.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.


  1. Casti, J. L. (1994). Complexification. Explaining a paradoxical world through he science of surprise. New York: Harper Perennial.

    Google Scholar 

  2. Meyers, R. A. (2009). Encyclopedia of complexity and systems science. Berlin: Springer.

    Book  Google Scholar 

  3. Midgley, G. (Ed.). (2003). Systems thinking. Vol. I: General systems theory, cybernetics and complexity. Vol. II: Systems theories and modeling. Vol. III: Second order cybernetics, systemic therapy and soft systems thinking. London: Sage Publications.

    Google Scholar 

  4. Scott, A. C. (2007). The nonlinear universe. Chaos, emergence, life. Berlin: Springer.

    Google Scholar 

  5. Von Bertalanffy, L. (1976). perspectives on general system theory–scientific–philosophical studies. New York: George Braziller Inc.

    Google Scholar 

  6. Von Bertalanffy, L. (1968). General system theory: Foundations, development, applications. New York: George Braziller Inc.

    Google Scholar 

  7. Von Foerster, H. (1974). Cybernetics of cybernetics. The control of control and the communication of communication. Minneapolis: Future Systems Inc.

    Google Scholar 

  8. Waldrop, M. M. (1992). Complexity. The emerging science at the edge of order and chaos. New York: A Touchstone book.

    Book  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information



Corresponding author

Correspondence to Carlos Eduardo Maldonado.

Additional information

Publisher's Note

Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.

The original version of this article was revised: The detailed corrections have been provided in the Correction article.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Maldonado, C.E., Concha, E.V. A Landmark in the History of Science. Found Sci (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10699-020-09721-w

Download citation


  • System science
  • History of science
  • Control communication
  • Epistemology