Towards a Theory of Social Systems: Self-Organization and Self-Maintenance, Self-Reference and Syn-Reference

  • P. M. Hejl
Part of the Springer Series in Synergetics book series (SSSYN, volume 26)


The vagueness of the term “science” is a perpetual source of confusion. Its meaning encompasses the traditional empirical, experimental, and formal academic disciplines, e.g. physics or mathmatics, as well as most diverse activities which “scientists”, who coopt each other, call “scientific”. In order to discuss theoretical problems of social theory, the notion of science must first be made explicit. Following a proposal by Humberto R. Maturana (1978a) I define as “scientific” any activity that obeys the scientific method. The scientific method involves roughly four steps. These are:
  1. “1.

    Observation of a phenomenon that henceforth is taken as a problem to be explained.

  2. 2.

    Proposition of an explanatory hypothesis in the form of a deterministic system that can generate a phenomenon isomorphic with the observed one.

  3. 3.

    Proposition of a computed state or process in the system specified by the hypothesis as a predicted phenomenon to be observed.

  4. 4.

    Observation of the predicted phenomenon.” (ibid. 27)



Social System Living System Operational Closure Football Player Social Domain 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1984

Authors and Affiliations

  • P. M. Hejl
    • 1
  1. 1.Universität GHS SiegenSiegenFed. Rep. of Germany

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