Origins and Foundation of Systems Theory As a response to the increasing fragmentation and…

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Origins and Foundation of Systems Theory As a response to the increasing fragmentation and duplication of scientific and technological research and decision making in the first half of the 20th century, Ludwig von Bertalanffy advanced what he called Allgemeine Systemlehre (general theory of systems or, more popularly, general system theory — GST). He described the set of theories that together comprise the framework of systems thought in the following passage: The 19th and first half of the 20th century conceived of the world as chaos. Chaos was the oft-quoted blind play of atoms, which, in mechanistic and positivistic philosophy, appeared to represent ultimate reality, with life as an accidental product of physical processes, and mind as an epi-phenomenon. It was chaos when, in the current theory of evolution, the living world appeared as a product of chance, the outcome of random mutations and survival in the mill of natural selection. In the same sense, human personality, in the theories of behaviorism as well as of psychoanalysis, was considered a chance product of nature and nurture, of a mixture of genes and an accidental sequence of events from early childhood to maturity.