Control and Human Interests

Methodological Foundations of Systems Methodologies
Part of the Contemporary Systems Thinking book series (CST)


For perhaps a number of ideologically compelling reasons, the social sciences sought, right from the outset, to develop in the image of the older, more established and “successful” natural sciences. To a very large extent, that image still remains the exemplar for the overwhelming majority of social scientists, who seem to see no problem between the nature of their objects of inquiry and that of the objects of the natural sciences. Even the (relatively) younger systems science (whose domain is unavoidably constituted primarily by social phenomena) did not succeed in escaping this temptation. But more recently (especially since the late 1970s and early 1980s), there has been a growing awareness of, and an open debate about the inadequacies or inappropriateness of the traditional hard systems thinking and its approaches to the study and design of social systems. Parallel with these debates, new systems “methodologies,” predominantly at the practical level of real-world problem solving, have been rigorously developed. But the growing mood for methodological criticisms have not spared even these new directions in systems methods.


System Methodology Problem Context Methodological Choice Human Interest Soft System Methodology 


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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1996

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