The Challenges of System Theory

  • Robert Rosen
Part of the International Federation for Systems Research International Series on Systems Science and Engineering book series (IFSR, volume 7)


We all know, I think, that system theory is a revolutionary development in scientific thought. The blossoming of system theory over the past three or four decades betokens a massive paradigm shift, on a scale which has not been seen since the publication of Newton’s Principia. However, whereas previous paradigm shifts have resulted in the relinquishing of one paradigm in favor of another, ultimately equally restrictive one, system theory offers us not one alternate paradigm, but many; it has shown us that there exists many primary modes of system analysis, each one independent of the others, and thus that there exists no single over-arching analytic procedure which encompasses all others. The mode we choose in dealing with a particular problem must be determined by the nature of the question we are asking, and must be guided by intelligence and insight. These last are qualities which have been excluded from science for too long by slavish adherence to a single mode of system analysis; system theory has re-introduced them, and indeed established them as the first prerequisite in the generation of scientific theory.


Paradigm Shift Euclidean Geometry Logical Contradiction Lawn Mower Strategic Innovation 
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© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1991

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  • Robert Rosen

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