50 of 68 people found the following review helpful
A book for the development of system ideas.,
This review is from: General system theory: Foundations, development, applications (Penguin university books) (Paperback)
This book is quite old now and shows some of its age. At the time the idea of system theory was new and invigorating although it still appears that the theory was not radically new by any means even then.
Bertalanffy discusses the idea of a system mainly through dynamical systems in his early chapters but also discusses important issues such as open systems, teleology and the organism considered as a system. By no means does this remove the dogma of the reductionists but the whole idea can be incorporated within it by some adjustments and expansions of the original concept. In that sense it is still possible for a biologist to consider animals and plants as complex machines. Nothing in this book really forces anyone to onsider an alternative.
On the other hand his later chapters from chapter 8 onwards discuss truly fascinating questions in psychology and the study of language especially noting the work of Whorf. It is these last chapters which make the book interesting. In its day it would have been something that evoked interest and fascination but now its the as yet unexplord aspects of the study of man which remain as they have always been an enigma and a source of endless wonder.
A book for the development of system ideas.