Precedents to Systems Theory

Reading 1 by Angyal provides a forceful statement of the view that the key concepts used to describe the organization of living systems require a new logic. In his subsequent work (Angyal, 1965) he did much to justify his assertion. Both of Angyal's major works should be consulted. They are focussed upon the individual biosphere (man in his environment) but brilliantly expose the general dynamics of system integration, in time as well as in space, of system dysfunctioning, and the dynamics involved in system change.

It is as well to be reminded that many of the more valuable insights into systems functioning, particularly the earlier insights, do not come labelled as systems theory. Feibleman and Friend (Reading 2) wrote as philosophers but penetrated deeply into the conceptual problems of what we are now accustomed to call systems theory. They realized that the major concern in organizational analysis would be with logically correlative relations (see Sommerhoff's theory of directive correlations in Reading 6), and they sensed that in analysis of any one level of system organization it probably would be adequate to consider only the ones immediately above and below.

Only pressing problems of space precluded a selection from S. C. Pepper (1950). This is of particular importance because the 'root metaphors' he identifies and rigorously defines are all clearly operating in different systems theorists and account for much of the mutual incomprehension that exists among them. 'Contextualism' is the root metaphor which comes closest to our bias in selecting for this volume. [p. 14]

### References Angyal, A. (1965), _Neurosis and Treatment_, Wiley. [on Worldcat]( Pepper, S. C. (1950), _World Hypotheses_, University of California. [it's actually 1942! ] [at UC Press]( ; [on Worldcat]( ; [federated wiki microsite]( [p. 14]