The Scope and Range of General Systems Transdisciplinarity

David Rousseau, Jennifer Wilby, Julie Billingham, Stefan Blachfellner


The pioneers of the general systems movement envisioned the development of a new scientific ‘meta-discipline’ grounded in a “General Systems Theory” (GST), a theory that encompasses universal principles underlying the systemic behaviours of all kinds of “real-world” systems.  In contemporary terms we can identify this as a vision for a “transdiscipline” and we discuss its relationship to other conceptions of transdisciplinarity.  In line with arguments presented elsewhere we identify this transdiscipline as “General Systemology”, and the application of it “General Systems Transdisciplinarity” (GSTD).  The founders of the general systems movement argued that GSTD would be important for assisting the transfer knowledge between disciplines, facilitating interdisciplinary communication, supporting the development of exact models in areas where they are lacking, and promoting the “unity” of knowledge.  In this paper we defend this view, and infer that the scope and range of GSTD is wider than hitherto recognized, and argue that GSTD would potentially be the most powerful of the transdisciplines.


General Systemology, General Systems Transdisciplinarity, GSTD, exploratory science, General System Theory, GST, GST*

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