Volume 16 · Number 3 · Pages 375–377
On the Heuristic Value of Luhmann’s Systems Theory

Edmundo Balsemão Pires

Log in to download the full text for free

> Citation > Similar > References > Add Comment


Open peer commentary on the article “Systems Theory and Algorithmic Futures: Interview with Elena Esposito” by Elena Esposito, Katrin Sold & Bénédicte Zimmermann. Abstract: Elena Esposito’s interview is a great opportunity to ponder on the applications of Niklas Luhmann’s systems theory to current social themes. Among these, I consider the meaning of a theory of society in sociology, the value of critical theory, and the use of algorithms in communication. I differ from Esposito regarding my views on these topics, in that she seems hesitant to make a clear statement regarding the constructivist stance of systems theory’s proposals, in contrast with other approaches.


Balsemão Pires E. (2021) On the heuristic value of luhmann’s systems theory. Constructivist Foundations 16(3): 375–377. https://constructivist.info/16/3/375

Export article citation data: Plain Text · BibTex · EndNote · Reference Manager (RIS)


Balsemão Pires E. (2013) The epistemological meaning of Luhmann’s critique of classical ontology. In: Systema: Connecting matter, life, culture, and technology 1(1): 5–20. https://cepa.info/1126
Bourdieu P. (1980) Le sens pratique. Les Éditions de Minuit, Paris. English translation: Bourdieu P. (1990) The logic of practice. Translated by Richard Nice. Polity Press, Cambridge UK. ▸︎ Google︎ Scholar
Farley B. & Wesley Clark W. (1954) Simulation of self-organizing systems by digital computer. Transaction of the IRE Professional Group on Information Theory 4(4): 76–84. ▸︎ Google︎ Scholar
Farley B. (1960) Self-organizing models for learned perception. In: Yovits M. & Cameron S. (eds.) Self-organizing systems. Proceedings of an interdisciplinary conference 5 and 6 May 1959. Pergamon Press, Oxford, New York: 7–30. ▸︎ Google︎ Scholar
Hebb D. (1949) The organization of behavior: A neuropsychological theory. John Wiley & Sons, New York. ▸︎ Google︎ Scholar
Koselleck R. (1992) Kritik und Krise: Eine Studie zur Pathogenese der bürgerlichen Welt. Seventh edition. Suhrkamp, Frankfurt am Main. Originally published in 1959. English translation: Koselleck R. (1988) Critique and crisis: Enlightenment and the pathogenesis of modern society. Berg Publishers, Oxford. ▸︎ Google︎ Scholar
Latour B. (2012) Enquête sur les modes d’existence: Une anthropologie des modernes. La Découverte, Paris. English translation: Latour B. (2013) An inquiry into modes of existence: An anthropology of the moderns. Translated by Catherine Porter. Harvard University Press, Cambridge MA. ▸︎ Google︎ Scholar
Luhmann N. (1978) Soziologie der Moral [Sociology of morals]. In: Luhmann N. & Pfürtner S. H. (eds.) Theorietechnik und Moral. Suhrkamp, Frankfurt am Main. ▸︎ Google︎ Scholar
Luhmann N. (1992) Beobachtung der Moderne. Westdeutscher Verlag, Opladen. Luhmann N. (1998) Observations on modernity. Translated by William Whobrey. Stanford University Press, Stanford CA. ▸︎ Google︎ Scholar
Luhmann N. (1995) Social Systems. Stanford University Press, Stanford. German original publication in 1984. ▸︎ Google︎ Scholar
Luhmann N. (1997) Die Gesellschaft der Gesellschaft, Volume 1. Suhrkamp, Frankfurt am Main. English translation: Luhmann N. (2012) Theory of society, Volume 1. Translated by Rhodes Barrett. Stanford University Press, Stanford CA. ▸︎ Google︎ Scholar
McCulloch W. & Pitts W. (1943) A logical calculus of the ideas immanent in nervous activity. In Bulletin of Mathematical Biophysics 5: 115–133. ▸︎ Google︎ Scholar
Parsons T. & Shils E. A. (2001) Toward a general theory of action: Theoretical foundations for the social sciences. Transaction Publishers, New Brunswick. ▸︎ Google︎ Scholar
Parsons T. (1968) The structure of social action, Volume 1. The Free Press, New York. ▸︎ Google︎ Scholar
Rosenblatt F. (1962) Principles of neurodynamics: Perceptrons and the theory of brain mechanisms. Spartan Books, Washington DC. ▸︎ Google︎ Scholar

Comments: 0

To stay informed about comments to this publication and post comments yourself, please log in first.