General System Theory: Foundations, Development, Applications (Penguin University Books) ペーパーバック – 1976/3/1
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An attempt to formulate common laws that apply to virtually every scientific field, this conceptual approach has had a profound impact on such widely diverse disciplines as biology, economics, psychology, and demography.
I read this book knowing that some of it would be outdated, however since I was unfamiliar with the field I assumed that would be fine. I think I was, there are obviously new developments in this field, but I think this works provides a good foundation.
The chapters are repetitive as it's clearly explained in the book itself because it's a collection of works by Bertalanffy that were previously published in academic journals. I actually found that to be helpful, as I gained from reading the same theory from a different perspective each time, biology, physics, psychology etc.
Bertalanffy is writing for an academic audience in these journals, expecting that his audience has the same educational background in a variety of fields like he does. He expects the reader to be familiar with differential equations and other math. I didn't find this to be a problem, other than one of expectations, like any academic level work, expect to spend some time with a dictionary and an encyclopedia. I found myself skimming through equations, then going back to them for a seconds or third reading then looking them up on the internet for more details. He also frequently uses words in French, German, Latin, often without translation.
All in all, this book does not provide you with solutions to problems but gives you the ability after reading to ask questions you could not ask before because you did not know the problem at all. For me, it was really interesting to contrast the ideas discussed in the book with our current state of knowlegde over 50 years later (the book covers the work of Bertalanffy from 1930's - 1960's). I recommend this book to everyone interested in foundations of basic research in physics, chemistry, biology and pschology, it should be a must read.