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Systemic philosophy and the philosophy of social science: Part II: the systemic position

Jon‐Arild Johannessen (Oslo School of Management and Bodø Graduate School of Business, Lillesand, Norway)
Johan Olaisen (Norwegian School of Management, Lillesand, Norway)


ISSN: 0368-492X

Article publication date: 1 October 2005




To discuss systemic thinking in relation to the naturalistic position in the philosophy of social science. To develop the theme in two parts: Part I: systemic thinking and the naturalistic position; and Part II: the systemic position.


A cybernetic approach is taken, and a discussion on what is the foundation for the philosophy of social science for systemic thinking and the systemic position is developed.


The findings of Part I have been given. Part II analyses the systemic position and considers the classical controversy in social science between methodological individualism and methodological collectivism (holism). The pre‐condition on which the systemic position is based is given. The ideal requirements set up by the systemic position are presented under the headings: espistemology/methodology; ontology; axiology; and the ethical position.

Practical implications

Provided assistance to social scientists who study social systems from the systemic or cybernetic viewpoint and give a practical analysis of the systemic position. Provides researchers and others working in this field with an investigation of the role and conduct of social scientists.


It positioned systemic thinking in relation to the philosophy of social science.



Johannessen, J. and Olaisen, J. (2005), "Systemic philosophy and the philosophy of social science: Part II: the systemic position", Kybernetes, Vol. 34 No. 9/10, pp. 1570-1586.



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Copyright © 2005, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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