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Scope of Systems Approach

Kalidas Sikdar

By I.V. Blanberg , V.N. Sadovsky & E.G. Yudin 
Progress Publishers, Moscow, 1978, pp. 318, Rs. 8.00

VOLUME III NUMBER 2 September/October 1978

To an ordinary soul it seldom occurs to consider whether his kitchen is polluting the atmosphere or not. Suddenly scien­tists raised the alarm that the future of mankind is at stake. Indiscriminate indus­trialization, atomic wastes, deforestation, extensive use of pest-controlling chemi­cals are creating the greatest danger for mankind. We have to try to understand our relation with nature as a system and within this system its different functional connections. Modern technology is no longer con­cerned only with a particular machine or instrument because, unlike earlier industry, modern industries are integrally connected with a. whole system. Similarly in sociology or psychology it is not the study of parts and their summation but a structural functional systematic approach which gives us a true picture of the subject. It is the inadequacy of the older mec­hanistic e1ementalist approach that helped raise science to a higher plane but failed to reveal the true picture of a systematic object which resulted in the emergence of a systematic, structural-functional approach. Here is a monograph by some eminent Soviet authors who have presented a comprehensive account of the systems theory, its history, its content, develop­ment problems and significance. In modern science and technology the systemic approach is a fast developing new trend, a general scientific and metho­dological conception. The authors have tried to investigate the philosophical and methodological significance from the point of view of dialectical materialism and have traced the development of the systems theory in the 20th century, ana­lysing different approaches to evolving a general systems theory. Dialectical materialist philosophy is not a finished system of philosophy. It develops along with the development of sciences. It acquires new concepts and gives deeper meaning to the older con­cepts. The authors have tried to prove that the systems approach does not in any way oppose dialectics, rather it is a manifestation of the influence of dia­lectics on modern science. It is one of the applications of the general methodo­logical concepts of dialectics to specific materials. Systems approach arose as one of the methodological trends in modern science as a way out of the crisis in scientific knowledge at the turn of the 20th century along with other prominent trends such as structural-functional analysis in sociology and structuralism in humanities. All these trends have much in common and sprang from the critique of some fundamental classical ...

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