Iagttagelsens genealogi: Formal distinctions within Luhmannian Systems Theory

Research output: Working paper


Before the printing press revolution, driven by Gutenberg, there was a revolution of observation. Closely connected to the name of Duns Scotus (1265-1308 AD), the emergence of formal distinctions marked a revolution in observational capacity, still resonating in contemporary questions of observation, validity, empirical findings and constructions of theories.
After Kant, Niklas Luhmann may be only the second theoretician, who tackled the challenges generated by the revolution of observation. This paper argues, how Luhmanns emphasis on ‘strong theory’ or ‘supertheory’ are late responses to the scotistic challenge, emerging as an inverted Gödelisierung der Gesellschaft. In consequence, the continuous development of systems theory should be acutely aware, not to discard basic solutions to the challenge posed by formal distinctions in a rush towards ‘empiricizing’ or ‘formalizing’ systems theory by means of contingency tables.

Original languageDanish
Publication statusIn preparation - 23 Nov 2018

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