general system theory


Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Legal, Financial, Encyclopedia.

general system theory

The theory that all living systems are open systems constantly exchanging information, matter, and energy with the environment. There are three levels of reference for systems: the system level on which one is focusing, (such as a person); the suprasystems level above the focal system, (such as a person's family, community, and culture); and the subsystem, which is below the focal system, (such as the bodily systems and the cell). The theory suggests that the treatment of people is more important than the treatment of illnesses.
See: holistic medicine
See also: theory
References in periodicals archive ?
Because closed systems are in a steady state, they are not applicable to living organisms--hence, the need for a general system theory that can be applied to biology, information theory, cybernetics, and social sciences.
A general system theory approach to rail freight car fleet sizing.
The general conceptual framework of the book relates to the attempt to build a general theory of emergence as a general theory of change, corresponding to Von Bertalanffy's project for a general system theory.

Full browser ?