W. ACAR elaborates on R.L. ACKOFF's understanding of what is a theory in the following definition (1988, p.172):
"Theory: a deductive system comprising
1) a set of defined and undefined concepts denoted as the "symbolism" or language of the theory
2) an assumptional or axiomatic foundation denoted as the "postulates" or "hypotheses" on which the theory rests
3) A set of implicit or explicit formation or transformation rules, called the "logic" of the theory
4) A set of deduced propositions called the "theorems", "laws", or "results" of the theory
5) A set of instances of applications of the results of theorems, known as "facts", "consequences" or "implications" of the theory".
ACAR comments: "We now perceive very clearly what the Singerian philosophical school has forecasted, the relativity of our knowledge base and the increased use we make of models. Both basic and applied research make an extensive use of the modelling activity" (p.173).
Deductive theory are basically algorithmic. When some new observations or concepts cannot be reduced to the structure of existing theory, this must be modified or abandoned.
It is also clear that a theory is a conceptual system, with general characteristics and a kind of conceptual closure that mirrors organizational closure in living systems.
- 1) General information
- 2) Methodology or model
- 3) Epistemology, ontology and semantics
- 4) Human sciences
- 5) Discipline oriented
To cite this page, please use the following information:
Bertalanffy Center for the Study of Systems Science (2020). Title of the entry. In Charles François (Ed.), International Encyclopedia of Systems and Cybernetics (2). Retrieved from www.systemspedia.org/[full/url]
We thank the following partners for making the open access of this volume possible: