Bertalanffy´s Achievements

It was the right time in the 1920s but it still required a large amount of courage and even a lot more of creativity for writing the book “Theoretische Biologie”(theoretical biology) reflecting his “organismic biology” or “system theory of the organism”: a significant contribution towards the scientific development of biology, based on the need of discovering and understanding the laws that govern organismic organization. It was the very first step towards the General System Theory that Bertalanffy conceived as a culmination of his general systems insights into biological, behavioral, social and epistemological domains, while fighting specifically against the reductionist approaches and the mechanist interpretations that dehumanize human beings through robotomorphism, zoomorphism, scientism and other narrow-minded and shortsighted assumptions that have been used extensively by people without realizing that it is impossible and improper to simplify the complexity inherent to whatever human concern.

Anyhow the organismic biology still has a long way to go because the biology establishment continue assigning grants and other rewards oriented toward the mechanistic approach, while many biological experimentalists cannot even conceive of approaching biological questions in other way than the reductionist one, as they are under the fascinating influence of the technological tools that obstruct them to see life biologically.

Bertalanffy’s Bibliography

A complete bibliography of Bertalanffy was carried out by David Pouvreau, on the basis of Sabine Brauckmann’s list, and can be downloaded.