Ludwig von Bertalanffy (). was one of the most important theoretical biologists of the first half of this century; researched on comparative physiology. Ludwig Von Bertalanffy – Download as PDF File .pdf), Text File .txt) or read online. Biografia de Ludwing Von Bertalanffy, creador y fundador de la teoria. On 31December the BCSSS published the ultimate biography of Ludwig von Bertalanffy in French, written by David Pouvreau. Currently.

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Ludwig von Bertalanffy Ludwig von Bertalanffy was born in a little village near Vienna on September 19, In he started his studies with history of art and philosophy, firstly at the University of Innsbruck and then at the University of Vienna where he became a pupil of the philosophers Robert Reininger and Moritz Schlick, one of the founders of the Viennese Circle. He finished his PhD with a thesis on the German physicist and philosopher Gustav Theodor Fechner inand published his first book on theoretical biology two years later Modern Theories of Development.

In this critical review of morphogenetic theories Bertalanffy tried to solve the crucial issue of reduction, namely, whether the categories of biology are different from the physical ones, or whether an absolute reduction from the biological domain to the physical one is possible at all.

He resolved this enigma with the organismic system theory that assigns to the biological systems a self-organizational dynamics. The organismic system theory should experimentally investigate how the pattern formation functions For it, he developed the kinetic theory of open systems characteristics of which are equifinality and steady state.

His main goal was to unite metabolism, growth, morphogenesis and sense physiology to a dynamic theory of stationary open systems In he was habilitated by Reininger, Schlick and the zoologist Versluys for the first volume of his Theoretische Biologie.

The monography postulated two essential aims of a theoretical biology, firstly to clean up the conceptual terminology of biology, and, secondly, to explain how the phenomena of life can spontaneously emerge from forces existing inside an organism. Here the organismic system represented the main problem as well as the still-to-formulate program of a theoretical biology.

Ludwig von Bertalanffy Award in Complexity Thinking

The second volume developed the research program of a dynamic morphology and applied the mathematical method to biological problems. There he gave his first lecture about the General System Theory as a methodology that is valid for all sciences b. In he was appointed to an extraordinary professor at the University of Vienna. There Bertalanffy concentrated his research on a comparative physiology ludwog growth. He was the first biologist who held lectures in zoology for students of medicine and an integrated course on botany and gon.

During this biogrrafia he wrote, beneath his most programmatic article on organisms as physical systemsthe summary of his biological reasoning: In he emigrated to Canada where he mainly worked on metabolism, growth, biophysics, and cancer cytology.


In his biomedical research on cancer he developed, with his son Felix, the Bertalanffy-method of cancer cytodiagnosis. From the ‘s onwards he shifted his research from the biological sciences to the methodology of science, the General System Theory GSTbiogragia cognitive psychology.

Ludwig von Bertalanffy

Based on his humanistic worldview, he developed a holistic epistemology which sharply criticized the machine metaphor of neobehaviorism Robots.

There Bertalanffy, the psychologist Royce and the philosopher Tenneysen established the Advanced Center for Theoretical Psychology that became a center for cognitive psychology over the next 30 years. In that time his system theoretical approach focused on the modern world of technology that has thrown us humans out bfrtalanffy nature bertalqnffy has isolated us from each other. To overcome this VereinzelungBertalanffy emphasized in his later works the importance of the symbolic worlds of culture which we ourselves have created during evolution.

An international symposium bdrtalanffy his 70th birthday in In Junehe suffered a heart stroke and died a few days later, on June 12, shortly after midnight. To ludwib up his life-work, Bertalanffy wrote 13 monographies, four anthologies, over articles, he was the chief editor of the Handbuch der Biologie–among many others.

His themes encompassed theoretical biology and experimental physiology Bertalanffy equationstheoretical psychology–particularly in the last two decades of his life– cancer research Bertalanffy method of cancercytodiagnosisand philosophy and history of science.

No doubt, the person Bertalanffy was a very fascinating one, proud of his European background, a connoisseur of architectural drawings, Japanese woodcuts, and stamps, who loved to hear the music of Mozart and Beethoven and to become absorbed in the works of Goethe.

Sometimes he puzzled his environment by sarcastic remarks, or his black sense of humor. His worldview was an old-fashioned, however, never outdated one that was deeply rooted in a humanistic ethos:.

Already in the ‘s Bertalanffy formulated the organismic system theory that later became the kernel of the GST b, a. His starting point was to deduce the phenomena of life from a spontaneous grouping of system forces–comparable, for instance, to the system developmental biology nowadays.

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He based his approach on the phenomenal assumption that there exists a dynamical process inside the organic system. In the next step he modelled the heuristic fiction of the organism as an open system striving towards a steady state. Then he postulated two biological principles, namely, the maintenance of the organism in the non-equilibrium, and the hierarchic organization of a systemic structure. Finally he furnished this biological system theory with a research program that dealt with the quantitative kinetic of growth and metabolism.

In the ‘s he conducted his theory of open systems from a thermodynamical point–a similar approach as the thermodynamics of irreversible processes as developed by Prigogine at the same time. As opposed to a closed system in a kinetic reversible equilibrium, a dynamically irreversible steady state determines an open. By it the process rates of the specific components are exactly synchronisized to one another as well as to the Eigengeschwindigkeit of the complex whole.


The general system shows a kind of self-regulation comparable to the behavior of an organic system. For example, if you observe the energy flow of an open system, it tends towards a steady state because that phase corresponds to a minimum entropy production enduring the systems conditions. The minimum production stabilizes the system structure and the dynamics of streams and flows.

Thus, the system will achieve the dissipative state that configures a structure since it maintains itself in a state far from equilibrium cf. As a metatheory derived from both theories, Bertalanffy introduced the GST as a new paradigm which should control the model construction in all the sciences c: As opposed to the mathematical system theory, it describes its models in a qualitative and non-formalized language.

Thus, its task was a very broad one, namely, to deduce the universal principles which are valid for systems in general.

In a first step he reformulated the classical concept of the system and determined it as a category by which we know the relations between objects and phenomena. The new system concept now represents a set of interrelated components, a complex entity in space-time which shows structural similarities isomorphisms.

It constitutes itself in such a way that the systemic particles maintain their structure by an assemblage process and tend to restore themselves after disturbances–analogous to voh features of a living organism. Since those isomorphisms exist between living organisms, cybernetic machines, and social systems, one can simulate interdisciplinary models and transfer the data of a scientific realm to another one.

As a methodology, applicable to all sciences, the GST encompasses the cybernetic theory of feedback that represents a special class of self-regulating systems According to Bertalanffy, there exists a fundamental difference between the GST and cybernetics since feedback mechanisms are controlled by constraints whilst the dynamical systems are showing the free interplay of forces.

Moreover, the regulative mechanisms of cybernetic machines are based on pre-determined structures. In short, the GST is a regulative instruction that, for instance, synthetizes the data, or even laws, of the natural sciences, applicable to all the other sciences.

The greatest bertxlanffy of Bertalanffy, beneath his outstanding work on theoretical biology, was to have pushed forward the development of the modern system theories that nowadays study non-stationary structures and the dynamics of self-organization. Instead of a conclusion, the last words will belong to Bertalanffy himself:.

In still other terms, such examples show a formal uniformity of nature.