From a systems theoretical view, it’s interesting what has happened to the Republican Party recently. Political parties are autopoietic systems; like all autopoietic systems, they
Luhmannian systems theory, as distinguished from the systems theory of the 1950s-60s, begins with the injunction to “draw a distinction.” Luhmann, following George Spencer-Brown, takes
If we agree that societies are not grounded in basic norms or shared values–or that there is no meta-level that can influence the system–and we
Norms are a product of differentiation. Social systems differentiate expected behavior (norms) from actual behavior. That is to say, norms serve as prediction schemata. The norm is the expected. Behavioral norms are expected even if they are not anticipated. For instance, even if we know a person well and we anticipate that he will lie to us, we nonetheless expect him to tell the truth; otherwise we could not engage in communication with that person at all.
Luhmann speaks of four “epistemological obstacles . . . to be found in the prevailing understanding of society in the form of four interconnected, mutually