In philosophy, prior to Descartes, there was no "system". In 1824 he studied the system which he called the working substance (typically a body of water vapor) in steam engines, in regards to the system's ability to do work when heat is applied to it.
General systems theory is about broadly applicable concepts and principles, as opposed to concepts and principles applicable to one domain of knowledge. Some see it as a specialization of systems thinking; others see systems thinking as a specialization of systems theory focused on social systems.
One scopes a system by defining its boundary; this means choosing which entities are inside the system and which are outside—part of the environment.
One can make simplified representations (models) of the system in order to understand it and to predict or impact its future behavior.
Some systems theorists focus on activity systems in which structures or components interact in behaviours and processes. The term "general systems theory" originates from Bertalanffy's general systems theory (GST).
His ideas were adopted by others including Kenneth E.
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