Tectology is a term coined by Alexander Bogdanov for a discipline that consisted of unifying all social, biological and physical sciences, by considering them as systems of relationships, and by seeking the organizational principles that underlie all systems.


His work "Tektology: Universal Organization Science", published in Russia between 1912 and 1917, anticipated many of the ideas that were popularized later by Norbert Wiener in Cybernetics and Ludwig von Bertalanffy in the General Systems Theory. There are suggestions that both Wiener and von Bertalanffy might have read the German edition of "Tektology" which was published in 1928. [ Gorelik, 1975; Mattessich, 1978.]

In Russia, LeninFact|date=December 2007 (and later Stalin) considered Bogdanov's natural philosophy an ideological threat to their revolutionary dialectic materialism (what it was not really) and put tectology to sleep. The rediscovery of Bogdanov's idea occurred only in 1970s.

Tectology: Topics

According to Bogdanov [ This is an extended quote from (Mikes, 1997))] "the aim of Tectology is the systematization of organized experience", through the identification of universal organizational principles: "all things are organizational, all complexes could only be understood through their organizational character. This is (historically) the first identification of philosophical "complexes" in the natural sciences, to denote a combination of elements of `activity - resistance'. Bogdanov considered that any complex should correspond to its environment and adapt to it. (A stable and organized complex is greater than the sum of its parts). In Tectology, the term 'stability' refers not to a dynamic stability, but to the possibility of preserving the complex in the given environment). A 'complex' is not identical to a 'complicated, a hard-to-comprehend, large unit.

Furthermore Bogdanov created a unique conception, as the first 'modern' attempt at formulating the most general laws of organization. Tectology was created by Bogdanov to address issues such as holistic, emergent phenomena and systemic development. This new constructive science builds the elements into a functional entity by a science of the general laws which determine the organization.

According to his "empirio-monistic" principle (1899) he does not recognize differences between observation and perception and thus creates the beginning of a general empirical, supradisciplinary (yet not supernatural) science. In his time of mostly physicalistic view, the starting point of Bogdanov's investigation was 'organization', as an expedient unity. Indeed it meant the cradle of Systems Theory and Holism.

The "whole" in Tectology, the laws of integrity were derived from biological rather than the physicalistic view of the world. Regarding the three scientific cycles which comprise the basis of Tectology (mathematical, physico-biological, and natural-philosophical), it is from the physico-biological cycle that the central concepts have been taken and universalized.

Starting point in A. Bogdanov's "Universal Science of Organization - Tectology" (1913-1922) was that nature has a general, organized character, with one set of laws of organization for all objects. Contained is an internal development of the complex units, as implied by Simona Pustylnik's "macro-paradigm", which induces synergistic consequences into an adaptive assembling phenomenon (1995). Bogdanov's visionary view of nature was an 'organization' with an interconnection into systems. The notions in A. Bogdanov's "Tectology" outlined the concepts and concerns of Complexity Theory by a full 50 years in advance of the chaos and fractal mathematics.


Alexander Bogdanov has written several works about Tectology:
* 1901, "Poznanie s Istoricheskoi Tochki Zreniya" ("Knowledge from a Historical Viewpoint"), St. Petersburg, 1901.
* 1904, "Empiriomonizm: Stat'i po Filosofii" ("Empiriomonism: Articles on Philosophy") in 3 volumes, Moscow, 1904-1906
* 1912, "Filosofiya Zhivogo Opyta: Populiarnye Ocherki" ("Philosophy of Living Experience: Popular Essays"), St. Petersburg, 1912
* 1922"Tektologiya: Vseobschaya Organizatsionnaya Nauka" in 3 volumes, Berlin and Petrograd-Moscow, 1922.
* 1980, English translation as "Essays in Tektology: The General Science of Organization", trans. George Gorelik, Seaside, CA, Intersystems Publications, 1980. [ The first English translation of Bogdanov Tektology is due to Peter Dudley and his work at the [http://www.hull.ac.uk/hubs/research/css/ Centre for Systems Studies] of [http://www.hull.ac.uk/ University of Hull] in UK.]

Further reading

* John Biggart, Georgii Gloveli, Avraham Yassour. "Bogdanov and his Work. A guide to the published and unpublished works of Alexander A. Bogdanov (Malinovsky) 1873-1928", Aldershot, Ashgate, 1998, ISBN 1-85972-623-2
* John Biggart, Peter Dudley, Francis King, Aldershot, Ashgate (eds.), "Alexander Bogdanov and the Origins of Systems Thinking in Russia", 1998, ISBN 1-85972-678-X
* Stuart Brown. "Biographical Dictionary of Twentieth-Century Philosophers", London, Routledge, 2002 (first published in 1996), ISBN 0-415-06043-5
* Peter Dudley, "Bogdanov's Tektology" (1st Engl transl), Centre for Systems Studies, University of Hull, Hull, UK, 1996
* Peter Dudley, Simona Pustylnik. "Reading The Tektology: provisional findings, postulates and research directions", Centre for Systems Studies, University of Hull, Hull, UK, 1995
* George Gorelick, "Bogdanov's Tektology: Naure, Development and Influences", in: "Studies in Soviet Thought" (1983), Vol. 26, pp. 37-57.
* Simona Pustylnik, "Biological Ideas of Bogdanov's Tektology" presented at the "Int'l Conf.: Origins of Organization Theory in Russia and the Soviet Union, University of East Anglia (Norwich), Jan. 8-11, 1995"


ee also

* Systems theory
* Systems philosophy
* Systems thinking
* Bertalanffy
* Gregory Bateson

External links

* [http://www.ialhi.org/news/i0006_2.php "Bogdanov and His Work: A Guide to the Published and Unpublished Works of Alexander A. Bogdanov (Malinovsky) 1873-1928"] : Reference covering Bogdanov's work,
* [http://www.ceptualinstitute.com/genre/jmikes.htm article] from John Mikes: introduction to the possibilities that could offer the ideas from Bogdanov to the Complex Systems Science, prepared for the first [http://necsi.org/events/conferences.html International Conference on Complex Systems] in 1997, organized by the [http://necsi.org/index.html New England Complex Systems Institute] .
* [http://www.bogdinst.ru/DefaultEng.htm Alexander Bogdanov]
* [http://www.ceptualinstitute.com/genre/jmikes.htm About tectology]
* [http://www.ng.ru/science/2002-12-11/15_hamlet.html Red Hamlet]

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