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  • Systems theory is the interdisciplinary study of systems in general, with the goal of elucidating principles that can be applied to all types of systems at all nesting levels in all fields of research. The term does not yet have a well-established, precise meaning, but systems theory can reasonably be considered a specialization of systems thinking; alternatively as a goal output of systems science, with an emphasis on generality useful across a broad range of systems. The term originates from Bertalanffy's general system theory and is used in later efforts in other fields, such as the action theory of Talcott Parsons and the social systems theory of Niklas Luhmann. A central topic of systems theory is self-regulating systems, i.e. systems self-correcting through feedback. Self-regulating systems are found in nature, including the physiological systems of our body, in local and global ecosystems, and in climate—and in human learning processes.

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