Niklas Luhmann

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Niklas Luhmann (born December 8, 1927 in Lüneburg ; † November 6, 1998 in Oerlinghausen ) was a German sociologist and social theorist . As the most important German-speaking representative of sociological systems theory and sociocybernetics, Luhmann is one of the classics of sociology in the 20th century.


Luhmann was born in 1927 into the family of a brewery owner in Lüneburg and attended the old-language Johanneum . In 1944, at the age of 16, he was officially drafted as an air force helper, having worked there since he was 15. From 1944 to September 1945 Luhmann was an American prisoner of war; his treatment there later appeared to him as "not according to the rules of international conventions, to put it mildly".

In 2007 it became known that Luhmann had become a member of the NSDAP in 1944 . The significance of the membership file is historically controversial insofar as admission to the party could also take place within the framework of the collective registration of the HJ years 1926/27 initiated by the party leadership in 1944/45 . On the "Questionnaire for the political review" to be filled out for the legal clerkship in 1949, which was part of the denazification , Luhmann dated the NSDAP membership application to spring 1944, supplemented with the note that he had never received a membership number.

Luhmann studied 1946-1949 jurisprudence at the Albert-Ludwigs-University of Freiburg with a focus on Roman law . This was followed by traineeship training in Lüneburg until 1953. During this time, Luhmann was working on a comparative law dissertation. After his Freiburg doctoral supervisor Wilhelm Grewe moved to the Foreign Office , Luhmann did not submit the 260-page thesis entitled The Organization of Advisory State Bodies .

From 1954 to 1962 he was an administrative officer in Lüneburg, from 1954 to 1955 assistant to the President at the Lüneburg Higher Administrative Court and was seconded to the Lower Saxony Ministry of Education in 1955. During this time he also began to set up his note boxes . In 1960/61 Luhmann received an advanced training scholarship for Harvard University , which he was able to take after his leave of absence. There he came into contact with the sociologist Talcott Parsons and his structure-functional systems theory .

After working as a consultant at the German University of Administrative Sciences in Speyer from 1962 to 1965, he was head of department at the social research center at the University of Münster in Dortmund from 1965 to 1968 . After he was enrolled in sociology at the Westphalian Wilhelms University in Münster in the winter semester of 1965/66 , he was awarded a doctorate there in February 1966. sc. pol. (Doctor of Social Sciences ) is doing his doctorate on Law and Automation in Public Administration , which he wrote in Speyer . An administrative research (reviewers: Dieter Claessens and Helmut Schelsky ). Five months later he completed his habilitation with Dieter Claessens and Heinz Hartmann with the book Functions and Consequences of Formal Organization , published in 1964 . His appointment at Bielefeld University in 1968 not only made Luhmann the first professor at this new foundation, but also made him play a decisive role in the development of the first sociological faculty in the German-speaking area. Here he taught and researched until his retirement in 1993.

Luhmann married the trained goldsmith Ursula von Walter in 1960 . The marriage resulted in a daughter and two sons. His wife died in 1977; then he raised his children alone. He dedicated the publication Function of Religion , published in the same year, to his late wife, a devout Protestant .


Luhmann's children fought for years in court over the property and copyrights to his scientific work, including the famous note box , whereupon the OLG Hamm decided in 2004 that this should be included in the work and not in the household and was therefore awarded to his daughter. Luhmann had transferred all copyrights to her in an advance legacy in 1995 while she was still alive , as he wanted his intellectual legacy to remain in one hand. The value of his academic estate is estimated at a seven-digit euro amount.

Bielefeld University acquired the estate with the support of the Krupp Foundation in 2011 in order to set up a Luhmann archive . The most important part of the estate is the card box containing around 90,000 pieces of paper, which Luhmann has maintained since the 1950s and which forms the basis of the extensive work. In a long-term project of the Faculty of Sociology at Bielefeld University in cooperation with the Cologne Center for eHumanities (CCeH) funded by the North Rhine-Westphalian Academy of Sciences and the Arts, since 2015 both the slip box and the manuscripts in the estate - four of them alone different versions of a social theory from the 1960s to 1990s - digitized and edited. A first version of the digital card box went online in April 2019. The estate is in the Bielefeld University Archives .

On the occasion of Niklas Luhmann's 90th birthday, an approx. 1000-page manuscript on social theory from the estate was published in December 2017. The basic work published under the title System Theory of Society , which largely anticipates the structure of the social theory finally published in 1997, but also includes a comprehensive introduction to social and differentiation theory, was written by Luhmann between 1973 and 1975, but did not publish the manuscript.

Characterization of the work

Luhmann's life's work is a general and comprehensive theory of society that claims to be equally valid in the scientific investigation of social microsystems (e.g. love relationships) and macro systems (such as legal systems, political systems). The claim of his theory to be particularly broad is based on the fact that his systems theory is based on communication and that the structures of communication in largely all social systems have forms that are comparable. Luhmann's systems theory can be understood as a continuation of radical constructivism in sociology. Above all, it ties in with the theoretical foundations of Humberto Maturana and his theory of autopoietic systems. Furthermore, Edmund Husserl and Immanuel Kant provided important prerequisites for the theoretical concept of time, and George Spencer-Brown for the concept of form and meaning. In contrast, Luhmann breaks with basic theoretical assumptions of sociology and philosophy, which lead into insoluble paradoxes: He replaces action with communication as a basic sociological type of operation. He also breaks with the classic subject-object schema and replaces it with the key difference between system and environment.

As early as 1970, Luhmann and the sociologist Jürgen Habermas , as the youngest proponent of critical theory , engaged in a detailed controversy about their sometimes contradicting theoretical models, which they documented in a joint publication “Theory of Society or Social Technology”. Probably the most important point of controversy in this controversy was whether sociology had to carry through a moral component or a social utopia (freedom of domination) or merely had to provide a description of society on the basis of a functional premise. From Luhmann's point of view, the answer is such that the former is only possible at the expense of the latter. If sociology is oriented towards criticism or discourse , it is therefore bound to certain starting points and, fatally, only comes to statements that are valid for a limited period of time. In order to avoid this, according to Luhmann, sociology must find an even greater abstraction of social dynamics that can claim a longer period of validity. The moral evaluation and criticism of current affairs is by no means excluded, on the contrary, it is merely outsourced from the function of sociology to other areas, namely politics or ethics. This step is particularly necessary because sociology to date has neither a general concept nor a general theory of society. For sociology as a science it is necessary that it can designate its subject in a general way.

Luhmann's theory of society assumes that “modern” society is characterized by the process of functional differentiation . The social structure of old Europe has been transformed from the segmental to the stratificatory - hierarchical and further to the functionally differentiated order due to the increasing complexity of its own resources of meaning. In modern times, subsystems are increasingly becoming detached from the overall context of society and are differentiated from the rest of society according to their own functional premises ( differentiation ). Modern society is broken up into a growing multiplicity of subsystems that have mutually developed into the environment and that are structurally more or less firmly linked to one another. Society in general represents an identical background for each individual sub-system (and for all sub-systems together), which can be functionally designed to enable communication.

For the first time in the relatively young history of sociology according to Emil Durkheim , Max Weber and others, Luhmann offers a generally valid and temporally consistent concept of society that is able to resolve the fundamental paradox that sociology itself is a part of society, i.e. a part itself of the object which it seeks to grasp scientifically, and thereby the independence and unconditionality of what society is called to be decisively impaired. After all, everything that sociology works with - language, communication, printing, problems, research goals, money, etc. - is provided by society.

In the sense of the logic of science , a self-developed concept of society is self-implicative and invalid. According to Luhmann, the field of activity of sociology must be turned around to the question of how it is nevertheless possible that subsystems can orient themselves in society and still have relatively stable structures and that permanent institutions have established themselves in society that seem (but perhaps also only seemingly) master the situation. The subsystems of society are observed with regard to their evolutionary, self-stabilizing, autopoietic structures and they themselves give the answer to what society is by showing how they deal with the complexity and paradox of society. Luhmann turned to these observations.

Bibliographical assignment

In 1984 Luhmann's (chronologically) first major work, Social Systems, was published. Outline of a general theory . With the draft that had been prepared well in advance, Luhmann gave his system theory a uniform form for the first time. After social systems several volumes followed over subsystems of society ( the economy of society , The Science of Society , The Art of the Society ) and others. In this work, the differentiation and evolution of the respective sub-system is traced with sufficiently deep reference to the history. The functional premises , the symbiotic mechanisms, the symbolically generalized communication media as well as the operative cohesion and autopoiesis of the subsystem and its relationship and structural coupling to the environment are examined. Luhmann achieved an interdisciplinary performance here, which is evidenced by a variety of bibliographical cross-references. This draft was completed in 1997 by the second major work The Society of Society (two volumes), which represents the most elaborate version of his system theory and his concept of society.

Effect and criticism

Luhmann's systems theory (as opposed to the general systems theory of Ludwig von Bertalanffy and others and the theory of social systems by Talcott Parsons ) is one of the most successful and widespread theories in the German-speaking world, not only in sociology, but also in various fields such as the Psychology , management theory or literary theory . It also influences the socio-philosophical discourse internationally, whereby noteworthy Luhmann currents have emerged in Germany, the USA, Japan, Italy and Scandinavia.

The lack of a primarily normative element in Luhmann's systems theory has sparked a sometimes heated debate not only in sociology. From an epistemological perspective it is criticized that the theory runs into the void due to its tautological , descriptive approach and does not say more about the world than what we already know or could know about it based on scientific knowledge. Precisely this constructivist approach is in turn an essential property of the theory: as observers of the world, according to Luhmann, we can only recognize and describe what is observable for us.

Systems theory in everyday language

Various Luhmann terms have entered language use outside of sociology. The concept of connection he has used since Social Systems is reflected in the formulation that something is “connectable”. The concept of theory design, which was also introduced in social systems , has been used in the humanities and feature pages since the 1990s.



Basic cross-functional main works

On the social structure and semantics

  • Society structure and semantics (four volumes, 1980–1995).
  • Love as Passion (1982).
  • Observations of Modernity (1992), ISBN 3-531-12263-0 .
  • Evolution of ideas (edited by André Kieserling, 2008), ISBN 3-518-29470-9 .

Series of monographs on individual functional systems


  • Teoria della società (with Raffaele de Giorgi, 1992), ISBN 88-204-7299-6 .
  • Introduction to systems theory (transcription of a lecture by Luhmann from 1991/92, 2002), ISBN 3-89670-292-0 .
  • Introduction to the theory of society (transcription of a lecture by Luhmann from 1992/93, 2005), ISBN 3-89670-477-X .

Organizational sociology

Clarification of the education

  • Sociological Enlightenment , six volumes, 1970–1995, Westdeutscher Verlag, Opladen

Other works


  • 1963: (with Franz Becker): Administrative errors and protection of trust: possibilities of legal regulation of the withdrawal of administrative files , Berlin: Duncker & Humblot.
  • 1964: Functions and consequences of formal organization , Berlin: Duncker & Humblot.
  • 1965: Public law compensation from a legal perspective , Berlin: Duncker & Humblot.
  • 1965: Fundamental rights as an institution: A contribution to political sociology , Berlin: Duncker & Humblot.
  • 1966: Law and Automation in Public Administration: An Administrative Research , Berlin: Duncker & Humblot.
  • 1966: Theory of Administrative Science: Inventory and Draft , Cologne and Berlin.
  • 1968: Trust: A Mechanism for Reducing Social Complexity , Stuttgart: Enke.
  • 1968: Concept of purpose and system rationality: On the function of purposes in social systems , Tübingen: JCB Mohr, Paul Siebeck.
  • 1969: Legitimation through proceedings , Neuwied and Berlin: Luchterhand .
  • 1970: Sociological Enlightenment: Articles on the theory of social systems , Cologne and Opladen: Westdeutscher Verlag.
  • 1971 (with Jürgen Habermas ): Theory of Society or Social Technology - What does systems research do? Frankfurt: Suhrkamp.
  • 1971: Political planning: essays on the sociology of politics and administration , Opladen: Westdeutscher Verlag.
  • 1972: Legal sociology , two volumes, Reinbek: Rowohlt.
  • 1973: (with Renate Mayntz ): Public Service Personnel: Entry and Careers , Baden-Baden: Nomos.
  • 1974: Legal system and legal dogmatics , Stuttgart: Kohlhammer.
  • 1975: Macht , Stuttgart: Enke.
  • 1975: Sociological Enlightenment 2: Articles on the theory of society , Opladen: Westdeutscher Verlag.
  • 1977: Function of Religion , Frankfurt: Suhrkamp.
  • 1978: Organization and decision (= Rheinisch-Westfälische Akademie der Wissenschaften, lectures G 232), Opladen: Westdeutscher Verlag.
  • 1979 (with Karl Eberhard Schorr): Problems of reflection in the educational system , Stuttgart: Klett-Cotta.
  • 1980: Social structure and semantics: Studies on the sociology of knowledge in modern society I , Frankfurt: Suhrkamp.
  • 1981: Political theory in the welfare state , Munich: Olzog.
  • 1981: Social structure and semantics: Studies on the sociology of knowledge in modern society II , Frankfurt: Suhrkamp.
  • 1981: Differentiation of the law: contributions to legal sociology and legal theory , Frankfurt: Suhrkamp.
  • 1981: Sociological Enlightenment 3: Social system, society, organization , Opladen: Westdeutscher Verlag.
  • 1982: Love as Passion: On Coding Intimacy , Frankfurt: Suhrkamp.
  • 1984: Social Systems: Outline of a General Theory , Frankfurt: Suhrkamp.
  • 1985: Can modern society adapt to ecological threats? , Rheinisch-Westfälische Akademie der Wissenschaften, lectures G 278, Opladen: Westdeutscher Verlag.
  • 1986: The sociological observation of law , Frankfurt: Metzner.
  • 1986: Ecological communication: Can modern society adapt to ecological threats? Opladen: West German publishing house.
  • 1987: Sociological Enlightenment 4: Contributions to the functional differentiation of society , Opladen: Westdeutscher Verlag.
  • 1987: Archimedes and us: Interviews (edited by Dirk Baecker and Georg Stanitzek), Berlin: Merve.
  • 1988: The economy of society , Frankfurt: Suhrkamp.
  • 1988: Knowledge as Construction , Bern: Benteli.
  • 1989: Social structure and semantics: Studies on the sociology of knowledge in modern society 3 , Frankfurt: Suhrkamp.
  • 1989 (with Peter Fuchs): Reden und Schweigen , Frankfurt: Suhrkamp.
  • 1990: Risk and Danger , Aula Lectures 48, St. Gallen.
  • 1990: Paradigm lost: On the ethical reflection of morals , Frankfurt: Suhrkamp.
  • 1990: Essays on Self-Reference , New York: Columbia University Press.
  • 1990: Sociological Enlightenment 5: Constructivist Perspectives , Opladen: Westdeutscher Verlag.
  • 1990: The science of society , Frankfurt: Suhrkamp.
  • 1991: Sociology of Risk , Berlin: de Gruyter.
  • 1992 (with Raffaele De Giorgi): Teoria della società , Milano: Franco Angeli.
  • 1992: Observations of Modernity , Opladen: Westdeutscher Verlag.
  • 1992: University as Milieu (edited by André Kieserling), Bielefeld: Haux.
  • 1993: Are there still indispensable norms in our society? , Heidelberg: CF Müller.
  • 1993: The Law of Society , Frankfurt: Suhrkamp.
  • 1994: The differentiation of the art system , Bern: Benteli.
  • 1995: The reality of the mass media (= North Rhine-Westphalian Academy of Sciences, Lectures G 333), Opladen 1995 === second, expanded edition 1996.
  • 1995: Sociological Enlightenment 6: The Sociology and Man , Opladen: Westdeutscher Verlag.
  • 1995: Social structure and semantics: Studies on the sociology of knowledge in modern society 4 , Frankfurt: Suhrkamp.
  • 1995: The Art of Society , Frankfurt: Suhrkamp.
  • 1996: The modern sciences and phenomenology , Vienna: Picus.
  • 1996: Protest: Systems Theory and Social Movements (edited by Kai-Uwe Hellmann), Frankfurt: Suhrkamp.
  • 1996: Modern Society Shocked by its Risks (= University of Hong Kong, Department of Sociology, Occasional Papers 17), Hong Kong ( HKU Scholars HUB ).
  • 1997: The Society of Society , Frankfurt: Suhrkamp.
  • 2000: Organization and decision , Wiesbaden: VS Verlag für Sozialwissenschaften
  • 2000: The politics of society (edited posthumously by André Kieserling), Frankfurt: Suhrkamp.
  • 2000: The religion of society (published posthumously by André Kieserling), Frankfurt: Suhrkamp.
  • 2002: The educational system of society (published posthumously by Dieter Lenzen), Frankfurt: Suhrkamp.
  • 2006: System as Difference. Organization , Volume 13 (1) (January 2006), pp. 37-57.

See also

Numerous sociological terms were coined by Niklas Luhmann, others were taken up and reinterpreted in terms of system theory:


Philosophy bibliography : Niklas Luhmann - Additional references on the topic

  • Lilli Nitsche: brick gable and system theory. Niklas Luhmann - scientist from Lüneburg. Merlin, Gifkendorf 2011, ISBN 978-3-87536-283-1 .
Festschriften, miscellaneous, bibliographies
  • Niklas Luhmann: Archimedes and us. Interviews . Ed .: Dirk Baecker, Georg Stanitzek. Merve, Berlin 1987, ISBN 3-88396-063-2 .
  • Klaus Dammann (Ed.): How do you feel about extraterrestrials, Mr. Luhmann? Conversations with Niklas Luhmann that were not unnoticed . Kulturverlag Kadmos, Berlin 2011, ISBN 978-3-86599-115-7 .
  • Wolfgang Hagen (Ed.): Why don't you have a television, Mr. Luhmann? Last conversations with Niklas Luhmann. Dirk Baecker, Norbert Bolz, Wolfgang Hagen, Alexander Kluge . Kulturverlag Kadmos, Berlin 2004, ISBN 3-931659-59-3 .
  • Tom Peuckert: Luhmann (radio play). Director: Leonhard Koppelmann, Production WDR 2006.
  • Klaus Dammann, Dieter Grunow, Klaus P. Japp (Hrsg.): The administration of the political system. Newer system-theoretical approaches to an old topic. Niklas Luhmann on his 65th birthday. With a complete directory of Luhmann's publications 1958–1992. Westdeutscher Verlag, Opladen 1994, ISBN 3-531-12373-4 .
  • Dirk Baecker, Jürgen Markowitz, Rudolf Stichweh, Hartmann Tyrell, Helmut Willke (eds.): Theory as Passion. Niklas Luhmann on his 60th birthday. Frankfurt 1987 (with bibliography).
  • Marvin Chlada : slip box sociology or aren't we all a little bit Luhmann? In: Marvin Chlada, Gerd Dembowski (eds.): Franz Beckenbauer, Dalai Lama, Jenny Elvers and other aliens (= The New Saints. Reports from the media heaven. Vol. 2). Aschaffenburg 2001, ISBN 978-3-932710-35-3 .
  • Detlef Pollack : Religious ciphering and sociological enlightenment: Niklas Luhmann's theory of religion within the framework of its system-theoretical requirements . Frankfurt / M. including 1988.
  • Alexander Riegler and Armin Scholl (Eds.): Luhmann's Relation to and Relevance for Constructivist Approaches (= Constructivist Foundations. Vol. 8, H. 1). 2012 ( online ).
  • Magdalena Tzaneva (ed.): Night flight of the owl: 150 voices on the work of Niklas Luhmann. Festschrift on the 15th anniversary of Niklas Luhmann's death. Berlin: LiDi EuropEdition 2013, ISBN 978-3-940011-44-2 .
  • Claudio Baraldi, Giancarlo Corsi, Elena Esposito: GLU. Glossary on Niklas Luhmann's theory of social systems . Suhrkamp, ​​Frankfurt am Main 2003, ISBN 3-518-28826-1 (reprint; stw 1226).
  • Henk de Berg: Luhmann in literary studies. A bibliography . LUMIS, Siegen 1995 (printed as typescript; LUMIS writings from the Institute for Empirical Literature and Media Research of the University of Siegen, Vol. 42).
  • Oliver Jahraus et al. (Ed.): Luhmann manual. Life - work - effect. Metzler, Stuttgart / Weimar 2012, ISBN 978-3-476-02368-1 .
  • Detlef Krause: Luhmann Lexicon. An introduction to the complete works of Niklas Luhmann with 27 illustrations and over 500 key words . 4th edition. UTB, Stuttgart 2005, ISBN 3-8252-2184-9 .

Literature on Luhmann's systems theory can be found in the article Systems Theory .


  • Peter Lohmann: The dispute over the note box , October 2003.

Web links

Commons : Niklas Luhmann  - Collection of images, videos and audio files
Wikibooks: Sociological Classics / Luhmann, Niklas  - learning and teaching materials

Individual evidence

  1. Wolfgang Hagen: Why don't you have a television, Mr. Luhmann? Last conversations with Niklas Luhmann . Berlin 2004, p. 14 .
  2. Detlef Horster : Niklas Luhmann . Munich 1997, p. 28 .
  3. ^ Christian Stöcker / DPA: Directory of members: Eppler admits NSDAP party membership. In: Der Spiegel , July 14, 2007, accessed on May 30, 2014. Malte Herwig : Hopelessly in between . In: Der Spiegel . No. 29 , 2007, p. 134 f . ( online ).
  4. ^ Johannes FK Schmidt: Only two can play this game. The faculty, Niklas Luhmann and his silent companion . In: Bielefeld University Experimentation Area . Transcript, 2015, p. 185 .
  5. Detlef Horster: Niklas Luhmann . Munich 2005, p. 31 .
  6. Niklas Luhmann: “What is the case?” And “What is behind it?”. The two sociologies and the social theory . Bielefeld 1993, p. 3 .
  7. Biography Niklas Luhmann. In: 50 Classics of Sociology. Website of the University of Graz.
  8. Eberhard Blanke: Niklas Luhmann: "... instead ...": A biographical introduction . BoD, 2017, p. 74 f .
  9. Luhmann's legacy opens up. In: taz , July 30, 2004.
  10. Andreas Rosenfelder: Map files pave his way., February 4, 2011, accessed on February 4, 2011 : “The card box, which many Luhmann students believe is completely unusable for third parties, is not a construction kit for future major theories. He's something of a wooden widow. All attempts to snatch Luhmann's secret from him should be in vain. "
  11. Alberto Cevolini: Where Does Niklas Luhmann's Card Index Come From? In: Erudition and the Republic of Letters . tape 3 , no. 4 , October 24, 2018, ISSN  2405-5069 , p. 390-420 , doi : 10.1163 / 24055069-00304002 ( [accessed November 15, 2018]).
  12. a b Peter Lohmann: The dispute over the card box. Radio report, October 2003, uploaded to YouTube on November 19, 2009 .
  13. New long-term research project “Niklas Luhmann - Theory as Passion”. Retrieved November 8, 2014 .
  14. Retrieved December 12, 2014 .
  15. Missing Link: Luhmann's thinking machine finally online. Retrieved April 7, 2019 .
  16. Claudio Baraldi, Giancarlo Corsi, Elena Esposito: GLU - Glossary of Niklas Luhmann's theory of social systems. Suhrkamp, ​​Frankfurt am Main 1997, p. 100, article on constructivism.
  17. Claudio Baraldi, Giancarlo Corsi, Elena Esposito: GLU - Glossary of Niklas Luhmann's theory of social systems. Suhrkamp, ​​Frankfurt am Main 1997, p. 29, article on autopoiesis.
  18. Armin Nassehi : The time of society. Towards a Sociological Theory of Time. Westdeutscher Verlag, Opladen 1993, pp. 59-62.
  19. See Felix Lau: Die Form der Paradoxie - An Introduction to the Mathematics and Philosophy of the "Laws of Form" by G. Spencer Brown. Carl Auer, Heidelberg 2005, pp. 147–151, chapter digression into systems theory by Niklas Luhmann .
  20. "[...] the theory of system differentiation outlined here and to be elaborated below [relates] to communication and not to actions . Anyone who observes actions will typically be able to determine several system affiliations, if only because the actor himself acts physically and mentally as an attribution point and, in addition, an action can participate in several functional systems according to motives and effects. […] Only when switching from action to communication does it become necessary to recursively define the elementary units of system formation by referring to other operations of the same system. An action theorist can be content with establishing an intention, an "intended meaning" of an action. ”Niklas Luhmann: The Society of Society. Suhrkamp, ​​Frankfurt am Main 1997, p. 608.
  21. “The relation between knowing and what is known is no longer of interest to Niklas Luhmann, just as little as that of humans as an autonomously acting and knowing» subject «in relation to the world. For a philosophical observer familiar with modern epistemology, this change in theory contains some implausible aspects, for it seems indubitable that it is "someone" who knows and that it is "something" that he recognizes. In the sense of an »implausible assumption«, as Luhmann says, it is first necessary to understand what happens when the traditional subject / object relation is replaced by a functional equivalent: the self-implicative distinction between system and environment. "Andreas Dammertz: Die Theorie self-referential systems by Niklas Luhmann as a consistent continuation of traditional epistemological approaches. Dissertation, University of Duisburg 2001, quotation p. 3 f., See further p. 146–151.
  22. Jürgen Habermas, Niklas Luhmann: Theory of society or social technology - what does systems research do? 10th edition. Suhrkamp, ​​Frankfurt am Main 1990.
  23. Klaus Eder : Complexity, Evolution and History. In: Supplement 1, Theory of Society or Social Technology - Contributions to the Habermas-Luhmann Discussion. Suhrkamp, ​​Frankfurt am Main 1973, pp. 9-13.
  24. Jürgen Habermas, Niklas Luhmann: Theory of society or social technology - what does systems research do? 10th edition. Suhrkamp, ​​Frankfurt am Main 1990, pp. 398-405.
  25. On the concept of functional differentiation Niklas Luhmann: Sociological Enlightenment. Vol. 4. Westdeutscher Verlag, Opladen 1994, pp. 34-37.
  26. Lothar Eley : Transcendental Phenomenology and Systems Theory of Society. Rombach, Freiburg 1972, pp. 102–110, chapter system theory of society and appearance . On the problem of society as an object of sociology FH Tenbruck : Emil Durkheim or the birth of society from the spirit of sociology. In: Zeitschrift für Soziologie Vol. 10 Issue 4, 1981, pp. 333-350, especially p. 335, section The society - a mortgage of sociology .
  27. To this Niklas Luhmann: The society of society. Suhrkamp, ​​Frankfurt am Main 1997, pp. 29-35.
  28. See Simone Rastelli: Niklas Luhmann: The man with the card box. In: , October 20, 2008 ( online ).
  29. Niklas Luhmann: Social Systems . Frankfurt 1984, p. 8 .
  30. ^ Resolution of the City Council of Lüneburg to name Niklas-Luhmann-Strasse in the Brockwinkler Weg building area. In: Lü .
  31. Solicited slap in the face. In: FAZ . January 27, 2012, p. 34.