Concise description of key system ideas in “The Structure of Wholes” by Andras Angyal (1941) in the International Encyclopedia of the Social Sciences. Inquiry into personality was generalized to broader domains.

To provide conceptual tools for dealing with wholes whose functioning does not derive from that of their parts, Angyal outlined the logical properties of systems, as distinct from relationships. He defined “systems” as distributions of members in a dimensional domain governed by a single principle: the system principle of the circle is that all points are equidistant from the center; the system principle of human life, the double pattern described above. Members or parts of a system function as such only through those qualities that are relevant to the system principle and are connected only through their common participation in the system.

According to Angyal, causal thinking, which looks for direct connections between antecedent and subsequent events, has only a limited value in exploring personality. In system thinking one connects two parts, or two events, by finding the superordinate system to which both belong.

Angyal, Andras | International Encyclopedia of the Social Sciences | Encyclopedia.com via http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1G2-3045000045.html.

Better than my fixup of the Wikipedia entry on Andras Angyal.