Ontology as a schema of observation

Communication: Reflections on Niklas Luhmann's Social Systems Theory

To say that a person or a class or people is oppressed by society is too simplistic. If we think of society as the totality of human beings, plus maybe institutions like schools, churches, and businesses created by human beings, we are using individual/society distinction, rather than thinking of society as global communication. In the traditional view, the individual is understood as the irreducible unit of society. Society is the whole and individual people are the parts. The individual then is understood as alienated from society, oppressed by society, indoctrinated by society, struggling for liberation from society, an integral member of society, or placed in some other relation to society.

But these are all observations. So the question becomes, What observer observes the individual as X? What observer observes the individual as alienated, oppressed, seeking liberation, or in some other relation to society?

We might say that a critical theory, religion, or…

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