More informed critiques of Luhmann usually refer to the following themes or varitions upon them:
- his theory's excessively eclectic nature in the sources from which it is drawn and its tendency, therefore, towards incoherence and inconsistency
- his failure to demonstrate empirically that his theory contributes to the sociological analysis of the contemporary institutions of politics and law
- his failure to build into his theory any recognition of local or historical variations which may significantly affect and condition the operation of legal and political systems
- his reluctance to engage in debates ober current political or legal issues
- his refusal to see law and politics as instruments for progress in society
- his failure to account for human agency in directing change through law and politics, or in using law and politics to resist change
- the failure of his theoretical ideas to offer anything more than a new brand of conservatism
- his rejection of rationality as a universal arbiter of validity, value and legitimacy.
- Niklas Luhmann 'The Theory of Social Systems and its Epistemology: Reply to Danilo Zolo's Critical Comments'Philosophy of the Social Sciences, 1986 16:112-131
- 批判論文：Danilo Zolo 'Function, Meaning, Complexity: The Epistemological Premisses of Niklas Luhmann's 'Sociological Enlightenment' Philosophy of the Social Sciences 1986 16: 115-127
- Paterson, J. and Teubner, G. (1998) 'Changing Maps: Empirical Legal Autopoiesis', Social and Legal Studies, Vol.7 (4), 451-468.
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The observer of systems' operations has to adopt an attitude of total indifference on the question of whether these operations produce morally good or morally bad results, or whether they result is progress or regression.[p.212]
5 法や政治を 革新（あるいは保守）のための道具 だと みなさないのがけしからん
ルーマンは、法や政治を、〈社会的活動の中心〉とか〈社会における出来事の prime cause〉だとか考えたがる奴に反対してるだけですよ（大意）
ちょwww ボブ・ジェソップ インタビュ〜〜
- Interview with Bob Jessop conducted by Mürekkep (Ink), Ankara [pdf:200kb]
Finally, from Chilean biology, if not directly, at least by way of Niklas Luhmann (a German sociologist), Gunther Teubner (a German legal theorist), and Helmut Willke (a German political scientist), I took the notion of 'autopoiesis'. Transposed (some would say illegitimately) from cell biology to sociology, the autopoieticist approach suggests that all (major) societal sub-systems (such as law, politics, the economy, and science) can be studied as self-referential, self-reproducing, and self-regulating. In brief, these systems discursively constitute their own boundaries, re-create themselves the conditions for their internal operations, and develop in terms of their own modus operandi rather than being subordinate to some external (functional or input-output) logic. This was especially helpful for thinking through the old problem of the state's 'relative autonomy' vis-à-vis the market economy. For it suggests this problem can be addressed in terms of the path-dependent 'structural coupling' between two operationally autonomous but ecologically interdependent subsystems. There were several other lessons that I derived from theories of autopoiesis but the link to relative autonomy was the most important initially.
It has also been claimed that Marx's ability to produce a creative synthesis from German philosophy, French politics, and English economics involved more than his capacity to develop boils on the backside by sitting for hours in the British Museum Library.