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: This is a study of a method of thinking in the social sciences known as the loop concept. This concept underlies the notions of feedback and circular causality. After tracing its historical roots, the author argues that modern usage of feedback thinking in the social sciences divides into two main lines of development. He makes extensive use of the analysis of citations and texts from many branches of the social sciences to document this split and to trace its development and implications. The presumption underlying this work is that feedback thinking is one of the most penetrating patterns of thought in all social science. Part of the purpose of the text is to illuminate the significance of feedback thinking in social science and social policy - current as well as classical.