This paper argues against the laws-systems-rules trichotomy which Cushman and Pearce use to organize theoretical options in the communication field. This trichotomy of perspectives does reflect the groupings into which scholars have come to classify themselves, but the analytic implications of this division follow strongly and confound the actual levels of choice inherent in theory building. The organization of theoretical alternatives by attempting to identify a type of necessity unique to each obscures fundamental differences among theorists, unprofitably restricts the range of theoretical alternatives, and will not encompass the variety of viable theoretic perspectives now before us. In place of the laws-rules-systems trichotomy this paper offers a multilevel analytic framework for organizing theoretical alternatives in communication.