The progressive structural elaboration of a system produced by the interplay of some rules within a specified environment.
Epigenesis as a concept originated in biology, more than two centuries ago (K. WOLFF, 1767, as quoted by J. CASTI, 1990, p.137). "It means that all of the adult organism is present in codified, rather than actual, form in all fertilized eggs in all species… The difficulty with WOLFF's theory is that it says nothing about how the set of instructions in the fertilized egg becomes translated into the final adult form" (p.138).
This problem has beeen finally tackled in the second half of this century and seems nearing its solution.
In 1967, St. KAUFFMAN, as quoted by W. Mc CULLOCH, proposed that: "… a random net of neurons, each listening to two neurons, and each speaking to two, and the sixteen Boolean functions tossed into the neurons at random, would form a good model of epigenesis. These nets must exhibit recurrent behavior sequences called state cycles. KAUFFMAN found that with two inputs per element, nets typically do have very short stable state cycles, and very few state cycles" (1974, p.14).
This implies that such systems tend toward organizational closure. There is some analogy with the progressive stabilization of ASHBY's homeostat.
Moreover, epigenesis is a no-return trip. (see hereafter).
- 1) General information
- 2) Methodology or model
- 3) Epistemology, ontology and semantics
- 4) Human sciences
- 5) Discipline oriented
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Bertalanffy Center for the Study of Systems Science (2020). Title of the entry. In Charles François (Ed.), International Encyclopedia of Systems and Cybernetics (2). Retrieved from www.systemspedia.org/[full/url]
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