Goal or objective that a system seems to pursue, in spite of disturbances, induced by its environment or of endogenous origin.
In systemics this concept does not imply intentionality. It merely characterizes an observed behavioral pattern, which appears to be recurrent or permanent. It is thus neither mechanicist, nor transcendental.
Finality, in this systemic-cybernetic meaning, is characterized by regulation around definite standards.
Intentional behavior seems proper only to human systems, as claimed for example by J.L. LEMOIGNE, who speaks of "self-finalization" as human capacity to define own goals. This could possibly be extended in a limited sense to superior animals.
As observed by E. SCHWARZ, in no case does teleonomy - a notion more immune to conceptual distorsions - imply some cause in the future for the present state. (1993, p.6) Thus any science fiction time paradox is avoided.
In a different way, the French biologist J. MONOD considered that the complex organization of the human brain entails a kind of predictive capacity and accordingly, some measure of control for the future of its owner. If alternative possibilities exist, then decision making makes sense, as well as goal-directness, goal-seeking (and purpose)
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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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