"A set of constraints which are local, arbitrary, structure-dependent, and associated with rate-independent aspects of control" (T.F.H. ALLEN & T.B. STARR, 1982, p.276).
A fine example are the rules of chess.
H. PATTEE (quoted by ALLEN & STARR, p.42) writes: "The basic distinction between laws (Note: i.e. so-called "Laws of nature") and rules can be made by these criteria: laws are a) inexorable, b) incorporeal, and c) universal; rules are a) arbitrary, b) structure dependent, c) local. In other words, we can never alter or evade laws of nature, we can always evade and change rules. Laws of nature do not need embodiments of structure to execute them; rules must have a real physical structure or constraint if they are to be executed" (PATTEE,. 1978). In this sense, legal codes are in fact systems of rules.
PATTEE's concept of laws is quite platonician: we can discover them only by seeking common features to a number of rules relatives to "real physical structures or constraints" proper to concrete systems.
One could say either that the laws are immanent in systems, or results from their pre-organized "reading" by the observer. In this way K. KRIPPENDORFF states: "The search for rules rather than laws distinguishes two schools in communication research, the cybernetics of observing systems from the cybernetics of observed systems and perhaps the social sciences from the natural sciences" (1986, p.67).
J. CASTI, possibly wandering on the border between laws and rules, writes: "Scientific rules are objective in that they are relatively free of investigator bias… For example, the exponent in NEWTON's inverse square law of gravitation is 2 and not 2,315 of 17 or any other number besides 2… In short, the rule is observer-invariant" (1994. p.13). While this is somehow contradictory with the definition and PATTEE's opinion, it softens somewhat ontological skepticism and is a counter-weight to a tendency to solipsism that seems sometimes to threaten autopoietic approaches.
Rules are generative, i.e. they constrain the set of possible combinations of elements in a specific way.
Rules are either introduced through a program, or indirectly constructed in an automatic way.
- 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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