"The first state in a line of behavior" (W.R. ASHBY, 1960, p.20).
Starting from the initial state, "A line of behavior is specified by a succesion of states and the time-intervals between them" (Ibid). This seems to be a simplified deterministic view.
However, initial states are generally complex, made of various (or numerous!) interacting initial conditions, J. CASTI observes that it is "impossible, practically speaking, to know a system's exact initial state; it is effectively uncomputable" (1994, p.114).
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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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