System stability and change
Heraclitus of Ephesus was a Greek philosopher known for his doctrine of change being central to the universe.
Plato quoted him as saying “Everything changes and nothing stands still.”
Yet central to human existence is that some things are stable, or stable enough, for a while.
What makes a thing stable? And in what ways can it change?
This paper discusses system stability and change with reference to Ashby’s ideas.
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A conclusion is that it is vital to distinguish two kinds of change.
· System state change: changing the values of system state variables; or changing the actors that play system roles.
· System mutation: changing the variables themselves; or changing the roles or behaviors that update system state.