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Definition of Equifinality

Equifinality Definition from Science & Technology Dictionaries & Glossaries
Web Dictionary of Cybernetics and Systems
a condition in which different initial conditions lead to similar effects. (see multifinality .) Equifinality in biological systems led the German biologist Driesch to embrace vitalism--the doctrine that vital phenomena are inexplicable in terms of natural science. (Von Bertalanffy, p. 40)
A behavior that is oriented towards reaching certain final conditions or states regardless of where it started. Bertalanffy argued that equifinality characterizes the behavior of biological organisms but not that of physical devices and can therefore be used to distinguish between these. The model ling of such behavior by computers has blurred this distinction (see goal oriented , equilibrium , stability ). (Krippendorff )
Equifinality Definition from Encyclopedia Dictionaries & Glossaries
Wikipedia English - The Free Encyclopedia
Equifinality is the principle that in open systems a given end state can be reached by many potential means. The term is due to Ludwig von Bertalanffy, the founder of General Systems Theory. He prefers this term, in contrast to "goal", in describing complex systems' similar or behavior. It emphasizes that the same end state may be achieved via many different paths or trajectories. In closed systems, a direct cause-and-effect relationship exists between the initial condition and the final state of the system: When a computer's 'on' switch is pushed, the system powers up. Open systems (such as biological and social systems), however, operate quite differently. The idea of equifinality suggests that similar results may be achieved with different initial conditions and in many different ways. This phenomenon has also been referred to as isotelesis (Greek: ἴσος /isos/ "equal", τέλεσις /telesis/ "the intelligent direction of effort toward the achievement of an end.") when in games involving superrationality.

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