The Dual Nature of Complex Systems

Several definitions are available for complex systems (see Lewin 1999, Cilliers 1998). Teleonomy, autopoiesis, and self-organization seem to be key concepts to understand the nature of a complex system.

Complexity can be created and maintained by a teleonomic (project) mechanism (Monod 1970) at the level of a biological entity, and by a goal function at the level of a natural system (Wilhelm and Bruggemann 2000).

In the next section I will discuss the changes that occur in teleonomic entities as well as in emergent entities in which goal functions can be described by emergent properties.

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