"NOTHING BUT" FALLACY 1)2)3)
The kind of superficial analogy that blocks the mind in a restricted and excluding schema about some entity or issue.
This fallacy was strongly denounced by K.L.von BERTALANFFY. An example is: "An organism is nothing but a machine". Vague analogies should be replaced by the perception and clear understanding of specific and limited similarities.
Even the term "isomorphism", proposed by Bertalanffy himself, should be used carefully. In fact any "isomorphic" model of an entity is no more than homomorphic. It represents merely some selected and seemingly significant aspects of the entity.
Only models of two or more different entities could be isomorphic models. A good example are the isomorphisms between levels in MILLER's taxonomy of living systems.
To avoid mere analogical fallacies, Bertalanffy resorted to mathematical expressions as far as possible. M. DAVIDSON, (quoted by M. MULEJ) wrote: "By using differential calculus, he was able to provide mathematical precision to such GST concepts as dynamic equilibrium (the steady state). the import of energy from the environment (negentropy), and self-restoration in response to external disturbances (equifinality)"
Topology is now also a source of precise modelling for isomorphisms in processes. Examples are attractors or Poincare sections. Other useful precise models are networks, power laws, renormalization transformations.
Graphs and matrixes are also useful.
- 1) General information
- 2) Methodology or model
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To cite this page, please use the following information:
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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