Character of any self-repeating process. In order to take the time-dimension in account it would be more advisable to speak of "spirality".
Circularity is the result of feedbacks, specially the cyclical ones, corresponding to alternative positive and negative action, or on-and-off processes.
The circular process is essentially self-referential and basic for recursivity. It is generally functional and tends to generate either an algorithm, or a structure.
A degree of (frequently hidden) circularity is unavoidable in reasoning: St. KAUFFMAN, quoting W.V. QUINE, considers that "no hypothesis confronts the "world" alone. Instead, it confronts the world as part of an entire worldview of linked hypotheses plus statements about the experimental situation. Given a negative experimental result, something must be rejected. Either some hypothesis is wrong, or a description of the experimental situation is incorrect. But, as Quine pointed out, the choice of which hypotesis to reject is a free one. … Different choices of which hypothesis to reject impinge on the whole web of hypotheses and laws. To maintain coherence in that web, we typically choose to salvage a central circularly interdefined cluster of hypotheses" (1993, p.17).
This situation appeared repetitively in science since the nineteenth Century: Non-euclidean geometries, corpuscular and ondulatory theories of light propagation, quanta, relativity, chaos, etc…
As to recursivity, it corresponds to von FOERSTER's "Eigen-" concept, and to conceptual closure.
R. GLANVILLE observed that circularity is of utmost importance in conversation in G. PASK's sense, because it is :"… the basis for understanding, for the world as we (are) now seeing;it, and for our seeing it" (1993, p.53).
Circularity is thus in no way to be confused with vicious circles. Particularly in systemic semantics, this dictionary uses circularity in a positive way to induce a kind of intra-dialogue in the user's mind by criss-crossing through the whole semantic field.
In correspondence with organizational closure, circularity is also a characteristic of numerous natural processes and systems, specially biological and ecological ones, as a result of the complex interplay of multiple interconnected feedbacks.
- 1) General information
- 2) Methodology or model
- 3) Epistemology, ontology and semantics
- 4) Human sciences
- 5) Discipline oriented
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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