The characteristic of a non-strictly deterministic system which offers only long-term non-repetitive behavior to the observer.
According to K. KRIPPENDORFF this situation involves only "transient states which are unique,… or transition probabilities (that) are so variable that there are not enough observations available to ascertain them" (1986, p.53). While both types of situations are very different, they are practically undistinguishable in most cases.
And: "Evolution and social processes are inherently non-ergodic. To understand non-ergodic behavior requires either reference to the underlying organization of the system exhibiting it or the study of a large sample of systems of the same kind" (p.53).
The precise limits of ergodicity have been better defined by the use of LYAPOUNOV's exponents (in theoretical modeling at least). Moreover, the perspective on non-ergodicity is now modified by chaos theory and its reference to the oblivion of initial states, as well as by dissipative structuration.
As to social systems, their "underlying organization" is still quite enigmatic, even in terms of networks. It is also practically impossible to study "large samples of systems of the same kind". Non-ergodicity remains a great challenge for systemics.
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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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