Character of a system whose parameters do not vary in arithmetic proportion.
This nonlinear character is generally ignored in many models because assumed linearity enormously simplifies modeling and produces simple solutions.
J.W. FORRESTER observed: "There has been a reluctance to give up the linear mathematical procedures, with the result that models have been biased to fit the linear procedures at the expense of faithfulness in representing the real world"… and "Accepting nonlinearity tends to force a person out of the world of theorist into the world of the practitioner" (1973, p.104).
In effect, linear approximations become unreliable near nonlinear thresholds.
In A. McROBIE and M. THOMPSON words: "If we include the nonlinearities of the system in the analysis, then more than one steady-state solution is produced and the one on which the system settles will depend on its initial conditions" (1990, p.42).
- 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]
We thank the following partners for making the open access of this volume possible: