1. "Any systematic (rule-like or determinate) behavior of one part of a system that tends to restrict the fluctuations in behavior of another part of that system" (K. KRIPPENDORFF, 1986, p.64).
Regulations translate constraints through appropriate devices, i.e. regulators. They are one of the most general and fundamental feature of systems in their dynamic dimension and appear in practically every aspect of natural or constructed ones.
KRIPPENDORFF states: "While both parts must lie in the same feedback loop, regulation involves this basic asymmetry: the regulator detects and responds to discrepancies from some expectation (criterion, goal) which is of an ordinality higher than the behavior so assessed and it computes the actions appropriate to keep the behavior to be regulated within desirable limits" (Ibid).
Regulation and control are merely near synonyms. Regulation seems more general, as many natural regulations (in ecosystems, in living systems, and even in social systems) are automatic. Control implies generally the introduction by a human decider.
2. Stabilization of the completed structures" (1977, p.152).
J.L.LE MOIGNE interprets regulation as a special case of a more general phenomenon, "equilibration ", which includes as well the stabilization of the not yet completed structures, "themselves in morphogenetic evolution within the fields of forces of the modelized object" (Ibid).
LE MOIGNE insists (opportunely, it seems) on the difference between regulation and control. The latter involves most generally the notion of strictly pre-programed ordering of the process, in the way it was introduced by the original mecanicist cybernetics and implies a considerable rigidity.
LE MOIGNE coincides with K. BERRIEN's view according to which regulation needs no memory to be adaptive (1968). It seems however obvious, that a regulator needs at least some permanent trace of the past of the system, be it under the guise of a predefined optimum state or a list of acceptable states, or be it a register of acceptable minima or maxima. Such traces are easily overlooked, specially in natural regulators.
A wide-embracing survey of the subject (in French) can be found in A. LICHNEROWICZ et al (1977).
- 1) General information
- 2) Methodology or model
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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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