The condition of a system able to survive after birth, to grow and to reach enduring dynamic stability.
This is, generally speaking, the condition of autopoietic and autonomous systems.
W.D. GROSSMANN and K.E.F. WATT understand viability as "temporal variety" and discuss this notion as follows: "To be viable, systems must have manifold features that will allow them to withstand the impact of expected as well as unforeseen and erratic events. It would be desirable to have systems that could even benefit from the unexpected" (1992, p.5).
The authors state that viability transcends C.S. HOLLING's idea of resilience, because it "… includes the notion of coming into existence and ultimately disintegrating" (Ibid).
According to them: "… diversity may in some cases contribute to viability" (Ibid).
This is acceptable if diversity is variety in ASHBY's meaning, or systemic internal heterogeneity, when various functions or groups can contribute numerous and varied adaptations.
As diversity is commonly antagonized by uniformization (as in chain production, for instance), or autocratic and limiting control, so could be viability. However, diversity should necessarily remain within the limits of organizational closure, to allow for coherence in the system.
According to E.von GLASERSFELD viability has its meaning in the cognitive domain: "Briefly stated, concepts, theories, and cognitive structures in general, are viable and survive as long as they serve the purposes to which they are put, as long as they more or less reliably get us what we want" (1988, p.138).
Such a view is closely related to POPPER's "falsification" and KUHN's shifts of paradigms.
From a similar viewpoint, Systemics will be viable only if it will produce practical responses to complex issues that former methodologies and theories cannot give.
- 1) General information
- 2) Methodology or model
- 3) Epistemology, ontology and semantics
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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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