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We often want to think and speak about a process as something definit, constant -- in other words, as an object. Then we objectify it, i.e. replace the process, in reality or in our imagination, by an object. Objectification is a kind of metasystem transition. Normally in a metasystem transition we create a new process which controls the old one(s). In objectification the new process controls not the old ones, but the objects representing these processes.

The most usual form of objectification is definition. In mathematics, for instance, we define algorithms as computational processes which we expect to be executed in a certain fixed manner. The definition of an algorithmic process is an object, usually a text in some formal language. The semantics, i.e. the meaning, of the language is provided by a machine which executes the process in accordance with its definition. The famous Turing machine is an example. The concept of a machine gives us a link between objects and associated processes. A machine is a process which is controlled by its user in a certain quite limited way: the user only sets up the machine, i.e. puts into it certain objects (typically those would be the definition of an algorithm and some initial data for it) and starts it. After that the process goes on autonomously.

Copyright© 1991 Principia Cybernetica - Referencing this page

V. Turchin,

Sep 1991


Metasystem Transition Theory


Basic Concepts of Science

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