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Web Dictionary of Cybernetics and Systems
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stability of success in the face of a changing environment. Two kinds of adaptation are distinguished. (a) Darwinian adaptation after Darwin who observed how organism change their internal structure when their environment makes existing forms no longer viable. E.g., Ashby's homeostat searches for a new pattern of behavior as soon as disturbances in its surroundings drive or threaten to drive its essential variables outside specified limits. (b) Singerian adaptation after Singer who described how organisms, particularly man, change the nature of their environment so as to eliminate threats to or prevent the destruction of their own internal organisation. E.g., agriculture, architecture and technology adapt the physical environment to human-social needs. The difference between "adaptive" and "adapting" behavior (Steg) also reflects this distinction. Adaptation can occur in several levels of an organization al hierarchy and may even apply to itself as in "amplifying adaptation" (Ashby) which is "adaptation to adapt" and has the properties of self-organization . (krippendorff )
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