The function of systems

In an earlier post, I wrote that something that is broken has lost its sense of wholeness. While this is true at a formal level (formal cause), it leaves out the clearer implication that this machine has ceased to function as we would like it to. Quite naturally, we think that broken things are broken when they stop performing their requisite functions, fulfilling their assigned tasks, or executing our commands perhaps in virtue of having lost their integrity. Here, we might speak of malfunctions as well as dysfunctions. We might also speak of something’s still performing, albeit less efficiently or effectively.

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