Semantic control systems
Definitions of ?control? and their consequences are considered in the context of cybernetics and systems science, semiotics, Meta?System Transition (MST) Theory, and the Powers school of control theory. First systems, meta?systems, and their properties are defined in terms of cardinal and dimensional distinctions, variety, and constraint. Two senses of control are discussed and contrasted. A number of results are derived: that standard control results in the active maintenance of a subsystem in a stable, dynamic equilibrium; that this equilibrium is at a distinct hierarchical level; and that it is maintained in the face of disturbances from a variable environment. It is asserted that control requires semantic relations within the control system in the form of controller actions which are ?appropriate? for the maintenance of ?good control.? Semantic relations are discussed in relation to negative feedback, modeling functions, information, codes, meaning, and life. We conclude with a discussion of some consequences for the theory of metasystem transitions, and a call for the support of the new field of biosemiotics.