It is proved that the separation of internal state from external input, characteristic of automata, machines and machine‐like systems, is impossible in genuinely self‐steering systems. This excludes the man‐machine analogy and the automaton‐ or machine‐oriented approaches in General System Theory (e.g. that of Mesarovic and Takahara) as possible complete explanations of human action. A new approach based on a mathematical notion of actor‐system is suggested, and a fundamental theorem concerning the general form of state‐transition in such systems is derived.
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