Multifinality: Many (Potential) Endings

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Last month, a wrote a little about problem of equifinality. I realized I left the story only half finished, so I decided to write a very short note about the flip side of this.

Multifinality is when single cause can lead to many different possible effects. The principle is that similar initial conditions may results with widely varied end states.

One initial cause or state —–> A multitude of possible outcomes or statesĀ 

The problem: even if one understands the true cause or initial state, one cannot predict the result.

This is, in part, why forecasting the weather more than a ten days out if extremely difficult.

In real world situation, both equifinality and mutlifinality are always operating. In addition, most systems have a large number of inputs, compounding the complexity to tease out real causes or determining their future effects.