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  • 1 Department of Science Dynamics Nieuwe Achtergracht 166 1018 WV Amsterdam The Netherlands Nieuwe Achtergracht 166 1018 WV Amsterdam The Netherlands
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The theory of autopoiesis, i.e., self-referentiality in the operation of the system, provides us with a production rule for change in the structure of the network. Using information theory, a model system is developed to study the relative likelihood of dynamic transitions: various senses of irreversibility (emergence, and path dependency) are disinguished. A test for path dependency is applied to two sets of empirical data which supposedly reflect historical discontinuities: the budget of theFraunhofer Gesellschaft, and the citation network among AIDS research related journals. The model for the interaction between self-referential developments and goal-referential boundary conditions is further specified, using the example of technological trajectories and selection environments.