In addition to the meaning of forking that Webster 1913 defines for bifurcation, the word also has several other meanings:

· In financial context: Division of a financial instrument into two pieces. The term sometimes refers to a division for analytical or evaluation purposes, but it more commonly suggests a more complex approach to financial instrument taxation.

· In dynamic systems context: The appearance of an additional pattern of behavior or sequence of states for a system.

"One can think of a person traveling down a road. The farther the traveler goes, the more side streets or alternative routes appear. In a sense the bifurcation introduces history. To know the state of a system at any time implies a knowledge of the paths taken or not taken." (Cybernetics Glossary: Umpleby after Prigogine, 1980, pp. 105-6)
A logical fallacy also called a false dilemma. This is when you give two choices--a dilemma (of sorts), but fail to point out that there is at least one other choice.

"Either you're for us or you're against us"

"Are you a Christian or an atheist?"

"Get in the car now! I don't have time to stand here all day!"--This one is totaly true--but the implication is false.

"If Ralph hasn't finished that report yet, then he's a lazy bum"--This one could be true, but I would suspect that a third case is possible.

  1. Split into two parts.
  2. A change in the stability or in the types of solutions which occurs as a parameter is varied in a dissipative dynamic system. The change can be seen as a "bifurcation point" in a graph of the parameter being varied vs. one of the properties of the solutions.

From the BioTech Dictionary at For further information see the BioTech homenode.

Bi`fur*ca"tion (?), n. [Cf. F. bifurcation.]

A forking, or division into two branches.


© Webster 1913.

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