This article is about the meaning of change in terms of flux and variation. For other uses, see Change (disambiguation).

Change denotes the transition that occurs between one state to another.



A stimulus or force causes change. For example, ice melts into water. The heating of the ice above 32 degrees Fahrenheit caused the immobile oxygen and hydrogen atoms to mobilize, changing the ice into water.

Throughout history, change has been defined by varying points of view. In ancient Greek philosophy, while Heraclitus saw change as ever-present and all-encompassing, Parmenides virtually denied its existence. One's philosophical position may have an influence on the perception of change.

Ovid produced a classic thematic handling of change as metamorphosis in his Metamorphoses.

Ptolemaic astronomy envisioned a largely static universe, with erratic change confined to less worthy spheres.

Isaac Newton and Gottfried Leibniz harnessed mathematical concepts into calculus to provide mathematical models of change. This constituted a major step forward in understanding flux and variation. In modern physics, the concept of change is associated with action.


Medieval thought fostered great respect for authority and revelation, severely cramping any encouragement of change.

With the rise of industrialisation and capitalism, the importance attached to innovation grew, and social and political upheavals and pressures often forced change by violent revolution (as in North America in the late 18th century and in later imitators). By the late 20th century much business and New Age thought focused enthusiastically on transformation in management, in function and in mental attitudes, while ignoring or deploring changes in society or in geopolitics.

Cultural attitudes towards change:

  • Change is random, lacking determinism or teleology.
  • Change is cyclical, and one expects circumstances to recur. This concept, often seen as related to Eastern world views such as Hinduism or Buddhism, nevertheless had great popularity in Europe in the Middle ages, and often appears in depictions of The Wheel of Fortune.

Change may require organisms and organizations to adapt (see also evolution).

Changes in society have been observed through slow, gradual modifications in mindsets and beliefs as well as through dramatic action (see revolutions). History is one of the tools used to document change.

See also

Wikiquote has a collection of quotations related to:
  • Social change
  • Death, Desire and Loss in Western Culture by Jonathan Dollimorede:Veränderung

es:Cambio fa:تغییر mk:Промена new:चांजे ja:変化 pt:Mudança simple:Change zh:变化


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