Imagine some complex system that may have a wide variety of possible actions/outputs, and that to some extent may be responsive to its circumstances.
I'm trying to find a suitable term (hopefully a single word, a particularly apt phrase may do) for treating such a system as if it had motives - as if it was seeking or wanting some outcome or set of outcomes.
I'm not really looking for anthropomorphism (attributing specifically human qualities), since the motives needn't be human ones -- after all, an animal might easily have motives, so the word carries implications I don't wish to convey. I'm also not looking for reification, as the system may itself be concrete (a gyroscope, for example can be responsive, and seem as if it were seeking to maintain its orientation), and that doesn't convey the sense of treating it as if it had motives.
It's something in the ballpark of the pathetic fallacy, but that's not exactly what I'm after. It would almost do, but I'm trying to avoid the suggestion of fallacy -- the context is more a metaphorical usage than a logical argument, so I think something suggesting there's fallacy involved isn't quite what's called for; indeed sometimes such metaphorical usage may be quite vivid, even productive (at least where the analogy helps), even if potentially misleading when taken too far.
Is there another such a word or phrase?
[Some possible examples/near analogies occurred to me as I typed ... sometimes people speak of evolution as if it were seeking to adapt, though it doesn't. Sometimes people attribute similar notions to an economy or market... as if it were trying or acting to achieve some kind of outcome. What might one call it when someone does that?]