Dear Rafeal:

Your response to Stan (see below) caught my eye, since, on first blush, it appears to be remote from modern physics and the "physics talk" of the (space time energy) trinity.  This trinity is, of course, merely a reification of modern mathematical symbolism.  And this modern mathematical symbolism is merely an explication of the concepts of continuity, grounded in the quasi mystic world view of Russian - German mathematician G. Cantor. (Cantor's views of logic were expounded on by Husserl and Heidigger, as you are well aware.) A major difficulty facing the (space time energy) trinity is the trinitarian nature of space itself.  The pairings (left/right), (front/ back), (up/down) and the x,y,z co-ordinates of analytical geometry give 9  (= 3 + 6) of the putative 11 - dimensions of string theory (Calabi-Yau spaces).  (This fact is of critical importance in understanding the following text.)

How is it possible to discretize information from this foundation?  That is, relate or illate with unique symbols?

Your position appears to me to be a radical simplification of human communication.  The simplistic dichotomy you write of presupposes a "symbolic world"  as if somehow the distinction

there *is* the *material* world but we *live* also in a *symbolic* world. It seems to me that (to put it in a simplified way) we argue with two theories of information, one which is related to the *material world* (physical information) and the other which is founded in the *symbolic world*.

is of substantial fundamental importance.  It is not. 

( If my memory serves me correctly, your text is analogous to the position of Augustine with respect to the doctrine of signs,  or, perhaps a view of CS Peirce.  Or did you have another view in mine?)

Human communicators have created numerous symbol systems, notations for alphabets, numbers, music, dance, etc.  A fundamental challenge is to relate the grammars of the various symbol systems that we use for daily communication.  This challenge is simplified by one critical fact.

One symbol system is antecedent to all of the others.
That is, the chemical symbol system is the source of our material world.
And the emergence of life is the emergence of symbol systems that express meaning relationships within the material world.  For example, the encoding and decoding of information into macromolecules is historically meaningful and preserved over time.  Thus, the chemical symbol system is antecedent to the biological symbol system.
And the emergence of man is the emergence of the capacity to create symbol systems pendent on macromolecules.
And the emergence of cultures is the capacity to transmit and translate among symbol systems.

The process philosophy of emergence, the history of nature, it seems to me, does not support your argument of :

two theories of information,

rather, we have an antecedent theory of information in chemical symbolism, from which the alphabetic symbolism emerged with a radically different grammar. 

From the alphabetic symbolism, a mathematical symbolism emerged, with a strange grammar that restricts itself to the imperative mood.

From the mathematical symbolism, the trinitarian concept of physical information was imagined, not as a discrete process, but rather as a Platonic form.  And, eventually, the eidetic picture of strings emerging from imaginary numbers of space as expressed in the opening paragraph of this message.

Rather than "two theories of information", process history provides us with a flow of internal and external relationships among symbol systems, such as string theory.

The grammar of chemical symbolism, is, however, already a spatial grammar.  (We call them "isomers".)
The grammar of chemical symbolism is a numeric grammar that is "pendent" on our experience; it is a grammar with remarkable clarity and distinctiveness.  The grammars of all other symbol systems are derivative from the grammar of the chemical symbol system.  

To me, the illation you propose is unpersuasive from either a philosophical or material perspective because it omits the sense of history of information and communication.

To place this into Aristotelian perspective, the Porphyrean tree you propose is at the level of the individual.  
The same argument can be re-stated, but phrased in alternative symbol systems: Aristotelian logic is much richer when viewed from the antecedent symbolism of chemistry than from the derivative symbolism of alphabetic predications.
Or, in yet another view of the same argument, the aim of science is to create explications of genera, dichotomies are merely the first of the pairings that can mark the distinction. 

Thank you for a stimulating post. 
Thanks also to John H. for his innovative parsing of the concept of 'information" - philosophic polysemy at its finest!



On Jul 23, 2006, at 6:00 AM, [EMAIL PROTECTED] wrote:

From: "Rafael Capurro" <[EMAIL PROTECTED]>

Date: July 22, 2006 3:25:33 PM EDT

To: <>, "Stanley N. Salthe" <[EMAIL PROTECTED]>

Subject: Re: [Fis] Physical Information

Dear Stanley,

not to forget the relation between information and rhetorics in Aristotle which makes a *pendant* to the nature-oriented view of the *aitiai* (causes). You probably know the classic study by L.W. Rosenfeld:  Aristotle and Information Theory. A Comparison of Causal Assumptions on Two Theories of Communication (The Hague 1971).

This brings us back to our former discussion:  there *is* the *material* world but we *live* also in a *symbolic* world. It seems to me that (to put it in a simplified way) we argue with two theories of information, one which is related to the *material world* (physical information) and the other which is founded in the *symbolic world*. It seems to me that we have discovered that there is something *similar* to what we call information in the *symbolic world* in the material world (semantic information)(, and that this is what makes information theory especially appealing for both perspectives.  This discovery is the view that natural processes can be understood in terms of *message* communication (and not just in the Aristotelian terms of *in-formation* of matter through form)

kind regards


Jerry LR Chandler
Research Professor
Krasnow Institute for Advanced Study
George Mason University

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