Hi Terry,

I have a question about your ‘PS’.  I think of MEP as being constrained by 
potentials and a limited set of material opportunities (the adjacent 
possibilities).  I think of it as a thermodynamic version of natural selection 
in which some alternative states are thermodynamically favored over others, but 
this does not guarantee that dissipation will proceed to completion or that the 
particular alternative that absolutely generates the most efficient or 
effective dissipation will always be the manifested outcome (if there are a 
number of similarly optimal paths available).  Contingency on idiosyncratic 
configurations within and in the neighborhood of a system might lead the system 
to follow a variety of alternative paths.  Would you argue that autogenesis is 
not an MEP process from this somewhat fuzzy perspective?



Guy Hoelzer, Associate Professor
Department of Biology
University of Nevada Reno

Phone:  775-784-4860
Fax:  775-784-1302

> On Jan 9, 2015, at 3:35 AM, Pedro C. Marijuan <pcmarijuan.i...@aragon.es> 
> wrote:
> Message from Terry Deacon
> -------- Original Message --------
> Subject:      Re: [Fis] Steps to a theory of reference & significance
> Date:         Fri, 9 Jan 2015 03:32:22 +0100
> From:         Terrence W. DEACON <dea...@berkeley.edu>
> To:   Pedro C. Marijuan <pcmarijuan.i...@aragon.es>
> References:   <54ad3798.7060...@aragon.es> <54ae7ca4.9080...@aragon.es>
> This very brief reply should be routed to the FIS list please...
> One response: My choice of autogenesis is motivated by ...
> 1. It is the simplest dynamical system I have been able to imagine that 
> exhibits the requisite properties required for an interpretive system (i.e. 
> one that can assign reference and significance to a signal due to intrinsic 
> properties alone - that is these features are independent of any extrinsic 
> perspective). A simple organism is far too complex. As a result it is 
> possible to make misleading assumptions about what we don't account for 
> (allowing us to inadvertently sneak in assumptions about what information is 
> and is not - for example just assuming that DNA molecule are intrinsically 
> informational). As I note when introducing this model, developing a simplest 
> but not too simple model system is the key to devising clear physical 
> principles.
> 2. Autogenesis is not the same as autopoiesis (which is only a description of 
> presumed requirements for life) rather autogenesis is a well-described 
> empirically testable molecular dynamic, that is easily model able in all 
> aspects. Autopoiesis fit with the class of models assuming that simple 
> autocatalysis is sufficient and then simply adds (by assertion) the 
> (non-realized) assumption that autopoiesis can somehow be causally closed and 
> unitary, whereas in fact autocatalytic systems are intrinsically dissipative* 
> and subject to error catastrophe. More importantly, the assumption about 
> coherent finite unity and internal synergy is the critical one, and so it 
> needs to be the one feature that is explicitly modeled in order to understand 
> these aspects of information. 3. The self-regulating self-repairing 
> end-directed dynamic of autogenesis provides a disposition to preserve a 
> reference target state (even when its current state is far from it). This 
> serves as the necessary baseline for comparative assessment, without which 
> reference and significance cannot be defined because these are intrinsically 
> relativistic informational properties (there is a loose analogy here to the 
> 3rd law of thermodynamics and the relativistic nature of thermodynamic 
> entropy).
> * PS: Autogenesis is also not a Maximim Entropy Production process because it 
> halts dissipation before its essential self-preserving constraints are 
> degraded and therefore does not exhaust the gradient(s) on which its 
> persistence depends.
> — Terry
> On Thu, Jan 8, 2015 at 1:48 PM, Pedro C. Marijuan <pcmarijuan.i...@aragon.es 
> <mailto:pcmarijuan.i...@aragon.es>> wrote:
>   Dear Terry and colleagues,
>   Thanks a lot for the opening text! It is a well crafted Essay full
>   of very detailed contents. My impression is that the "microphysics"
>   of information has been solved elegantly --at least at the level of
>   today's relevant knowledge-- with your work and the works of related
>   authors, one of them Karl Friston, who could be linked as a
>   complementary approach to yours (in particular his recent "Life as
>   we know it", Royal Society Interface Journal, 10: 20130475). His
>   Bayesian approach to life's organization, coupled with (variational)
>   "free energy" minimization principle, conduces to the emergence of
>   homeostasis and a simple form of autopoiesis, as well as the
>   organization of perception/action later on. Thus, quite close to
>   your approach on autogenic systems. About the different sections of
>   the Essay, the very detailed points you deal with in section 4
>   ("steps to a formalization of reference")  are, in my opinion, the    
> conceptual core and deserve a careful inspection, far more than
>   these rushed comments. In any case, the relationship
>   Boltzmann-Shannon entropies has been cleared quite elegantly.
>   However, for my taste the following sections have not sufficiently
>   opened the panorama. And with this I start some critical
>   appreciations. Perhaps the microphysics of information is not the
>   critical stumbling block to me removed for the advancement of the
>   informational perspective. We could remain McLuhan's stance on
>   Shannon's information theory and von Neumann's game theory... yes,
>   undoubtedly important advancements, but not the essential stuff of
>   information. But in this list there are people far more versed in
>   McLuhan's contents and whether the caveats he raised would continue
>   to apply (obviously in a different way). I am also critical with the
>   autogenesis model systems--wouldn't it be far clearer approaching a
>   (relatively) simple prokaryotic cell and discuss upon its
>   intertwining of the communication and self-production arrangements?
>   The way a bacterium "sees" the world, and reorganizes its living,
>   could be a very useful analysis. I think it leads to a slightly
>   different outcome regarding reference/significance, and
>   meaning/value/fitness.
>   If we look at the whole view of the "information world" (human
>   societies, behaving individuals, brain organization, cellular
>   processes, biomolecules) and how a myriad of information flows are
>   crisscrossing, ascending, descending, focusing, mixing and
>   controlling energy flows, etc. we may have an inkling that this
>   evanescent world paradoxically becomes the master of the physical
>   world (the "fluff" versus the "stuff", Lanham 2006), and that is
>   organized far beyond the rules of the micro-macro-physical world.
>   But how? What are the essentials of this magnificent "castle in the
>   air" (reminding Escher's engrave: http://fis.sciforum.net/ )?
>   In next exchanges I will try to ad some more specifics on the above
>   "fluffy" comments, derided from a fast reading of the Essay. Thanks
>   again, Terry, for providing us this discussion opportunity in the
>   New Year.
>   best  ---Pedro
> -- 
> Professor Terrence W. Deacon
> University of California, Berkeley
> -- 
> -------------------------------------------------
> Pedro C. Marijuán
> Grupo de Bioinformación / Bioinformation Group
> Instituto Aragonés de Ciencias de la Salud
> Centro de Investigación Biomédica de Aragón (CIBA)
> Avda. San Juan Bosco, 13, planta X
> 50009 Zaragoza, Spain
> Tfno. +34 976 71 3526 (& 6818)
> pcmarijuan.i...@aragon.es
> http://sites.google.com/site/pedrocmarijuan/
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