Message from Bob Ulanowicz
De: Robert E. Ulanowicz []
Enviado el: viernes, 09 de enero de 2015 19:30
Asunto: Re: [Fis] Response to Pedro's first comments:

Terry Deacon wrote:

> 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).

I think Terry does us a service by invoking the Third Law. We often forget
that information and entropy (complementarities) are both necessarily
relative to a reference distribution. What Terry's Autogen does is
establish an *extrinsic* reference point, which is helpful in maintaining

I'll just remark that internal reference is possible as well. For example,
when Rutledge et al. (J. Theor. Biol. 57:355-371) applied IT to weighted
digraphs, they accomplished a stroke of genius by comparing the
distribution of outputs from each node to the corresponding distribution
of inputs into the *same* set of nodes. Thereby the self-referential
"mutual information" that results quantifies the organization intrinsic to
the network. None of the formalities of communication theory need be

Unlike with Autogen, there is no halting to this process. When applied to
an autocatalytic set of processes, internal self-selection of nodes and
properties ensues that tends to increase the mutual information of the
system. Bertrand Russell saw in this tendency towards "self-organization"
(and the concomitant centripetality it induces) the primary drive for

Even though self-reference is not extrinsic, it nonetheless can function
as an asymmetric form of homeostasis. If any disturbance occurs which
decreases mutual information (organization), the natural tendency is to
push the system back in the direction from which it was disturbed. If it
returns near to its undisturbed state, one can call this "healing". If it
goes towards to different but survivable (or even more propitious) state,
then evolution has occurred.

Best to all,

Robert E. Ulanowicz                |  Tel: +1-352-378-7355
Arthur R. Marshall Laboratory      |  FAX: +1-352-392-3704
Department of Biology              |  Emeritus, Chesapeake Biological Lab
Bartram Hall 110                   |  University of Maryland
University of Florida              |  Email <>
Gainesville, FL 32611-8525 USA     |  Web <>

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