Dear Bob (and colleagues), 


It seems to me that you drive the problem home by signaling that the use of
the word “information” is very loose in many of our debates. Actually, you
argue – if I correctly understand – that this is rich: words only obtain
meaning within a sentence, and one can import “information” in differently
phrased sentences. :)


The concept that is missing in this context is “codification”. The word
“information” cannot only be used loosely, but also as a reference to a
concept with meaning from theoretical perspectives. I understood that in
Chinese, one has two words for information: “sjin sji” and “tsjin bao”; the
former being Shannon-type information, and the latter also meaning


It seems to that Terry’s information concept in these discussions is rather
Shannon-type. He adds the point that information is relative to maximum
information (which can also be precisely defined using Shannon). The
difference between maximum information and maximum information is
redundancy. Weaver (1949) already noted that in addition to engineering
noise, one may have semantic noise or – equivalently – semantic redundancy
if, for example, the sources of noise are correlated; for example, in
language. This refinement can go further in scholarly discourse where the
use of language is restricted.


Thus, I don’t agree that the journey is the purpose in itself; the objective
is to move information theory forward as a scientific enterprise. “Wo
Begriffe fehlen, fuegt zur rechten Zeit ein Wort sich ein.” :)


Best wishes, 





Loet Leydesdorff 

Emeritus University of Amsterdam
Amsterdam School of Communications Research (ASCoR)

 <> ;
Honorary Professor,  <> SPRU, University of

Guest Professor  <> Zhejiang Univ., Hangzhou;
Visiting Professor,  <> ISTIC,

Visiting Professor,  <> Birkbeck, University of London;



From: Fis [] On Behalf Of Bob Logan
Sent: Friday, January 30, 2015 3:07 PM
To: Pedro C. Marijuan
Cc: 'fis'
Subject: Re: [Fis] Concluding the Lecture?


Thanks Pedro for your remarks. We have not reached our destination as you
point out but the important thing is to enjoy the journey which I certainly
have. It is inevitable that with such a slippery concept as information that
there will be different destinations depending on the travellers but what I
like about FIS in general and the dialogue that Terry prompted in particular
is the interesting ideas and good company I encountered along the way. As
for your remark about searching where there is light I suggest that we pack
a flashlight for the next journey to be led by our tour guide Zhao Chuan.
One common theme for understanding the importance of both information and
intelligence for me is interpretation and context (figure/ground or
pragmatics). Thanks to all especially Terry for a very pleasant journey. -



Robert K. Logan

Prof. Emeritus - Physics - U. of Toronto 

Chief Scientist - sLab at OCAD







On 2015-01-30, at 8:25 AM, Pedro C. Marijuan wrote:

Dear Terry and colleagues,

At your convenience, during the first week of February or so we may put an
end to the ongoing New Year Lecture --discussants willing to enter their
late comments should hurry up. Your own final or concluding comment will be

Personally, my late comment will deal with the last exchange between Bob and
Terry, It is about the point which follows:  "...there was no thesis other
than the word information is a descriptor for so many different situations
and that it is a part of a semantic web - no roadmap only a jaunt through
the countryside of associations - a leisurely preamble." 
In my own parlance, we have been focusing this fis session on the
microphysical foundations of information (thermodynamic in this case) which
together with the quantum would look as the definite foundations of the
whole field, or even of the whole "great domain of information." But could
it be so? Is there such thing as a "unitary" foundation? My impression is
that we are instinctively working "where the light is", reminding the trite
story of the physicists who has lost the car keys and is looking closest to
the street lamp.  The point I suggest is that the different informational
realms are emergent in the strongest sense: almost no trace of the
underlying information realms would surface. Each realm has to invent
throughout its own engines of invention the different informational &
organizational  principles that sustain its existence. It is no obligate
that there will be a successful outcome.... In the extent to which this
plurality of foundations is true, solving the microphysical part would be of
little help to adumbrating the neuronal/psychological or the social
information arena.

The roadmap Bob suggests is an obligatory exploration to advance; we may
disagree in the ways and means, but not in the overall goal. It is a mind
boggling exercise as we have to confront quite different languages and
styles of thinking. For instance, the next session we will have at FIS (in a
few weeks) is an attempt of an excursion on "Intelligence Science".
Presented by Zhao Chuan, the aim is of confronting the phenomenon of
intelligence from a global perspective amalgamating science (artificial
intelligence), emotions, and art (poetic and pictorial). Not easy, but we
will try

Anyhow,  Terry, we much appreciate your insights and the responses you  have
produced along the Lecture. It was a nice intellectual exercise.

Best wishes to all---Pedro

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) <>

Fis mailing list <>


Fis mailing list

Reply via email to