Dear list,

For clarity, below is the message that I sent to Terry offline, to which he
responded. Here are my final remarks.

The work presented by Terry uses a mixture of formal and informal terms
but, from my point of view, the work lacks rigor. This is highlighted in
the demand that constraints have no physical basis and is evident in the
discussion concerning "dynamical constraint." The latter serves to
illustrate another complaint concerning word density and comfort.

A comfort in word juxtapositions is all very well if used, as it was by
Charles Peirce, for precise technical purposes, if an equation is not at
hand or is currently beyond statement. But something that Peirce required,
inherited from his loving father, was a demand for necessity. Recall that
for Benjamin and Charles mathematics is the science that draws "necessary
conclusions" from premises of any kind. If Charles were to put together
"dynamic" and "constraint," for example, you can be sure that he specified
exactly what it is that is "dynamic" and specified exactly what a
"constraint" is.

In fairness, Terry has attempted to do this but, in my view, has failed. It
should be clear that constraints are not of themselves dynamic and they may
always be applied where degrees of freedom exist, though not exclusively.
It appears that the "dynamic" part of "dynamical constraint" refers not to
the constraint but to its object. Now, it may seem dumb to harp on this,
but I fail to see how the application of a constraint to anything at all,
dynamic or static, can be anything other than a posterior determinant.

A constraint, like natural selection, necessarily has a physical basis,
contrary to what was said, that is the physical basis of the constraint is
the physical system itself. It is one that allows the constraining
selection, the behavior, involved to take place. A posterior determinant
enforces a necessary partial order. And this is something for which we may
reasonably expect an equation.

Now, anyone familiar with Shannon will know that these ideas cannot fit
into Shannon's theory because Shannon deals with probability and
transmissions. Indeed, we would need to move from the abstraction of
communication to the necessity of apprehension where a more certain
language may be brought to task. To abstract constraints away from the
physical in any case, necessarily leads to dualism, and a blunt denial of
this does not help anyone. Although a well reasoned denial is always worth
listening to

In trying to understand the language use, I suggested that, perhaps, simple
notions such as YUK and YUM were thought of as constraints. In the case of
bacteria, YUK and YUM, for me, are not merely "normative." They are
manifest behaviors of the physical organism structure. I can say, for
example, that this e-coli or that not only experiences YUM as it purses the
density of a sugar gradient but that the surface shapes that have formed
under its influence (and are refined by the insertion of latent receptors
and motor functions), and that may be described as bound holomorphic
functors (hyper-functors), are manifestations of the physical YUM.

Finally, I find the claims that any of us are taking information theory
beyond Shannon spurious.  Here I almost certainly diverge from many of my
colleagues who hold a nebulas information theory in such high regard and
like to mix it up with all the other things that use the term "information"
from the variety of European languages. It is fair for me to note, however,
that Shannon was a fine applied mathematician and if you wish to move
beyond Shannon, you must, at least, command that skill.

It seems to me however that a different skill is required to enable us to
extract ourselves from the senseless tangle into which we now all head.
This is the skill of Schlipp, Reichenbach or Carnap, rigorous epistemology,
without it there can be no hope for information theory of any kind of
unified science.


My earlier message:
I am puzzled concerning your use of the phrase "dynamical constraint" and
your reference here to a "dynamical organization for interpretation."  What
is it exactly that is dynamic?

Perhaps you mean to say that  the process of interpretation is dynamic and
that this process applies one or more static constraints. Such a constraint
would be, for example, YUK or YUM. This might be a view consistent with
that of Charles Peirce although it seems too analytic for me.

This is surely not what you speak of since such a constraint is necessarily
the organization of something existent (a priori). How then is this not a
posterior determination?

Perhaps you mean only to suggest that YUK or YUM are refinable "hardwired"
interpretive constraints. In which case interpretation is no immediate
process and constraint is not an activity. Perhaps "dynamic" then refers to
this refinement and the in situ selection of one or the other? This would
be more in line with my thinking.

However, I hope you see the confusion concerning your use of terms.

Just in case you are unfamiliar with YUK and YUM, these are Stuart
Kauffman's terms to refer to the constraints that direct bacteria to follow
a sugar gradient.

On Mon, Feb 2, 2015 at 11:20 AM, Terrence W. DEACON <>

> Dear All,
> RE: Steven Ericsson-Zenith (I am not sure that your comment was posted to
> FIS)
> The phrase "dynamical constraint" should not be that unfamiliar or
> difficult to parse.
> Constraint on the degrees of freedom of a dynamical system is the most
> obvious (and the meaning that I have in mind), though I suppose that
> there could also be other meanings that are possible (such as might
> characterize the increase in convectional correlation in the formation
> of Bénard convection cells). I don't see that the notion of constraint
> need be restricted to some extrinsically imposed static boundary
> condition.
> As far as I can tell, this concept is quite unrelated to my friend Stu
> Kauffman's use of "Yuk or Yum" (a normative—not
> physico-chemical—distinction), which of course can only apply to
> something like a living system that is organized to perpetuate its
> organization by utilizing external resources and avoiding dangerous
> extrinsic conditions. Indeed, I believe that my simple model of an
> autogentic system provides an unambiguous description of the minimal
> dynamical system organization necessary to determine a
> self/environment relation that embodies an intrinsic good-for/bad-for
> valuation.
> In any case, I don't see any reason to think that my use of the
> concept of dynamical constraint, or constraint in general, to explore
> the nature of information and agency should imply that this is a case
> of "posterior determination" rather than an acquired disposition that
> organizes an autonomous agent's adaptive responses to extrinsic
> conditions. I hope that this clears up any confusion that my use of
> this term evoked.
> RE: Joseph Brenner
> I think that we are largely in agreement.  And I think that you
> accurately locate our differences in how we understand the
> contribution of quantum-atomic-molecular properties to these dynamical
> properties, and to the relationship we call informational. I am
> generally of the opinion that non-classical quantum effects percolate
> up to the molecular scale and higher only if very special conditions
> prevail (such as in photosynthesis), and that otherwise the
> statistical nature of these influences results in canceling effects.
> To me it is a bit analogous to the classical vs relativistic
> distinction in which at mesoscopic spatio-temporal scales (and well
> below c) relativistic effects can be neglected without any significant
> error effects. But I agree that this means that (in principle) both
> extreme scale effects "can sometimes" be relevant, and are ultimately
> part of the complete picture. I just don't see how these effects
> change the dynamical system requirements that determine how a relation
> of reference or significance is intrinsically established for that
> system (i.e. IN and BY that system independent of this being assessed
> by an external "observer" - whether explicitly or implicitly).
> As to the various interpretations of the quantum measurement problem,
> I also agree that my view is not the mainstream view, but it is not
> purely idiosyncratic either. There is more work needed here. For me,
> to make the claim that quantum indeterminacy is the "... foundation of
> the dualisms at higher levels of reality" abandons the most
> interesting game in town by just positing its irresolvability. To me
> this just ends inquiry into this interesting mystery by invoking
> another mystery that is claimed to be irresolvable. I take the view of
> Richard Feynman who said about quantum physics "... I don't understand
> it. Nobody does" — by which he means that nobody has a clear idea of
> why it must be the way it is. I am skeptical of those who claim they
> know, or know that it has no deeper resolution. In this respect, I am
> comfortable in my minority opinion.
> But disagreement at this most basic theoretical level doesn't
> undermine our ability to come to a convergent understanding of many of
> the higher-order phenomena we have discussed, including the
> organization of dynamical systems able to intrinsically determine the
> reference and significance of information. In this and other arenas I
> look forward to interesting critical debates to shed more light on
> these concepts.
> Thanks, Terry
> On 2/2/15, <> wrote:
> > Dear All,
> >
> > I would like to thank Terry for his detailed analysis of my comments on
> his
> > work.  I should repeat that I consider his theory as a necessary part of
> any
> > emerging theory of information and going beyond Shannon. I also commend
> him
> > for indicating where it is 'incomplete' (sic), subject to differences of
> > opinion as to what may be relevant from other approaches which have not
> been
> > explicitly discussed in his paper.
> >
> > One interesting place to start might be the following statement by Terry:
> > "Only the linkage between them (JEB: the molecular phenomena of the
> model)
> > that constitutes autogenesis lacks a known empirical exemplar. It is an
> > empirical question whether this can occur, and what conditions and types
> of
> > molecules this would require. I see no physico-chemical reason to doubt
> this
> > possibility."
> >
> > According to my view of real molecules as instantiating both actual and
> > potential properties, the linkage between them does also. If this
> picture is
> > correct, we have a correct way of looking at the phenomena themselves. We
> > can then accept the value of the model, which does not violate the
> principle
> > but ignores it, but not forget this additional principle when returning
> to
> > reality.
> >
> > My view is, admittedly, dependent on acceptance of the reality of quantum
> > entities and their most complex (non-Boolean) properties as the
> foundation
> > of the dualisms at higher levels of reality. However, I believe I am not
> > alone here. I therefore look forward to further discussions of Terry's
> > approach to information in which the additional physics and its dynamic
> > logic might be explicitly taken into account.
> >
> > Many thanks again,
> >
> > Joseph
> >
> >
> >>----Message d'origine----
> >>De :
> >>Date : 31/01/2015 - 00:10 (PST)
> >>À :
> >>Cc :
> >>Objet : Re: [Fis] Fwd: Re: Concluding the Lecture?
> >>
> >>Hi Joseph,
> >>
> >>Indeed there is much more to discuss than I could include in this
> >>already too long discussion paper. The related "absence" issues are of
> >>course critical to my thinking. I value your continued feedback on
> >>these issues as well.
> >>
> >>I think you do a quite adequate job of restating the autogenesis
> >>hypothesis in your first paragraph. I also agree with your comment
> >>about the model of autogenesis being incomplete because it does not
> >>specify the necessary stereochemical properties of the interacting
> >>molecules, or for that matter the energy flux that is required to
> >>drive reciprocal catalysis, the shapes and charges of molecules that
> >>tend to self assemble into containers (like viral capsids), the
> >>rate-coupling required for reciprocal catalysis and self-assembly to
> >>be reciprocally supportive, and the entropy production of the whole
> >>process, etc., etc. Yes, much simulation and lab work lies ahead.
> >>
> >>I actually don't see a problem there, however, nor do I think this
> >>results in circularity. Nothing at the molecular level smuggles in
> >>properties that define information in the model. All that matters for
> >>my purpose is that I am not postulating any unrealistic atomic and
> >>molecular properties.
> >>
> >>When Ludwig Boltzmann used an idealized thought experiment for
> >>formulate his atomistic account of the 2nd law of thermodynamics with
> >>particles that didn't even interact, it was sufficient to model the
> >>general logic of entropy increase. No real atoms, no real physics,
> >>just the logic of time and random change in position. The model
> >>captured what was minimally necessary and no more. Yes, Gibbs and
> >>others fine-tuned the account, adding the role of free-energy and many
> >>dimensions of interactions, but Boltzmann's thought experiment laid
> >>the foundation. So I don't consider the abstraction involved in the
> >>autogenesis model to be an intrinsic fatal flaw. The question is
> >>whether or not it is too simple, or whether it violates some basic
> >>physico-chemical principles. I can't see how you can doubt that it is
> >>a realistic model, since both component processes are well-studied
> >>molecular phenomena with innumerable exemplars available. Only the
> >>linkage between them that constitutes autogenesis lacks a known
> >>empirical exemplar. It is an empirical question whether this can
> >>occur, and what conditions and types of molecules this would require.
> >>I see no physico-chemical reason to doubt this possibility.
> >>
> >>Your question about "qualitative signification" and my concept of
> >>"work saving" seemed to lead inexplicably into a comment about "human
> >>and social history." Lost me there. But you also seemed to suggest
> >>that the autogenic model provided no fixed ground for making a
> >>qualitative assessment (significance). I believe that it does.
> >>
> >>In the autogenic model this depends on there being a fixed amount of
> >>chemical work required to reconstitute an autogenic complex from a
> >>specific state of disaggregation. This differential can be assigned a
> >>finite repeatable value (again not specifying specific molecules).
> >>This functionally defined threshold provides the reference value that
> >>I argue is required for assessing the "significance" of information.
> >>It is both a qualitative state difference (non-algorithmic in your
> >>terms) and yet the product of a quantitative work differential.
> >>
> >>This "assessment" is best exemplified by the second autogenic model
> >>system; i.e. with the shell that loses integrity with increasing
> >>numbers of bound catalytic substrates. The threshold value of its
> >>transition from intact-inert to disaggregated-and-dynamically
> >>reconstituting provides an assay of the environmental potential for
> >>re-achieving stability and preserving this same potential to be
> >>available for another work cycle. Different threshold values will
> >>result in different amounts of work required for reconstitution and
> >>different probabilities of persistence with respect to disruption. The
> >>threshold that determines this change of state is thereby representing
> >>a property of the environment that is of qualitative value with
> >>respect to the perpetuation of this system's assessment capacity into
> >>the future, irrespective of any outside interpretation. And since
> >>differences in thresholds will provide better or worse fits between
> >>work required and resources provided, there can be predictive value
> >>differences of the information provided by this change of state.
> >>Differences in its conveyance of information "predictive"  of the
> >>nearby (though not just directly contiguous) environment's supportive
> >>or non-supportive value.
> >>
> >>OK. It's clearly too simple for modeling human knowledge, subjective
> >>awareness, the "meaning" of this sentence, etc., but I think it's a
> >>useful first step beyond Shannon.
> >>
> >>— Terry
> >>
> >>On 1/30/15, <> wrote:
> >>> Terry,
> >>>
> >>> In your discussion paper, you state that an interpretive process can
> only
> >>> be
> >>> adequately defined with respect to a process that is organized to
> >>> maintain
> >>> itself by repairing and reconstituting its essential form and
> >>> dispositions -
> >>> a teleodynamic process. I agree with this definition. Your model,
> >>> further,
> >>> is that of a theoretical two-component molecular system called an
> autogen
> >>> that is capable of instantiating such, autogenic processes. The
> >>> properties
> >>> of the model molecules are stated to be those of real molecules –
> >>> reciprocal
> >>> autocatalysis and self-assembly and these processes are further stated
> to
> >>> be
> >>> self-organizing. The model, it is claimed, can analyze the
> relationships
> >>> between the information medium properties, the work involved and the
> >>> properties of the context, the environment or as you put it the
> >>> system-extrinsic physical conditions.
> >>>
> >>> What I see as having been elided here is that in the real systems, but
> >>> not
> >>> in the model as described, one has the properties of the molecules that
> >>> enable them to ‘self’-assemble in the first place. Unless these are
> taken
> >>> into account, I claim that the models are incomplete. They require
> >>> inclusion
> >>> of the residual constraints (potentialities) at lower levels of
> molecular
> >>> structure to avoid the danger of circularity. Further, there seems to
> be
> >>> no
> >>> place in this description of relationships for the non-algorithmic
> >>> processes, for example qualitative signification (vs. the ‘amount’ of
> >>> work
> >>> saved), that are necessarily involved as soon as one leaves the level
> of
> >>> abstraction of the model. These are well described on p. 10 as “the
> >>> complex
> >>> system of relationships” involving both human and social history. Wu
> Kun
> >>> adds their potential states and calls the whole entity the informosome.
> >>> This
> >>> was the basis for the comment in my first note that I agreed with the
> >>> mechanism but not the model(s).
> >>>
> >>> My comment about presence being a source of information as well as
> >>> absence
> >>> refers to your more complete treatment of information as an absential
> >>> phenomenon in Incomplete Nature rather than to that in your discussion
> >>> paper. In the latter, the concepts on p. 3 (inexistent properties) and
> on
> >>> p.
> >>> 10 (information as being about an absent referent) should therefore be
> >>> discussed in another thread.        I therefore look forward very much
> to a
> >>> further
> >>> round of discussion of real systems using the tools you have provided.
> >>>
> >>> In this, however, I think there will be agreement between our
> approaches
> >>> to
> >>> the necessary dualism of information, despite the differences in
> >>> language.
> >>> My line is to search for the overlap/dynamic interaction between the
> two
> >>> sides of the relationship and the chains of intermediating processes
> (Wu
> >>> again) involved.
> >>>
> >>> Best wishes,
> >>>
> >>> Joseph
> >>>
> >>>
> >>>>----Message d'origine----
> >>>>De :
> >>>>Date : 30/01/2015 - 12:43 (PST)
> >>>>À :
> >>>>Cc :
> >>>>Objet : Re: [Fis] Fwd: Re: Concluding the Lecture?
> >>>>
> >>>>Thanks to Joseph for this spirited rejoinder, and to Krassimir for
> >>>>reminding us that convergence is perhaps more likely to succeed than
> >>>>any single-minded approach.
> >>>>
> >>>>With Krassimir, I am in agreement. I have probably overstated the
> >>>>priority of my own approach, even if I do believe it to be a best
> >>>>middle ground from which to begin formalization. This is a big
> >>>>challenge and I should celebrate the diversity of approaches more than
> >>>>I have. This is my path, and I have taken this opportunity to make my
> >>>>reasons for pursuing it clear. Like most of us, it is sent as a sort
> >>>>of mating call, in case others might find interesting insights there
> >>>>too.
> >>>>
> >>>>In response to Joseph, I would challenge you to specifically identify
> >>>>my homuncular assumptions, demonstrate where the autogenic model makes
> >>>>them, and deacribe in what ways you think that autogenesis is somehow
> >>>>not physically realizable. I admit to being blind to any of these, but
> >>>>I don't want to just convince you, I want to get it right. However, I
> >>>>am not willing to live with unresolved dualisms. And I don't quite get
> >>>>your comment about "dualisms that do exist in nature" and how you
> >>>>connect this with my presence/absence perspective. Perhaps this has to
> >>>>do with the fact that I am not satisfied that certain dualisms arising
> >>>>from quantum theories are fundamental, rather than the result of
> >>>>incomplete theory, and your own view which seems to embrace them. In
> >>>>which case we may need to agree to disagree.
> >>>>
> >>>>I am slightly perplexed and don't quite follow your implications
> >>>>regarding the specific proposal made in this piece. The dualisms I am
> >>>>hoping to resolve in this essay orbit around the difference between
> >>>>physicalistic and semiotic uses of the information concept, and about
> >>>>how this implicitly reifies Descartes' res cogitans / res extensa
> >>>>dualism, with reference and significance on the former side of this
> >>>>divide and Shannon information (and related uses in physics) on the
> >>>>latter. You can read my view as arguing that this dualism cannot
> >>>>merely be left as an unanalyzed assumption if we are seeking a
> >>>>complete theory of information.
> >>>>
> >>>>I anticipate that there is much unmentioned detail that remains to be
> >>>>unpacked and debated here. Pursuing some of these details could be
> >>>>very informative, even if it doesn't change entrenched positions.
> >>>>
> >>>>I think that it is interesting that so many responses have betrayed a
> >>>>sort of thinly veiled irritation and anger. To me it suggest that we
> >>>>are close to a nerve—i.e. some critical issues that are of central
> >>>>importance.
> >>>>
> >>>>Thanks, Terry
> >>>>
> >>>>
> >>>>
> >>>>On 1/30/15, <> wrote:
> >>>>> Dear Pedro, Dear FISers,
> >>>>>
> >>>>>   Terrence Deacon has made a passionate plea for the proper
> >>>>> consideration
> >>>>> of
> >>>>> his approach to information science that his contribution merits. But
> >>>>> this
> >>>>> consideration is only possible if he is willing to accept that some
> of
> >>>>> his
> >>>>> positions may be contaminated with assumptions in a way that he
> >>>>> correctly
> >>>>> criticizes in others. As a specific example, we can all easily
> >>>>> understand
> >>>>> and agree that the incorporation of ‘homunculi’, that is, unproven
> >>>>> mechanisms, as explanatory, should be avoided. In my view, however,
> >>>>> Terry
> >>>>> has a small army of homunculi at work (sic!) who insure that his
> >>>>> processes
> >>>>> of self-organization, self-reconstitution and ‘spontaneous’
> >>>>> self-assembly
> >>>>> can take place! The finality of using his simulated autogenic systems
> >>>>> is
> >>>>> “a
> >>>>> rigorous physical foundation upon which” future complex theories of
> >>>>> information may be based. If, as I contend, Terry’s approach has
> failed
> >>>>> to
> >>>>> take into account the fundamentally dualistic physical properties of
> >>>>> real
> >>>>> systems, it is hard to see how it could do so.
> >>>>>
> >>>>> In his reply to Loet, regarding cognitive processes, Terry writes:
> “As
> >>>>> I
> >>>>> have said a number of times, my goal is not to deal with all aspects
> of
> >>>>> the
> >>>>> information concept, and certainly not at the level of human
> thought. I
> >>>>> merely propose to dissolve the implicit dualism in our current
> concepts
> >>>>> at
> >>>>> the most basic level, so that for example it will be possible to
> >>>>> develop
> >>>>> a
> >>>>> scientifically grounded theory of molecular biosemiotics.” No-one can
> >>>>> argue
> >>>>> with his first sentence, but the second has the implication that
> >>>>> dualism
> >>>>> at
> >>>>> the most basic level in concepts should be absent when it is present
> in
> >>>>> reality. Again, we can all reject the straw-man of mind-body dualism.
> >>>>> But
> >>>>> the dualisms that do exist in nature must be reflected in concepts or
> >>>>> the
> >>>>> latter are outside nature and outside science. The pair
> >>>>> presence-absence
> >>>>> is
> >>>>> one of these that I have offered, so far without comment, as one of
> >>>>> these.
> >>>>>
> >>>>> As a substitute for what is referred to as ‘the implicit dualism in
> our
> >>>>> current concepts’, Terry seems to offer a repeated reliance on the
> >>>>> Peircean
> >>>>> categories as having explanatory power. I have discussed, accessibly,
> >>>>> why
> >>>>> these categories amount to epistemic classifications, a position that
> >>>>> is
> >>>>> in
> >>>>> fact confirmed by a member of Terry’s group. Ontological approaches,
> >>>>> which
> >>>>> if looked at closely differ from the ones Terry correctly criticizes,
> >>>>> are
> >>>>> given a back of the hand dismissal that suggests that the writers may
> >>>>> not
> >>>>> be
> >>>>> familiar enough with them to make the distinction.
> >>>>>
> >>>>> A point of agreement between Terry and me is that a concept of
> quantum
> >>>>> information should not be mixed with one of thermodynamic
> information.
> >>>>> This
> >>>>> does not mean, however, that the some of the dual aspects of quantum
> >>>>> entities are not relevant for thermodynamic processes, including the
> >>>>> properties, production and transfer of information. Terry is
> absolutely
> >>>>> correct to question the so-called ‘it-from-bit’ theory of information
> >>>>> in
> >>>>> its
> >>>>> simplest form. Again, however, alternatives are available at the
> heart
> >>>>> of
> >>>>> which is exactly the ‘overlap’ between physics and information that
> >>>>> Pedro
> >>>>> calls for, e.g., those of Luhn and myself.
> >>>>>
> >>>>> I think Krassimir has a good point in concluding that we have a
> problem
> >>>>> of
> >>>>> civilization and that all our efforts, scientific and philosophical,
> >>>>> should
> >>>>> be made with the common good at the center of our preoccupations.
> This
> >>>>> is
> >>>>> the theme of the Vienna Summit 2015. Information offers the ground on
> >>>>> which
> >>>>> standard physical and biological as well as social and psychological
> >>>>> reality
> >>>>> can meet. It is from the most complex, interactive, recursive aspects
> >>>>> of
> >>>>> these realities as well as from the simplest that we must learn.
> Thank
> >>>>> you.
> >>>>>
> >>>>> Best wishes,
> >>>>>
> >>>>> Joseph
> >>>>>
> >>>>>
> >>>>>>----Message d'origine----
> >>>>>>De :
> >>>>>>Date : 30/01/2015 - 09:31 (PST)
> >>>>>>À :
> >>>>>>Cc :
> >>>>>>Objet : Re: [Fis] Concluding the Lecture?
> >>>>>>
> >>>>>>Thanks to Pedro and Bob for these last few comments. Indeed, like
> >>>>>>Darwin in 1859 we are still just beginning to formulate "one long
> >>>>>>argument" that will need to be progressively refined in the decades
> to
> >>>>>>come. The question is where best to begin the task of synthesizing. I
> >>>>>>too find the metaphor of searching for lost keys quite apropos, but I
> >>>>>>would beg your indulgence while I add an elaboration to this metaphor
> >>>>>>that sheds light on the perspective I have offered.
> >>>>>>
> >>>>>>Yes, we must at first search close to the light, even though there we
> >>>>>>will only find vague hints. But, importantly, as we cover more and
> >>>>>>more territory we will discover that the light progressively
> >>>>>>brightens. So long as we keep searching and don't walk out into the
> >>>>>>dark too quickly, skipping over important territory in between, the
> >>>>>>entire territory will become more and more thoroughly illuminated,
> >>>>>>searchable, and familiar to us.
> >>>>>>
> >>>>>>I believe that the light is brightest in the domain where we can see
> a
> >>>>>>clear relation between the two quite different concepts of entropy
> and
> >>>>>>the relationship of both to the concept of work. Admittedly, starting
> >>>>>>so minimally as I have in this essay seems remote from the interests
> >>>>>>of psychologists, anthropologists, economists and their kin, who
> >>>>>>demand an account of human-scale information processes, while at the
> >>>>>>same time appearing to introduce the messiness of semiotic concerns
> >>>>>>into the seemingly pristine world of information as a simple physical
> >>>>>>parameter. But of course the problem is to find the best illuminated
> >>>>>>middle ground between these two extremes, both still bathed in the
> >>>>>>darkness of simplifying assumptions that make them seem mutually
> >>>>>>exclusive— separated by darkness.
> >>>>>>
> >>>>>>This is what I am trying to accomplish. Though deceptively simple, I
> >>>>>>believe that the autogenic model system is just sufficiently complex
> >>>>>>to provide complete illumination of each of the critical defining
> >>>>>>features of the information concept—sign medium properties
> (entropies,
> >>>>>>uncertainty, constraint), reference (aboutness), significance
> >>>>>>(function, value, normativity), and interpretation (adaptation,
> >>>>>>intelligence)—while not artificially simplifying the issue by
> ignoring
> >>>>>>one or the other of these facets.
> >>>>>>
> >>>>>>Because of its simplicity none of these basic concepts are left in
> the
> >>>>>>dark as black boxes or excluded as taboo concepts. But of course,
> >>>>>>working at such a basic level means that the nature of more complex
> >>>>>>phenomena as thinking, subjectivity, language, and culture (to
> mention
> >>>>>>only a few) are not yet well illuminated by this light. This isn't to
> >>>>>>suggest that other pursuits in these other domains should be
> >>>>>>abandoned—for they at least clear away some of the underbrush
> creating
> >>>>>>paths that will help to ease the linkage between the different
> >>>>>>subterritories when finally the light brightens (to continue the
> >>>>>>metaphor). I just believe that this middle level is where the light
> >>>>>>best illuminates all the critical foundational issues.
> >>>>>>
> >>>>>>I don't expect agreement, but so far I haven't felt that the specific
> >>>>>>components of this proposal have been addressed in this thread. And
> in
> >>>>>>these closing days of discussion (as well as in future privately
> >>>>>>shared emails after this window closes) I hope to receive some
> >>>>>>suggestions and constructive criticisms pointing to where I might go
> >>>>>>next with this approach.
> >>>>>>
> >>>>>>Thanks for all your inputs.  Terry
> >>>>>>
> >>>>>>On 1/30/15, Bob Logan <> wrote:
> >>>>>>> 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.
> >>>>>>> -
> >>>>>>> Bob
> >>>>>>> ______________________
> >>>>>>>
> >>>>>>> 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 appreciated.
> >>>>>>>>
> >>>>>>>> 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
> >>>>>>>>
> >>>>>>>>
> >>>>>>>
> >>>>>>>
> >>>>>>
> >>>>>>
> >>>>>>--
> >>>>>>Professor Terrence W. Deacon
> >>>>>>University of California, Berkeley
> >>>>>>
> >>>>>>_______________________________________________
> >>>>>>Fis mailing list
> >>>>>>
> >>>>>>
> >>>>>>
> >>>>>
> >>>>> _______________________________________________
> >>>>> Fis mailing list
> >>>>>
> >>>>>
> >>>>>
> >>>>
> >>>>
> >>>>--
> >>>>Professor Terrence W. Deacon
> >>>>University of California, Berkeley
> >>>>
> >>>
> >>> _______________________________________________
> >>> Fis mailing list
> >>>
> >>>
> >>>
> >>
> >>
> >>--
> >>Professor Terrence W. Deacon
> >>University of California, Berkeley
> >>
> >
> > _______________________________________________
> > Fis mailing list
> >
> >
> >
> --
> Professor Terrence W. Deacon
> University of California, Berkeley
> _______________________________________________
> Fis mailing list
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