Dear Pedro, Terrence, and colleagues, 

 

“… to explain how this interpretive capacity could
possibly originate in a universe where direct contiguity of causal
influence is the rule."

 

The contiguity is relational. However, meaning is generated not relationally, 
but positionally. As the network system is shaped in terms of relations, it can 
be expected to develop an architecture. The structure is based on correlations, 
that is, patterns of relations

including zeros. For example, two synonyms may have similar meaning without 
co-occurring ever in a single text.

 

In other words, the vectors of relations span a vector space in which both 
nodes and links are positioned. A link may then mean something different for 
node A and node B; the link becomes directed because of its function in the 
network. The correlational analysis of the vector space adds to the graph 
analysis of the networks of relations.

 

Reflexivity adds to the mutual contingency in the relations by bringing the 
patterns of relations to bear. Human reflexivity enables us to change 
(self-organize) additionally the diaphragm of the reflection. Thus, degrees of 
freedom can be added recursively using the same principle that the network of 
relations develops a next-order architecture. 

 

Best,

Loet

 

  _____  

Loet Leydesdorff 

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

 <mailto:l...@leydesdorff.net> l...@leydesdorff.net ;  
<http://www.leydesdorff.net/> http://www.leydesdorff.net/ 
Honorary Professor,  <http://www.sussex.ac.uk/spru/> SPRU, University of 
Sussex; 

Guest Professor  <http://www.zju.edu.cn/english/> Zhejiang Univ., Hangzhou; 
Visiting Professor,  <http://www.istic.ac.cn/Eng/brief_en.html> ISTIC, Beijing;

Visiting Professor,  <http://www.bbk.ac.uk/> Birkbeck, University of London; 

 <http://scholar.google.com/citations?user=ych9gNYAAAAJ&hl=en> 
http://scholar.google.com/citations?user=ych9gNYAAAAJ&hl=en

 

From: Fis [mailto:fis-boun...@listas.unizar.es] On Behalf Of Pedro C. Marijuan
Sent: Friday, April 24, 2015 2:34 PM
To: Terrence W. DEACON; 'fis'
Subject: Re: [Fis] New Year Lecture: Aftermath

 

Dear Terry and colleagues, 

I hope you don't mind if I send some suggestions publicly. First, thank you for 
the aftermath, it provides appropriate "closure" to a very intense discussion 
session. Second, I think you have encapsulated very clearly an essential point 
(at least in my opinion): 

"Among these givens is the question of what is minimally necessary for
 a system or process to be interpretive, in the sense of being able to utilize 
present
intrinsic physical properties of things to refer to absent or
displaced properties or phenomena. This research question is ignorable
when it is possible to assume human or even animal interpreters as
part of the system one is analyzing. At some point, however, it
becomes relevant to not only be more explicit about what is being
assumed, but also to explain how this interpretive capacity could
possibly originate in a universe where direct contiguity of causal
influence is the rule."

My suggestion concerns the absence phenomenon (it also has appeared in some 
previous discussion in this list --notably from Bob's). You imply that there is 
an entity capable  of dynamically building upon  an external absences, OK quite 
clear,  but what about "internal absences"? I mean at the origins of 
communication there could be the sensing of the internal-- lets call it 
functional voids, needs, gaps, deficiencies, etc. Cellularly there are some 
good arguments about that, even in the 70's there was a "metabolic code" 
hypothesis crafted on the origins of cellular signaling. For instance, one of 
the most important environmental & internal detections concerns cAMP, which 
means "you/me are in an energy trouble"... some more evolutionary arguments can 
be thrown.  Above all, this idea puts the life cycle and its self-production 
needs in the center of communication, and in the very origins of the 
interpretive capabilities. Until now I have not seen much reflections around 
the life cycle as the true provider of both communications and meanings, maybe 
it conduces to new avenues of thought interesting to explore...

All the best!
--Pedro

Pedro C. Marijuan wrote: 

Dear FIS colleagues,
Herewith the comments received from Terry several weeks ago. As I said
yesterday, the idea is to properly conclude that session, not to restart
the discussion. Of course, scholarly comments are always welcome, but
conclusively and not looking for argumentative rounds. Remember that in
less than ten days we will have a new session on info science and library
science. best --Pedro
 
----------------------------------------------------------------------
 
Retrospective comments on the January 2015 FIS discussion
Terrence Deacon (dea...@berkeley.edu)
 
During the bulk of my career since the early 1980s I studied brain
organization with a particular focus on its role in the production and
interpretation of communication in vertebrate animals and humans. One
core target of these studies was to understand the neurological
changes that led to the evolution of the human language capacity and
why it is so anomalous in the context of the other diverse
communication systems that have evolved. This work was largely
conducted using standard lab-based neuroscience tools—from axonal
tracer techniques, to fetal neural transplantation, to MRI imaging,
and more—and studying a diverse array of animal brains. Besides
evolutionary and developmental neuroscience, this path led me to
explore ethology, linguistics, semiotic theories, information theories
and the philosophical issues that these research areas touched upon.
Indeed, my first co-authored book was not on neuroscience but on the
design of the early Apple desktop computers. So I came at the issues
explored in my FIS essay from this diverse background. This has led me
to pose what may be more basic questions than are usually considered,
and to reconsider even the most unquestioned assumptions about the
nature of information and the origins of its semiotic properties.
 
I am aware that many who are following this discussion have a
career-long interest in some aspect of human communication or
computation. In these realms many researchers —including many of
you— have provided sophisticated analytical tools and quite extensive
theories for describing these processes. Though it may at first seem
as though I am questioning the validity of some of this (now accepted)
body of theory, for the most part I too find this adequate for the
specific pragmatic issues usually considered. The essay I posted did
not critique any existing theory. It rather explored some assumptions
that most theories take for granted and need not address.
 
I believe, however, that there remain a handful of issues that have
been set aside and taken as givens that need to be reconsidered. For
the most part, these assumptions don't demand to be unpacked in order
to produce useful descriptions of communicative and information
processes at the machine or interpersonal level. Among these givens is
the question of what is minimally necessary for a system or process to
be interpretive, in the sense of being able to utilize present
intrinsic physical properties of things to refer to absent or
displaced properties or phenomena. This research question is ignorable
when it is possible to assume human or even animal interpreters as
part of the system one is analyzing. At some point, however, it
becomes relevant to not only be more explicit about what is being
assumed, but also to explain how this interpretive capacity could
possibly originate in a universe where direct contiguity of causal
influence is the rule. Although, this may appear to some readers as a
question that is merely of philosophical concern, I believe that
failure to consider it will impede progress in exploring some of the
most pressing scientific issues of our time, including both the nature
an origins of living and mental processes, and possibly even quantum
processes.
 
In this respect, my exposition was not in any respect critical of other
approaches but was rather an effort to solicit collaboration in digging
into issues that have —for legitimate pragmatic reasons— not been a
significant focus of most current theoretical analysis. I understand why
some readers felt that the whole approach was peripheral to their current
interests. Or who thought that I was re-opening debates that had long-ago
been set aside. Or who just thought that I was working at the wrong level,
on the conviction that the answer to such questions lies in other realms, 
e.g. quantum theories or panpsychic philosophies. To those of you who fell
into these categories, I beg your indulgence.
 
The issues involved are not merely of philosophical interest. They are of
critical relevance to understanding biological and neurological information.
So if there are any readers of this forum who are interested in the issue 
of the whether reference and significance are physically explainable 
irrespective
of human subjective observation, and who have been quietly reflecting on my
proposals, I would be happy to carry on an email dialogue outside of
this forum.
 
For the rest, thank you for your time, and the opportunity to present
these ideas.
 
Sincerely, Terrence Deacon (dea...@berkeley.edu)
 
 
 
-- 
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/
-------------------------------------------------






-- 
-------------------------------------------------
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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