Dear Steven and FIS Colleagues,
Your message has arrived to the list perfectly: fears are unjustified.
There is no censorship in this list --and never will be any (well, as
the movie tells "never say never again"!). Anyhow, I would dis-dramatize
the discussion. The Vienna conference has been very exciting and full of
oral discussions that somehow continue now. Quite many of those good
ideas have been rediscussed in the exchanges of these days. However, for
my taste, the essential connection between information and life has not
properly surfaced yet. The explosion of complexity in the living and the
explosion of complexity in modern societies is clearly depending on
information and communication flows (or whatever we may denominate).
Comparatively with the complexity of merely physical systems, there is
no point about that. Apart from following the physics, most of the
alternative approaches so far discussed go for the discursive,
conceptual domain as the place where information should be
ascertained... What if information belongs to action, to the adaptive
changes arranged by the living and socioeconomic agents, to the
tentative advancement of their life cycles, to the difficult achievement
of their fitness in an ever changing environment as communicating
members of bigger entities and societies... then we are leaving that
action track of life just as a fragmented scenario of multiple
specialized points of view--or tying it unpropery. As Goethe put in
Faust "At the beginning was the deed" Helas not the Verb!
In Vienna I agreed with Marcin's pragmatic approach to the "liquidity"
of information. Maybe it is too long to argue, and sure he can do better
than me. But getting to terms with the factic undefinability of the term
may help quite a bit to the practice of information science research by
people with empirical and naturalistic orientation. One should not feel
forced to define a fundamental concept (on a pair with "time" and
"space"--basic forms of information indeed) plus a cohort of other
"impossible" related terms (meaning, knowledge, intelligence) in order
to practice good info science research. Acknowledging that, could be a
first step to achieve a consensus on some basic principles of
information science that would allow the disciplinary construction and
all the multiple diversity within. It will take time and patience. So,
our "market of conceptual exchange" should continue unabated.
Particularly, continuing the debate on the 4 th Great Domain of Science
can help us to have a big picture where our more immediate, particular
goals might one day dovetail.
PS. The servers of University of Zaragoza are terribly sensitive to spam
suspiciousness, even my own messages have been rejected occasionally. I
can do little about that.
Steven Ericsson-Zenith wrote:
My fears appear justified, the FIS server has begun bouncing my posts.
I wish to say the following:
I fear that I may risk the life of a child, in addition to encouraging
additional irrational calls for banishment, by adding simple
encouragement to this point of view. I essentially agree with the
points that Marcus makes. The essence of which, I believe, is that
many endow the notion “information” with an existential status beyond
its due. A role that it is patently ill equipped for.
He is right to highlight how the notion of information is being
shoe-horned into the gap caused by the epistemic crisis that now
appears across science. Serious consideration of the context, why this
crisis exists in the first place, is required. In large part it is, in
my view, because of the neglect of natural epistemology and
existentialism in science.
I would also point out that this crisis is apparent in the words of
many modern physicists. Who have argued things like “falsification is
unnecessary” and “falsified theories are not fundamentally wrong” - in
addition to pursuing nonsensical physics in which they make egregious
The simplest examples of these mistakes being 1. the idea of “multiple
universes” (that appears to simply be a misuse of English) and even
“The Big Bang” as a creation theory (leaving room for all kinds of
nonsense, including naive conceptions of “God”).
The problem in general is, I fear, the “shut up and calculate”
generation - who have focused upon complex purely mathematical forms
and forgotten the necessity to include humanity and all life in its
considerations, and - as a consequence - they have sacrificed the
simplicity and pragmatism of science.
The fault lies in part, I know, with the Logicists, distracting us
from the bridge building required between pure mathematics and the
physical sciences, advocated first by Benjamin Peirce (1809-1880). The
focus upon binary valued systems, entirely discredited by Godel (to
whom we listened poorly), has not served us well.
Dr. Steven Ericsson-Zenith, Los Gatos, California. +1-650-308-8611
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)
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