Dear Marcus and colleagues, 


Katherine Hayles (1990, pp. 59f.) compared this discussion about the definition 
of “information” with asking whether a glass is half empty or half full. 
Shannon-type information is a measure of the variation or uncertainty, whereas 
Bateson’s “difference which makes a difference” presumes a system of reference 
for which the information can make a difference and thus be meaningful. 


In my opinion, the advantage of measuring uncertainty in bits cannot be 
underestimated, since the operationalization and the measurement provide 
avenues to hypothesis testing and thus control of speculation (Theil, 1972). 
However, the semantic confusion can also be solved by using the words 
“uncertainty” or “probabilistic entropy” when Shannon-type information is meant.


I note that “a difference which makes a difference” cannot so easily be 
measured. J I agree that it is more precise to speak of “meaningful 
information” in that case. The meaning has to be specified in the system of 
reference (e.g., physics and/or biology).








Hayles, N. K. (1990). Chaos Bound; Orderly Disorder in Contemporary Literature 
and Science Ithaca, etc.: Cornell University.

Theil, H. (1972). Statistical Decomposition Analysis. Amsterdam/ London: 



Loet Leydesdorff 

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

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

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

Visiting Professor,  <> Birkbeck, University of London; 



From: Fis [] On Behalf Of Marcus Abundis
Sent: Friday, June 26, 2015 7:02 PM
Subject: [Fis] It-from-Bit and information interpretation of QM


Dear Andrei,


    I would ask for clarification on whether you speak of "information" in your 
examples as something that has innate "meaning" or something that is innately 
"meaningless" . . . which has been a core issue in earlier exchanges. If this 
issue of "meaning" versus "meaningless" in the use of the term "information" is 
not resolved (for the group?) it seems hard (to me) to have truly meaningful 
exchanges . . . without having to put a "meaningful" or "meaningless" qualifier 
in front of "information" every time it is use.





Marcus Abundis




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