Dear folks, I believe that information in itself must be interpreted, and is not, therefore intrinsically meaningful. The addition requires, I think, semiotics. Without that there are mere mechanical relations, and at best codes that translate one domain to another without understanding or integration required. I also see no reason that Bateson’s difference that makes a difference needs to involve meaning at either end. He did not add makes a difference “to something about something”. He just talked about making a difference. Best not to over-interpret.
I think that to ignore this distinction does a great disservice to information theory by glossing over a problem that any information processing system needs to deal with if it is to achieve meaning. John From: Fis [mailto:fis-boun...@listas.unizar.es] On Behalf Of Loet Leydesdorff Sent: June 26, 2015 7:34 PM To: 'Marcus Abundis'; 'fis' Subject: Re: [Fis] It-from-Bit and information interpretation of QM 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. ☺ 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). Best, Loet References: 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: North-Holland. ________________________________ Loet Leydesdorff Emeritus University of Amsterdam Amsterdam School of Communication Research (ASCoR) l...@leydesdorff.net <mailto:l...@leydesdorff.net> ; http://www.leydesdorff.net/ Honorary Professor, SPRU, <http://www.sussex.ac.uk/spru/> University of Sussex; Guest Professor Zhejiang Univ.<http://www.zju.edu.cn/english/>, Hangzhou; Visiting Professor, ISTIC, <http://www.istic.ac.cn/Eng/brief_en.html> Beijing; Visiting Professor, Birkbeck<http://www.bbk.ac.uk/>, University of London; http://scholar.google.com/citations?user=ych9gNYAAAAJ&hl=en From: Fis [mailto:fis-boun...@listas.unizar.es] On Behalf Of Marcus Abundis Sent: Friday, June 26, 2015 7:02 PM To: email@example.com<mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org> 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. Thanks. Marcus Abundis about.me/marcus.abundis
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