re: it is likely to be problematic to use language as the paradigm model for all communication--Terrence Deacon Terry makes interesting points, but I think on this one, he may be wrong. Guenther Witzany is on to something. our previous approaches to information have been what Barbara Ehrenreich, in her introduction to the upcoming paperback of my book The God Problem: How a Godless Cosmos Creates, calls "a kind of unacknowledged necrophilia." we've been using dead things to understand living things. aristotle put us on that path when he told us that if we could break things down to their "elements" and understand what he called the "laws" of those elements, we'd understand everything. Newton took us farther down that path when he said we could understand everything using the metaphor of the "contrivance," the machine--the metaphor of "mechanics" and of "mechanism." Aristotle and Newton were wrong. Their ideas have had centuries to pan out, and they've led to astonishing insights, but they've left us blind to the relational aspect of things. utterly blind. the most amazing metaphor of relationality available to us is not math, it's not mechanism, and it's not reduction to "elements," it's language. by using the metaphor of a form of language called "code," watson and crick were able to understand what a strand of dna does and how. without language as metaphor, we'd still be in the dark about the genome. i'm convinced that by learning the relational secrets of the body of work of a Shakespeare or a Goethe we could crack some of the secrets we've been utterly unable to comprehend, from what makes the social clots we call a galaxy's spiral arms (a phenomenon that astronomer Greg Matloff, a Fellow of the British interplanetary Society, says defies the laws of Newtonian and Einsteinian physics) to what makes the difference between life and death. in other words, it's time we confess in science just how little we know about language, that we explore language's mysteries, and that we use our discoveries as a crowbar to pry open the secrets of this highly contextual, deeply relational, profoundly communicational cosmos. with thanks for tolerating my opinions. howard ____________ Howard Bloom Author of: The Lucifer Principle: A Scientific Expedition Into the Forces of History ("mesmerizing"-The Washington Post), Global Brain: The Evolution of Mass Mind From The Big Bang to the 21st Century ("reassuring and sobering"-The New Yorker), The Genius of the Beast: A Radical Re-Vision of Capitalism ("A tremendously enjoyable book." James Fallows, National Correspondent, The Atlantic), The God Problem: How A Godless Cosmos Creates ("Bloom's argument will rock your world." Barbara Ehrenreich), How I Accidentally Started the Sixties ("Wow! Whew! Wild! Wonderful!" Timothy Leary), and The Mohammed Code ("A terrifying book…the best book I've read on Islam." David Swindle, PJ Media). www.howardbloom.net Former Core Faculty Member, The Graduate Institute; Former Visiting Scholar-Graduate Psychology Department, New York University. Founder: International Paleopsychology Project; Founder, Space Development Steering Committee; Founder: The Group Selection Squad; Founding Board Member: Epic of Evolution Society; Founding Board Member, The Darwin Project; Founder: The Big Bang Tango Media Lab; member: New York Academy of Sciences, American Association for the Advancement of Science, American Psychological Society, Academy of Political Science, Human Behavior and Evolution Society, International Society for Human Ethology, Scientific Advisory Board Member, Lifeboat Foundation; Editorial Board Member, Journal of Space Philosophy; Board member and member of Board of Governors, National Space Society.
In a message dated 9/28/2015 11:47:26 A.M. Eastern Daylight Time, pcmarijuan.i...@aragon.es writes: >From Terry... -------- Original Message -------- Subject: Re: [Fis] Information is a linguistic description of structures Date: Sun, 27 Sep 2015 22:13:14 -0700 From: Terrence W. Deacon _<dea...@berkeley.edu>_ (mailto:dea...@berkeley.edu) To: Pedro C. Marijuan _<pcmarijuan.i...@aragon.es>_ (mailto:pcmarijuan.i...@aragon.es) CC: Günther Witzany _<witz...@sbg.at>_ (mailto:witz...@sbg.at) , _<fa...@howardbloom.net>_ (mailto:fa...@howardbloom.net) , fis _<email@example.com>_ (mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org) , Emanuel Diamant _<emanl....@gmail.com>_ (mailto:emanl....@gmail.com) References: _<email@example.com>_ (mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org) _<0d34f6ef-19e6-4c9c-a9d3-aba4f5f2e...@sbg.at>_ (mailto:0d34f6ef-19e6-4c9c-a9d3-aba4f5f2e...@sbg.at) _<56053208.2000...@aragon.es>_ (mailto:56053208.2000...@aragon.es) As exemplified in Guenther's auxin example, and Pedro's worries about the procrustean use of language metaphors in the discussion of inter- and intra-cellular communication, it is likely to be problematic to use language as the paradigm model for all communication, much less as the foundation upon which to build a general theory of information. From an evolutionary point of view, language is a highly derived human idiosyncratic form of communication that evolved only very recently in vertebrate phylogeny, in only one species, and is supported by a vast semiotic cognitive and social infrastructure. Communication in a more general sense is vastly older and far more generic. For this reason, it is wise to avoid talking in terms of the semantics of a cough, the meaning of a piece of music, or the syntax of a skunk's odor. The use of Carnap's approach to language semantics and various other uses of linguistic categories in information theoretic analyses needs to be understood as a special case, not the generic form. I would recommend that presentations and comments to them be framed with appropriate caveats, indicating whether they address such special cases of human information or are intended to be generic. On Fri, Sep 25, 2015 at 4:37 AM, Pedro C. Marijuan <email@example.com_ (mailto:pcmarijuan.i...@aragon.es) > wrote: Dear FISers and all, I include below another response to Immanuel post (from Guenther). I think he has penned an excellent response--my only addition is to expostulate a doubt. Should our analysis of the human (or cellular!) communication with the environment be related to linguistic practices? In short, my argument is that biological self-production becomes "la raison d'etre" of communication, both concerning its evolutionary origins and the continuous opening towards the environment along the different stages of the individual's life cycle. It is cogent that the same messenger plays quite different roles in different specialized cells --we have to disentangle in each case how the impinging "info" affects the ongoing life cycle (the impact upon the transcriptome, proteome, metabolome, etc.) There is no shortcut to the endless work necessary--wet lab & in silico. So I think that Encode and other big projec ts are quite useful in the continuous exploration of biological complexity and provide us valuable conceptual stuff--but looking for hypothetical big formalisms (I quite agree) is out sight. Molecular recognition which is the at the fundamentals of biological organization can only provide modest guidelines about the main informational architectures of life... beyond that, there is too much complexity, endless complexity to contemplate, particularly when we try to study multicellular organization. Anyhow, this topic of the essential informational openness of the individual's life cycle appears to me as the Gordian knot to be cut for the advancement of our field: otherwise we will never connect meaningfully with the endless info flows that interconnect our societies, generated from the life cycles of individuals and addressed to the life cycles of other individuals. Info sources, channels for info flows, and info receptors are not mere Shannonian overtones, they symbolically refer to the very info skeleton of our societies; or looking dynamically it is the engine of social history and of social complexity. Well, sorry that I could not express myself better. all the best--Pedro Günther Witzany wrote: Dear all! What is the opposite of a linguistic description? a non-linguistic description? Please tell me one possible explanation of a non-linguistic description. So Im not convinced of the sense of the term "information". Concerning the "difference" of physical and semantic information: What would you prefer in the case of plant communication. Does the chemical Auxin represent a physical or a semantic information? Auxin is used in hormonal, morphogenic, and transmitter pathways. As an extracellular signal at the plant synapse, auxin serves to react to light and gravity. It also serves as an extracellular messenger substance to send electrical signals and functions as a synchronization signal for cell division. At the intercellular, whole plant level, it supports cell division in the cambium, and at the tissue level, it promotes the maturation of vascular tissue during embryonic development, organ growth as well as tropic responses and apical dominance. In intracellular signaling, auxin serves in organogenesis, cell development, and differentiation. Especially in the organogenesis of roots, for example, auxin enables cells to determine their position and their identity. These multiple functions of auxin demonstrate that identifying the momentary usage (its semantics) is extremely difficult because the context (investigation object of pragmatics) of use can be very complex and highly diverse, although the chemical property remains the same. Yes, mathematics is an artificial language. Last century the Pythagorean approach, mathematics represents material reality, (if we use mathematics we reconstruct creators thoughts) was reactivated: Exact science must represent observations as well as theories in mathematical equations. Then it would be sure to represent reality, because brain synapse logics then could express its own material reality. But this was proven as error. Prior to all artificial languages we learned how to interconnect linguistic utterances with practical behavior in socialisation; therefore the ultimate meta-language is everyday language with its visible superficial grammar and its invisible deep grammar that transports the intended meaning. How should computers extract deep grammar structures out of measurable superficial syntax structures? In the case of ENCODE project (to find the human genome primary data structures) this was the aim which got financial support of 3 billion dollars with the result of detecting the superficial grammar only, nothing else. Best Wishes Guenther Am 24.09.2015 um 07:47 schrieb Emanuel Diamant: Dear FIS colleagues, As a newcomer to FIS, I feel myself very uncomfortable when I have to interrupt the ongoing discourse with something that looks for me quite natural but is lacking in our current public dialog. What I have in mind is that in every discussion or argument exchange, first of all, the grounding axioms and mutually agreed assumptions should be established and declared as the basis for further debating and reasoning. Maybe in our case, these things are implied by default, but I am not a part of the dominant coalition. For this reason, I would dare to formulate some grounding axioms that may be useful for those who are not FIS insiders: 1. Information is a linguistic description of structures observable in a given data set 2. Two types of data structures could be distinguished in a data set: primary and secondary data structures. 3. Primary data structures are data clusters or clumps arranged or occurring due to the similarity in physical properties of adjacent data elements. For this reason, the primary data structures could be called physical data structures. 4. Secondary data structures are specific arrangements of primary data structures. The grouping of primary data structures into secondary data structures is a prerogative of an external observer and it is guided by his subjective reasons, rules and habits. The secondary data structures exist only in the observer’s head, in his mind. Therefore, they could be called meaningful or semantic data structures. 5. As it was said earlier, Description of structures observable in a data set should be called “Information”. In this regard, two types of information must be distinguished – Physical Information and Semantic Information. 6. Both are language-based descriptions; however, physical information can be described with a variety of languages (recall that mathematics is also a language), while semantic information can be described only by means of natural human language. This is a concise set of axioms that should preface all our further discussions. You can accept them. You can discard them and replace them with better ones. But you can not proceed without basing your discussion on a suitable and appropriate set of axioms. That is what I have to say at this moment. My best regards to all of you, Emanuel. -- ------------------------------------------------- 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_ (tel:+34%20976%2071%203526) (& 6818) firstname.lastname@example.org_ (mailto:pcmarijuan.i...@aragon.es) http://sites.google.com/site/pedrocmarijuan/ ------------------------------------------------- _______________________________________________ Fis mailing list _Fis@listas.unizar.es_ (mailto:Fis@listas.unizar.es) http://listas.unizar.es/cgi-bin/mailman/listinfo/fis -- 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) email@example.com_ (mailto:pcmarijuan.i...@aragon.es) http://sites.google.com/site/pedrocmarijuan/ ------------------------------------------------- _______________________________________________ Fis mailing list Fis@listas.unizar.es http://listas.unizar.es/cgi-bin/mailman/listinfo/fis
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