Dear Soren,
If you were to read the dialogues with Mary Catherine Bateson (as a child) and 
Gregory Bateson in “Steps to an Ecology of Mind”, you might change your notion 
what sort of view of the observer is being studied in cybernetics. It is all, 
through and through about a feeling for and an awarenss of context.
This deep awareness of context is what brought so many of us to study the 
cybernetics of Bateson, von Foerster, Pask, Matrurana and others!

I feel sorry that you have acquired such a mechanistic view of cybernetics.
 I have no idea what you could possibly mean by a ‘cybernetic mind built out of 
circular logical reasoning’! 
Do you mean what comes from 

“I am the observed link between myself and observing myself” (HVF)?

Note that the words 
are all undefined here and it is up to the reader of this evocation to fill 
them in with feeling in the circular round that is but a walk or spiral about 
the notion of self,
based on the given that selves can observe ‘themselves’.

Similarly in your sentence, the words
cybernetic mind,
are undefined. The most treacherous is the word ‘built’ suggesting as it does 
that we would perhaps imagine that we can construct, as in building Uinivac, 
a ‘cybernetic mind.’ I think that i prefer the postitronic brains of Isaac 

Perhaps you are a reader of Stanislaw Lem and his Science Fiction Robots. 

In taking a concept such as circularity, and emphasizing it, we run the risk of 
making it sound like a be-all and end-all. It is important to understand that 
circularity is really always a spiral, and when we return to the first place it 
has been transformed in the next newness. Feeling emerges in the eternal return 
to the new and just born. These are the metaphors that we take to heart.
Very best,

P.S. I am quite conscious that I use an apposite strategy, speaking as 
poetically as I know how in the face of apparently logical but undefined 
It is easy for us to get lost in our own words.

> On Apr 2, 2016, at 2:28 PM, Søren Brier <> wrote:
> Dear Lou
> Thank you for your comments. My critique of Bateson is that his definition of 
> the observer was purely cybernetics and  never included the experiential and 
> therefore the emotional and meaning producing aspect of awareness. This is 
> simply not included in the foundation the transdisciplinary foundation of 
> cybernetics and may I add most of system science. Bateson’s observer is a 
> cybernetic mind build out of circular logical reasoning, like McCulloch’s and 
> von Foerster’s observer and I will include Maturana’s observer too. It is an 
> inherited limitation of the cybernetic paradigm. This is the reason I have 
> tried to integrate it into Peirce’s deep form of transdisciplinarity.
> Luhmann see the lack of a phenomenological foundation in systems science and 
> cybernetics (his system theory attempts to integrate them all including 
> Bateson). Because of this lack he attempts to integrate his model with 
> aspects of Husserl’s phenomenology by including a horizon of expectations but 
> conceptualized in probability mathematics. Luhmann (1990) and Peirce both 
> share the idea of form as the essential component in communication. Peirce 
> writes:
> […] a Sign may be defined as a Medium for the communication of a Form. [...]. 
> As a medium, the Sign is essentially in a triadic relation, to its Object 
> which determines it, and to its Interpretant which it determines. [...]. That 
> which is communicated from the Object through the Sign to the Interpretant is 
> a Form; that is to say, it is nothing like an existent, but is a power, is 
> the fact that something would happen under certain conditions.  (MS: 793:1-3)
> In Peirce’s dynamic process semiotics, a form is something that is embodied 
> in an object as a habit. Thus, form acts as a constraining factor on 
> interpretative behavior or what he calls a real possibility in the form of a 
> ‘would-be’. The form is embodied in the object as a sort of disposition to 
> act (Nöth 2012). This is based on Peirce’s metaphysics of Tychism, which is 
> close to the spontaneity found in the vacuum fields of quantum filed theory, 
> except that Peirce’s view of substance differs from modern physics in that he 
> is a hylozoist like Aristotle, but now in an evolutionary process ontology.
> I did meet Penrose many years ago and discussed his three world scenario with 
> him and it is correct that on p.17-21 in The road to reality he give one of 
> his most deep discussion of the model. But I do not recognize you far 
> reaching and subtle interpretation there. For me the important ontological 
> assumption is the independent mathematical platonic world, which is why the 
> book’s subtitle is A complete guide to the laws of the Universe, which is 
> connected to his prejudice that “the entire physical world is depicted as 
> being governed according to mathematical laws” (p.18). Like Popper he 
> operates with a mental world, but never gives a phenomenological or otherwise 
> definition of the experiential world of experience, feelings and meaning, 
> which is a place Popper also avoids and therefore never goers into a 
> discussion of the qualitative “sciences”. In his development of his basic 
> three world model in Fig.1.3 Penrose in figure 1.4 does believe that  “there 
> might be mentality that is not rooted in physical structure”(p.20) and there 
> is “the possibility of physical action beyond the scope of mathematical 
> control” (p.20). On p. 21 he write about the mystery of “how it is that 
> mentality – most particularly conscious awareness –can come about in 
> association with appropriate physical structures...” and like in his work 
> with Hameroff he believes that this understanding has to come from “..  major 
> revolutions in our physical understanding”. They want to go deeper in quantum 
> theory to transgress the type of physical worldview science is working from 
> now. I am puzzled by how his views here are consistent with his view in the 
> Emperor’s new mind and Shadows of mind where he argues against AI having the 
> same qualities as the human mind.
> Thanks
>                     Søren
> Fra: Louis H Kauffman [ <>] 
> Sendt: 2. april 2016 05:46
> Til: <>
> Cc: Pedro C. Marijuan; Søren Brier
> Dear Soren and Folks,
> I have included some comments inside Soren’s introduction.
> Best,
> Lou K.
> Infobiosemiotics
> Søren Brier, CBS
> This discussion aims at contributing to the definition of a universal concept 
> of information covering objective as well as subjective experiential and 
> intersubjective meaningful cognition and communication argued in more length 
> in Brier (2015a). My take on the problem is that information is not primarily 
> a technological term but a phenomenon that emerges from intersubjective 
> meaningful sign based cognition and communication in living systems. The 
> purpose of this discussion is to discuss a possible philosophical framework 
> for an integral and more adequate concept of information uniting all isolated 
> disciplines (Brier, 2010, 2011, 2013a+b+c). 
> The attempts to create objective concepts of information were good for 
> technology (Brilliouin 1962) and the development of AI, but not able to 
> develop theories that could include the experiential (subjective) aspect of 
> informing that leads to meaning in the social setting (Brier 2015b). The 
> statistical concept of Shannon (Shannon and Weaver 1963/1948) is the most 
> famous objective concept but it was only a technical invention based on a 
> mathematical concept of entropy, but never intended to encompass meaning.  
> Norbert Wiener (1963) combined the mathematics statistical with Boltzmann’s 
> thermodynamically entropy concept and defined information as neg-entropy. 
> Wiener then saw the statistical information’s entropy as a representation for 
> mind and the thermodynamically entropy as representing matter. So he thought 
> he had solved the mind matter problem through his and Schrödinger’s 
> (1944/2012) definition of information as neg-entropy. 
> The idea was developed further into an evolutionary and ecological framework 
> by Gregory Bateson (1972, 1979, 19827) resulting in an ecological cybernetic 
> concept of mind as self-organized differences that made a difference for a 
> cybernetically conceptualized mind (Brier 2008b). But this concepts that 
> could not encompass meaning and experience of embodied living and social 
> systems (Brier 2008a, 2010, 2011). 
> [It seems to me that Bateson is well aware of the neccesity of being 
> meaningful and thoughtful in relation to information and that his ‘difference 
> that makes a difference’ is often the difference that is understood by an 
> aware observer. Thus for him it is often the case that information arises 
> within awareness and is not just 
> a matter of channel capacities as in the Shannon approach. The whole reason 
> one is take by Bateson and can find much to think about there is that he has 
> a sensitive and thoughtful approach to this area of problems. It is too harsh 
> to just say that “the idea was developed further …”. 
> My main point is that from the present material, energetic or informational 
> ontologies worldview we do not have any idea of how life, feeling, awareness 
> and qualia could emerge from that foundation. 
> [Yes.]
> Ever since Russell and Whitehead’s attempt in Principia Mathematica to make a 
> unified mathematical language for all sciences and logical positivism failed 
> (Carnap, 1967 & Cartwright 1996), 
> [Personally, I do not regard the incompleteness results of Godel as an 
> indication of failure! They show for the first time the true role of 
> formalism in mathematics and in intellectual endeavor in general. We cannot 
> rely on formalism only for our search, but it is through examining the limits 
> of given formalisms that the search can be carried further. I do not say this 
> is the only way forward, but we are no longer stuck with idea of a perfect 
> mechanism that can in principle generate all mathematical 
> truths. This has failed and we are happy at that.]
> the strongest paradigm attempting in a new unification is now the 
> info-computational formalism based on the mathematic calculus developed by 
> Gregory Chaitin (2006 and 2007) ).
> [The ‘mathematical calculus’ of Chaitin iis very stimulating and it is based 
> on the same incompleteness arguments as Goedel. Chaitin defines ‘random’ 
> relative to a given formal system L. A sequence is random if there is no 
> algorithm in L simpler than THE SEQUENCE ITSELF that can generate the 
> sequence. Complexity of algorithms can be examined from this point of view. 
> What we do not see in Chaitin is that same thing we do not see in Shannon. We 
> do not see a role for judgement or phenomenolgy. I am interested in your 
> notion that Chaitin has done more than this. Please say more.]
> The paradigm is only in its early beginning and is looking for a concept of 
> natural computing (Dodig-Crnkovic, 2012) going beyond the Turing concept of 
> computing. But even that still does not encompass the experiential feeling 
> mind and the meaning orienting aspect of intersubjective communication wither 
> be only sign or also language based.
> [Here I think you say the same as I just said above. It does not go far 
> enough.]
> So far there is no conclusive evidence to make us believe that the core of 
> reality across nature, culture, life and mind is purely absolute mathematical 
> law as Penrose (2004) seems to suggest
> [Penrose says more. He is a particular sort of Platonist and he speaks of 
> Three Worlds: World of Mind, Platonic Ideal World, Physical World.
> He has a triplicate circular relationship of these three worlds. The subtle 
> part of Mind is included in the Platonic. The subtle part of the Platonic is 
> included in the 
> deep mathematical structure of the physical. The subtle part of the physical 
> is included in the Mind. These are all proper inclusions. Mind is greater 
> than the subtle physical. The Platonic is greater than the subtle mind. The 
> Physical is greater than its subtle mathematical core. You can find all this 
> in the introduction to Penrose’s
> book “The Road to Reality”. ]
> or purely computational. 
> [In his books Penrose argues again and again against the notion that we are 
> purely computational and he does not believe that the Universe is purely 
> computational.]
> Meaning is a way of making ‘sense’ of things for the individual in the world 
> perceived.
> [I think it would help to raise (once again) the question of the meaning of 
> meaning. It is too easy to say that meaning is a ‘making sense of’ or that it 
> is non-mathematical. The problem with saying non-mathematical is that one has 
> to raise (once again) the question of what it means (sic) to be mathematical.
> And when all is said and done it will become clear that one has to 
> differentiate between mathematical meaning calculational and mathematical 
> meaning 
> conceptual (the number two is the concept of pair). When one asks how comes 
> about a concept then one is thrown fully into the relationship of 
> thought,percept and concept. I say that this is where meaning comes about. 
> And indeed ‘feeling’ is important in this domain, as feeling is what 
> intermediates thought,percept and concept.
> There is a strong need for very careful and sensitive phenomenological 
> discussion of this issue.]
> It is a non-mathematical existential feeling aspect of life related to 
> reflection past, present and future of existence in the surrounding 
> environment, in humans enhanced by language, writings, pictures, music 
> through culture. In animals cognition and communication are connected to 
> survival, procreation and pleasure. In humans beings cognition develops into 
> consciousness through subjective experiential and meaning based (self-) 
> reflection of the individual’s role in the external world and becomes an 
> existential aspect.
> [Here you discuss exacty that arena of though, concept and percept.]
> My conclusion is therefore that a broader foundation is needed in order to 
> understand the basis for information and communication in living systems. 
> Therefore we need to include a phenomenological and hermeneutical ground in 
> order to integrate a theory of interpretative/subjectiveand intersubjective 
> meaning and signification with a theory of objective information, which has a 
> physical grounding (see for instance Plamen, Rosen & Gare 2015). Thus the 
> question is how can we establish an alternative transdisciplinary model of 
> the sciences and the humanities to the logical positivist reductionism on one 
> hand and to postmodernist relativist constructivism on the other in the form 
> of a transdisciplinary concept of Wissenschaft (i.e. “knowledge creation”, 
> implying both subjectivism and objectivism)? The body and its meaning-making 
> processes is a complex multidimensional object of research that necessitates 
> trans-disciplinary theoretical approaches including biological sciences, 
> primarily biosemiotics and bio-cybernetics, cognition and communication 
> sciences, phenomenology, hermeneutics, philosophy of science and 
> philosophical theology (Harney 2015, Davies & Gregersen 2009).
> Peirce develops his pragmaticism as a way to unite empirical research, 
> meaning and experience. His ontology is not only materialistic science but 
> does also include meaning through embodied interaction through experiential 
> living bodies and thereby the social as well as the subjective forms of 
> cognition, meaning and interpretation. Thereby he goes further than Popper’s 
> (1978) view of the three worlds. Communication is not only a world of 
> objective knowledge but is intersubjective meaningful information. Peirce’s 
> idea of ‘the world’ is much bigger than what science considers being ‘the 
> world’... 
> [Thank you for this fine introduction to your thinking!]
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