I'd be interested to know whether "mattering" is considered within
"meaning". I suspect "mattering" is distinct.

....thinking aloud....

Science isn't just meaningful. It matters to scientists. Perhaps it's
only because it matters to some people, it exists.

Re. meaning, I think the connection between meaning and expectation is
correct. I agree Shannon is helpful for constructing approaches to
explore this. But we expect many things, yet only a few of them really

There are many varieties of transcendental argument about information
which start from assumed mechanistic properties of nature. Yet we have
no certainty about whether nature's apparent regularities are real or
not - it is conjecture. There does appear to be a kind of "cybernetic
functionalism" (which I think is what Soren is complaining about)
which maintains scepticism about reality at one level, and positivism
at another. Not all cybernetics is culpable of this however. I would
be interested in an approach to information which avoids untestable
assumptions about "natural necessity".

Is there a "personalist" interpretation of information which starts
from concrete personal being (note that 'personal' does not have to
mean "individual": persons well be relations), and does not seek to
reduce personal being to more abstract "foundations"?

From a personalist perspective, information may simply be constraint.
Is the difference between things that matter and things that mean
something differences in relations between constraints? Bateson's
double-bind, which definitely matters to those caught in it, is a
particular dynamics of constraint. Bateson also specified constraint
dynamics in what he called "symmetrical schizmogenesis" (seen in
tit-for-tat engagements, fighting) and "complementary schizmogenesis"
(seen in master slave relations). This is a good start....

A question which I don't think Bateson addresses, but maybe Ashby had
an idea about, is what science would look like if we sought agreement
about the constraints which we share rather than our theories about
causation. I don't think that would be a functionalist pursuit.

Best wishes,


On 9 April 2016 at 11:21, Loet Leydesdorff <l...@leydesdorff.net> wrote:
> Dear Pedro,
> I disagree about putting "meaning" outside the scope of natural sciences.
> I doubt that anybody on this list would disagree about using the metaphor of
> meaning in the natural sciences.
> Maturana (1978, p. 49): “In still other words, if an organism is observed in
> its operation within a second-order consensual domain, it appears to the
> observer as if its nervous system interacted with internal representations
> of the circumstances of its interactions, and as if the changes of state of
> the organism were determined by the semantic value of these representations.
> Yet all that takes place in the operation of the nervous system is the
> structure-determined dynamics of changing relations of relative neuronal
> activity proper to a closed neuronal network.”
> http://www.enolagaia.com/M78BoL.html#Descriptions
> In other context, Maturana used the concept of “languaging”.
> My point is about the differentia specifica of inter-human communication
> which assumes a next-order contingency of expectations structured by
> “horizons of meaning” (Husserl). One needs a specific (social-science) set
> of theories and methods to access this domain, in my opinion. In concrete
> projects, one can try to operationalize in terms of the information sciences
> / information theory. One can also collaborate “interdisciplinarily” at the
> relevant interface, notably with the computer sciences. The use of metaphors
> in other disciplines, however,  cannot be denied.
> This is just a reaction; I had one penny left this week. J
> Best,
> Loet
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Dr. Mark William Johnson
Institute of Learning and Teaching
Faculty of Health and Life Sciences
University of Liverpool

Visiting Professor
Far Eastern Federal University, Russia

Phone: 07786 064505
Email: johnsonm...@gmail.com
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