Dear Pedro and List, I've really enjoyed leading the session on "scientific communication" - it was an opportunity, for which I am very grateful, to explore the nature and purpose of scientific communication, and to experiment with different ways of communicating. It's been a fascinating couple of months - and now we have President Trump. Who'd have thought it?!
It wasn't so clear to me before the session, but during it I have learnt that the arguments about constraint and redundancy relate directly to the process of communicating through different media. When we teach, much of what we do is add redundancy, or multiple descriptions of things. Powerful forms of communication like music tend to be the most redundant, and even in the prosody of language where meaning is most powerfully conveyed, there are levels of redundant descriptions in the tone, timbre, rhythm and pitch of the human voice. It was great to see the Searle-Floridi video that Marcus shared. Searle is very entertaining and whilst his philosophy of "status functions" is a way of explaining how meaning is constructed in society, I've always felt that he only looks at the positive "information" part of a declaration; but every declaration that "this is a $5 bill" is also a declaration that something else is only a worthless piece of paper. The $5 bill is worth $5 because it is declared to be scarce - so a "status declaration" is a "scarcity declaration". Our academic world, including the publishing world, operates by declaring of status of those who are deemed to have the authority to make status declarations about knowledge. To put it crudely, we academics love our titles and our status, and our universities have built giant businesses out of it. Thorstein Veblen referred to it as "atavistic" arguing "the standing of the savant in the mind of the altogether unlettered is in great measure rated in terms of intimacy with the occult forces" (Theory of the Leisure Class, final chapter). He's right, isn't he? But today we have a science of information - a science of uncertainty revealed to us through the computer's lens. Yet we remain committed to establishing findings on the pages of journals for ontological foundations of the universe, biology, ecology, economics, etc as "certain"; we write as if we have little doubt, that our methods are sound, that we are an 'authority'. One has to really get to know a professor in order to understand how they are not certain about things - and then the learning really begins. This failure to express uncertainty has to do with both status and the way we communicate. So why does this matter? We turn to Trump: from an information perspective, Trump's victory was a disaster for the pollsters. This is a serious problem - not just for losing or winning elections - but for auditing the effects of policies during government. The pollsters told the government that on balance, using the appropriate measures, their policies were working and things were getting better. But in reality, people were really hurting and getting angry: what Stafford Beer calls the "Algedonic loop" didn't work - there was a failure to analyse anything to do with real feelings and experience. That this has serious political consequences is now obvious. So thank you all for participating and for a whole load of references which I will explore. I hope that some of you will experiment in adding redundancies to your scientific descriptions in new ways with the amazing technical resources we now have at our disposal. Best wishes, Mark On 17 November 2016 at 13:09, Pedro C. Marijuan <pcmarijuan.i...@aragon.es> wrote: > Dear FIS Colleagues, > > Herewith the dropbox link to the Chengdu's presentation on Intelligence and > the Information Flow (as kindly requested by Christophe and Gordana). > > https://www.dropbox.com/sh/wslnk41c3lquc55/AADpm_U6xuhm6jHK0esyN-29a?dl=0 > > About the ongoing exchanges on language and meaning, there could be some > additional arguments to consider: > > 1. Evolutionary origins of language (Terry can say quite a bit about that). > It is difficult to establish a clear stage into which well formed oral > language would have emerged. That the basis was both gestural (Susan Goldin > Meadow) and emotional utterances seems to be more and more accepted. Alarm > calls for instance in some monkeys contain distinct sound codes that clearly > imply an associated meaning on what is the specific predator to take care of > (aerial, felines, snakes) with differentiated behavioral escape responses in > each case. Pretty more complex in human protolanguages. > 2. Nervous Systems functioning. The action-perception cycle in advanced > mammals would be the engine of information processing and meaning > generation. The advancement of the life cycle would be the source and sink > of the communicative exchanges and the ultimate reference for meaning. (This > connects with the info flows and intelligence of my presentation). > 3. Human "sociotype" maintenance. As the natural social groups of humans > grew out of proportion regarding other Anthropoidea (see Dunbar's number), a > new form of "grooming" and group consensus was established around language > and other emotional utterances (importance of laughter). Paradoxically, > language's meaning becomes downsized to the level of small talk, just > chattering to keep social bonds afloat. The "social brain hypothesis" on > the origins of language developed by Robin Dunbar and other scholars points > in this direction. > > In my opinion, points 1 and 3 have already appeared in this list. But point > 2 has been very rarely discussed among us (how the brain fabricates > meaning). So, tentatively, the next discussion session will deal with some > of this neurodynamic stuff (in preparation yet: "The Topological Brain"). In > the meantime, Maybe Mark would like to make some concluding comments in > order to close the present session... Thanks are due to him both for his > preparation-work and for his patience regarding all the tangents in this > session! > > Best wishes > --Pedro > > > El 16/11/2016 a las 15:51, Dai Griffiths escribió: >> >> Many (most?) linguistic interactions are not propositional in the sense >> that you imply. >> >> There is no verifiable equivalent to opening the fridge door for >> utterances like "Cool", "Give us a hand won't you", "You're welcome", >> "Justin Bieber is wonderful", "You go and sneak in round the back while I >> distract them at the front door", and so on. >> >> So I doubt your 'usually', and the application to natural language. >> >> Dai >> >> >> On 15/11/16 15:05, Bruno Marchal wrote: >>> >>> A model is a mathematical structure making a sentence (proposition) true >>> or false, and this, in my opinion applies to meaning in the natural >>> language, where usually some notion of reality is involved: the proposition >>> "there is two beers in the fridge" is judged meaningful because we believe >>> in a reality with fridge containing, or not, beers. >> >> > > _______________________________________________ > Fis mailing list > Fis@listas.unizar.es > http://listas.unizar.es/cgi-bin/mailman/listinfo/fis -- 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 Blog: http://dailyimprovisation.blogspot.com _______________________________________________ Fis mailing list Fis@listas.unizar.es http://listas.unizar.es/cgi-bin/mailman/listinfo/fis