I meant to send this not only to Karl (which I did)  but to Alex and to the 
rest of the group as well.

> What  a fascinating analysis into the many aspects of gestalt, Karl!
> 
>  I would like to comment on your statement  that “the idea of gestalt 
> transcends the language in which it can be said. In linguistic parlance, the 
> idea is a deep structure which exists in different cultures, each of which 
> give it a differing superficial structure, like the French say chaise for 
> chair.”
> I  was doing some aimless internet drifting when I came across the following 
> remarks by Perry Link on the problem of translation from Chinese to English 
> (from a review he wrote for the NY Review of Books on the most recent and 
> best translation of the Chinese classic novel Chin Ping Mei):
> 
>  In teaching Chinese-language courses to American students, which I have done 
> about thirty times, perhaps the most anguishing question I get is “Professor 
> Link, what is the Chinese word for ______?” I am always tempted to say the 
> question makes no sense. Anyone who knows two languages moderately well knows 
> that it is rare for words to match up perfectly, and for languages as far 
> apart as Chinese and English, in which even grammatical categories are 
> conceived differently, strict equivalence is not possible. Book is not shu, 
> because shu, like all Chinese nouns, is conceived as an abstraction, more 
> like “bookness,” and to say “a book” you have to say, “one volume of 
> bookness.” Moreover shu, but not book, can mean “writing,” “letter,” or 
> “calligraphy.” On the other hand you can “book a room” in English; you can’t 
> shu one in Chinese. I tell my students that there are only two kinds of words 
> they can safely regard as equivalents: words for numbers (excepting integers 
> under five, the words for which have too many other uses) and words that are 
> invented expressly for the purpose of serving as equivalents, like xindiantu 
> (heart-electric-chart) for “electrocardiogram.” I tell them their goal in 
> Chinese class should be to set aside English and get started with thinking in 
> Chinese.
> 
> With reference to Wittgenstein, perhaps the dilemma facing the translator 
> from Chinese to English is that the linguistic gap is not between differing 
> naming systems but between different language games — in other words the 
> players can’t agree on the rules of the game they are playing! Although 
> Wittgenstein exhorts us to describe and not explain if we insist on doing 
> proper philosophy, I would suggest that even basic descriptions cannot be 
> completely equivalent across linguistic barriers because of the differing 
> cultural backgrounds that underlie most actual language use. Thus the Chinese 
> person and the English person may both recognize the smiley face as human, 
> but how they view the place of the human within the larger community of 
> humans will no  doubt be very different.
> 
> Then I came across the following passages concerning the nature of  the self  
> from (of all things) a Vedadatabase:  
>> tvam ādyaḥ puruṣaḥ sākṣād
>>  īśvaraḥ prakṛteḥ paraḥ
>> māyāṁ vyudasya cic-chaktyā
>>  kaivalye sthita ātmani
>> Synonyms: 
>> tvam <http://vedabase.com/en/synonyms-index?original=tvam> ādyaḥ 
>> <http://vedabase.com/en/synonyms-index?original=adyah> — You are the 
>> original; puruṣaḥ <http://vedabase.com/en/synonyms-index?original=purusah> — 
>> the enjoying personality; sākṣāt 
>> <http://vedabase.com/en/synonyms-index?original=saksat> — directly; īśvaraḥ 
>> <http://vedabase.com/en/synonyms-index?original=isvarah> — the controller; 
>> prakṛteḥ <http://vedabase.com/en/synonyms-index?original=prakrteh> — of 
>> material nature; paraḥ 
>> <http://vedabase.com/en/synonyms-index?original=parah> — transcendental; 
>> māyām <http://vedabase.com/en/synonyms-index?original=mayam> — the material 
>> energy; vyudasya <http://vedabase.com/en/synonyms-index?original=vyudasya> — 
>> one who has thrown aside; cit 
>> <http://vedabase.com/en/synonyms-index?original=cit>-śaktyā 
>> <http://vedabase.com/en/synonyms-index?original=saktya> — by dint of 
>> internal potency; kaivalye 
>> <http://vedabase.com/en/synonyms-index?original=kaivalye> — in pure eternal 
>> knowledge and bliss; sthitaḥ 
>> <http://vedabase.com/en/synonyms-index?original=sthitah> — placed; ātmani 
>> <http://vedabase.com/en/synonyms-index?original=atmani> — own self.
>> Translation: 
>> You are the original Personality of Godhead who expands Himself all over the 
>> creations and is transcendental to material energy. You have cast away the 
>> effects of the material energy by dint of Your spiritual potency. You are 
>> always situated in eternal bliss and transcendental knowledge.
> 
> I discovered this site from my memory of the Sanskrit word TVAM, which I 
> recalled from my teaching of comparative religions years ago, with reference 
> to a passage where the teacher tells the student to imagine something 
> tangible and substantial, and then imagine dividing it into smaller and 
> smaller pieces. At some point in time the student will reach something which 
> cannot further be divided. That will be the Self. Tat Tvam Asi — That art 
> thou, Sepatuku.
> 
> I freely admit that a non-Indian person can ultimately understand this 
> concept — this gestalt — but I am not sure if this understanding is 
> linguistic, cultural, personal or philosophical. Furthermore, in what way 
> does this understanding effect that person’s way of  thinking and being? Such 
> ideas matter. Does this mean that they are part of the deep structure that 
> Karl mentions re Chomsky’s distinction? For me to move from grammatical 
> surface structure to  grammatical deep structure I  need specific rules to do 
> so and thus be understood. But what about significantly deeper philosophical 
> meaning? How is it communicated? Does it require different additional rules? 
> Or different experiences?
> 
> Steve Bindeman

> On Dec 28, 2016, at 2:44 PM, Karl Javorszky <karl.javors...@gmail.com> wrote:
> 
> Gestalt
> 
>  
> Alex asks to contribute to his writing on Gestalt, based on Vedic teachings 
> relating to how we memorise texts. Not knowing anything about the Vedic part 
> of it, let me summarise what used to be accepted wisdom on Gestalt in 
> psychology: this without any claim to completeness or correctness or other 
> virtues.
> 
> 
> 
> Gestalt is “what makes a whole /to be worth, to have a value/ more than the 
> sum of its parts” (Ehrenfels), we have been taught, and to my knowledge there 
> is no better approach accepted yet. In this respect, Gestalt resembles life, 
> because there is a difference between a dead body and that same organism as a 
> living one, and between a random pattern of pixels black on a screen and the 
> picture of a face, made up by the same number of pixels black. We had learnt 
> that only a living organism can perceive a Gestalt, because it is the active 
> collaboration of constituents that join them together into something 
> recognisable, and this activity comes not from the objects on the scene but 
> is performed by the spectator. So much the teachings of old times. Now with 
> all kinds of recognising software, this approach no more stands. Artificial 
> intelligence machines project, match and detect patterns among pixels or 
> other data points, be they fingerprints, voice recordings or contact habits. 
> They perform the pattern-detection part of peripheral ganglia, including the 
> recognition of Gestalts. Ehrenfels has introduced a logic with some disregard 
> to accepted rules of additivity, causing a deep alienation between psychology 
> and mathematics, the consequences of which we may hopefully help to clean up 
> here in this FIS.
> 
> 
> 
> The ability to look a Gestalt into objects has transformed into the ability 
> of inanimate objects to constitute a Gestalt, which we can or cannot 
> perceive. Are these animistic concepts of the world, where the objects have 
> properties, not we look their properties into them? If the objects, e.g. 
> pixels on a screen, are a Gestalt, constitute momentarily a constellation 
> among them into that what is a Gestalt, then the objects have an immanent 
> property of relations among each other, which is transportable across 
> individuals and species. (The definition of objectivity is that the stimulus 
> causes comparable reactions across individuals and across cultures.) Children 
> and animals react differently to pictures of a circle and of two dots, if 
> these represent the archetype of a face. There appears to exist an immanent 
> property of pixels that the nervous system utilises. In other words: it is a 
> property of a set that it is ordered. There exists the logical category of 
> possible orders, among which some can be realised concurrently. Some of the 
> combinations of the possible orders will be so much more probable than others 
> that they will create a density in a probability space. Coordinates for 
> pixels in forms that resemble a Gestalt of a face with two eyes will exist as 
> a delineated class of possible realisations. The coordinates are the result 
> of superior probabilities of combinations of orders to appear, relative to 
> the other orders that also produce coordinates for pixels, but not so 
> frequently, consistently and reliably. 
> 
> 
> 
> Not only must the nervous system be prepared to recognise a state of the 
> world (something is looking at me) in the circle with two dots in it, but the 
> biological reality must also produce this pattern in abundance. The 
> recognition of the smiley is done by the central nervous system, which 
> operates by means of impulses of -70 mV; these are uniform but place-bound 
> and sequenced in time. As such they resemble N. The production of the head 
> and the eyes is done while the butterfly is still fluid, so the same 
> principle is present also in the humeral fluids of the body. The same Gestalt 
> is produced in two different environments. Producing a smiley in a 
> biochemical factory and perceiving it as an electric pattern means that the 
> idea of a smiley exists, irrespective of how we express it in terms of 
> relations of symbols among each other. We can express the idea of a smiley by 
> means of elements that can be of many kinds and be anywhere; and we can 
> express the same idea also by means of uniform units that have fixed 
> topological positions by being sequenced among each other. The idea of this 
> Gestalt transcends the languages in which it can be said. In linguistic 
> parlance, the idea is a deep structure which exists in differing cultures, 
> each of which give it a differing superficial structure, like the French say 
> chaise to chair. We are again with the classical problem of having an n of N 
> that is to be identified consistently across describing languages, here seen 
> as enumerating systems. 
> 
> 
> 
> The archetype apparently indeed does exist, and it must be of a simple, 
> every-day, almost axiomatic truth. The algorithms that produce the 
> coordinates of a Gestalt are of course some specific of the tautologies that 
> make up the naming system. The necessary tautology can be of no other form 
> but the result of very simple, basic rules that apply as well in fluid 
> environments, as well in solid systems of coordinates. The system of rules 
> that produces tautologies must have hierarchies, where references to a circle 
> and two dots within are more elementary, therefore produce realisations more 
> frequently than the more subtle, which children and animals do not recognise 
> that instinctively. The tautology, and this is what Wittgenstein underlined, 
> is in the grammar of what can be said, and can be of no news itself. 
> Introducing the new grammatical rule that order competition is a logical 
> pastime every bit as legitimate as addition and multiplication, one is 
> permitted to say new sentences in a grammatically correct, legitimate 
> fashion. These sentences may sound strange at first, prove utile with time, 
> but they cannot convey anything new. We have just not realised it so far, but 
> it has always been so and will remain always so, being a meaningless 
> tautology, otherwise known as a Principle of Nature.
> 
> 
> 
> The Aha! experience gives us a good approach to Gestalt. There is a moment of 
> constriction when one realises a Gestalt: after the discovery of its 
> principle (explanation, meaning), the previous puzzle occupies less room. 
> 
> 
> 
> The ancient Vedic gurus were not in a position to come up with an explanation 
> for the Gestalt, because one needs a computer to get an overview of the 
> possible patterns. One does not stumble upon the central element and the two 
> agglomeration points by chance. 
> 
> 
> 
> If any logical relation is possible, then among all possible of them, the 
> simpler are more frequently present. If the idea of Archetype A, circle with 
> two dots in it, is so common that it gets hard-wired in recognition instincts 
> and used as a basic form-giving structuring pattern, then it has something to 
> do with basic truths of logic, like: a+b=c. The basic, fundamental, simple 
> part of the invention could have come from the creators of Zero. They simply 
> did not possess the computing power, but if they had, they would have 
> tabulated, what is where and when, involving into their research also other 
> objects than the stars, in a more general fashion.
> 
> 
> 
> As to the memorising of texts, it appears that a specific pattern of humoral 
> fluids is that what carries the content of the memory. In the same emotional 
> state one has easier access to patterns of excitations that were once 
> present. The theory of “ausgeschliffenen Bahnen” (paths well-trodden) is very 
> old and keeps its credibility, as a general idea. It would be a pleasure to 
> contribute to research into packaging and unpackaging specific excitation 
> patterns and humoral states.
> 
> 
> 
> Wishing you all the best with your project on the theory of thinking in a 
> historic perspective!
> 
> 
> 
> Karl
> 
> 
> 2016-12-24 14:01 GMT+01:00 Alex Hankey <alexhan...@gmail.com 
> <mailto:alexhan...@gmail.com>>:
> RE: "The same situation is here with gravitation. We have a name for
> it, can measure it and integrate the concept - more or less seamlessly
> – into a general explanation. We just do not know, in an
> epistemological sense, what gravitation is. We have to take the
> normative power of the factual seriously and admit that we may have
> problems in the naming of an observed fact. This does not absolve us
> from the task of philosophers, that is, to try to understand and find
> good explanations for the facts that we perceive and to our thoughts
> about the perceptions and the facts.
> 
> Dear Karl,
> 
> I do not quite see how the point you are making here differs from the
> very simple statement that 'we do not know what anything in the
> physical world is' (where the word 'is' is being used in some loosely
> defined Absolute sense). We only know how it interacts and how it
> behaves in given experimental / experiential situations.
> 
> Of course in the case of sugar (sucrose, for example) we know what it
> is as crystals we see, as something we taste, use to sweeten our
> desserts, and our tea / coffee etc., and its chemical structure. I am
> then comfortable with the feeling that I 'know what sugar is'. The
> same applies to a superconductor or a Josephson junction between two
> superconductors.
> 
> In the case of elementary particles, we say that 'a free electron is a
> spin 1/2 representation of the Poincare Group', and this gives it a
> meaning of a slightly more precise kind than sugar. It becomes a
> precisely stated element of mathematics, that I personally equate with
> a kind of 'Platonic Form'.
> 
> Equally in my heart, I feel that I have quite a good idea of what
> 'goodness' is, and I am equally clear that the IS - Daesh members who
> murder innocent victims in Iraq / Syria etc. do not.
> 
> We communicate on a day to day basis taking these things for granted.
> Am I missing something?
> 
> I would sincerely like to know if I am, because I am about to write up
> an account of cognition of gestalts from the perspective of the
> ancient Vedic science of Shiksha concerning the memorization and
> understanding of texts, and I would like to get it as water-tight as
> possible.
> 
> PLEASE comment!!
> 
> Best wishes for Christmas, New Year and the Holiday season,
> 
> Alex
> 
> P.S. You say that 'Wittgenstein begot Frege', but surely Frege was
> completing his work just when Russell discovered his paradox at the
> end of writing the Principia with Whitehead, which Wiki say was
> published, 1910, 1912 and 1913, whereas Wittgenstein wrote his
> Tractatus while a prisoner of war in Italy in 1917-18.
> 
> On 24/12/2016, Karl Javorszky <karl.javors...@gmail.com 
> <mailto:karl.javors...@gmail.com>> wrote:
> > Information and Wittgenstein
> >
> >
> >
> > We should keep the self-evident in focus and refrain from descending into a
> > philosophical nihilism. We are, after all, reasonable people, who are able
> > to use our intelligence while communicating, and usually we understand each
> > other quite well. The idea, that information is just a mental creation,
> > evades the point: conceding that information is only a mental image, then
> > what is that which determines, which amino acid comes to which place and is
> > apparently contained in the sequence of the DNA triplets? If information is
> > just an erroneous concept, then what is that what we receive as we ask at
> > the airport, which gate to go for boarding?
> >
> > No, information does exist and we do use it day by day. Shannon has
> > developed a method of repeatedly bifurcating a portion of N until finding
> > that n of N that corresponds to the same n of which the sender encoded the
> > search pattern for the receiver. The task lies not in negating the
> > existence of the phaenomenon, but in proposing a more elegant and for
> > biology useful explanation of the phaenomenon. The object of the game is
> > still the same: identifying an n of N.
> >
> > The same situation is here with gravitation. We have a name for it, can
> > measure it and integrate the concept - more or less seamlessly – into a
> > general explanation. We just do not know, in an epistemological sense, what
> > gravitation is. We have to take the normative power of the factual
> > seriously and admit that we may have problems in the naming of an observed
> > fact. This does not absolve us from the task of philosophers, that is, to
> > try to understand and find good explanations for the facts that we perceive
> > and to our thoughts about the perceptions and the facts.
> >
> > Adorno summarised the critique on Wittgenstein’s Tractatus, by saying, that
> > W. apparently had not read the job description of a philosopher carefully
> > enough: the task is not to investigate that what can be said exactly about
> > a subject that is well known to all, but the task is to chisel away the
> > border separating that what can be only felt and that what can be expressed
> > understandably. This is the envy speaking of someone who suffered an
> > Oedipus tragedy. Socrates said that the perpetrator of a crime suffers more
> > than the victim, and post-war German philosophy understandably had no time
> > to be interested in rules of exact speech. The grammar of the logical
> > language, as a subject for serious study, was swept aside by historical
> > cataclysms, although Wittgenstein begot Frege and Carnap who begot von
> > Neumann and Boole who begot Shannon and Chomsky. That he in his later life
> > put aside his epoch-generating work is completely in the consequence of
> > what he had said. It is not disowning the ladder one has built to climb up
> > a level of abstraction while doing a cartography of what exact talking
> > really means, but a wise and truthful modesty of an artist who had
> > fabricated a tool for a specific project. No self-respecting artist would
> > want to be remembered for a practical tool he had assembled for a specific
> > task. Roughly citing, he says so much: those who have understood what is
> > written here, may throw [this book] away, like one has no need for a ladder
> > after one has climbed a level. Having found out how the technical people
> > speak (or should speak), he withdraws from that field, having clarified the
> > rules of exact thinking, closing the subject in a conclusive fashion for
> > about 4 generations, and acts in later life as if precognisant of Adorno’s
> > words.
> >
> > Information is a connection of a symbol with a different symbol, if this
> > state of the world can have a background and alternatives. If something can
> > be otherwise, then the information is contained in the enumeration of the
> > cases of being otherwise.
> >
> > By the use of computers, we can now create a whole topography and
> > dramaturgy of exact speech. Had we the creativity of the Greeks, we would
> > write a comedy, performed in public, by actors and narrators. The title
> > could be: “All acting dutifully, striving their right place, catharsia are
> > inevitable”. The best youth of Sparta, Athens etc. would compete for
> > prominent places in diverse disciplines, but the results are not
> > satisfactory, as the debate emerges, which of the disciplines are above the
> > others. The wise people of Attica have come up with a perpetual compromise,
> > its main points repeatedly summarised by the chorus, ruling that being
> > constantly underway between both correct positions: p1 in discipline d1 and
> > position p2 in discipline d2, is the divine sign of a noble character. If
> > every athlete follows the same rule, imagine the traffic jams on the stage
> > of the amphitheatre! The Greeks would have built an elaborate system of
> > philosophy about the predictable collisions among actors representing
> > athletes who have attended many of the concourses. They could have come up
> > with specific names for typical results and would have named the
> > agglomerations “elements” and “isotopes” that differ among each other on
> > how many of the actors are glued together for lack of space to pass
> > through, where too many paths cross, and on the form of the squeeze they
> > constitute. They would no doubt have categorised and sub-classified and
> > tabulated the inevitable melee that comes from having competing
> > requirements to serve, a subject not far from their preoccupations with
> > logic and predictable, consistent, rule observing behaviour by all, that by
> > its very nature creates cooperation and conflict, destruction and growth.
> >
> > As long as the background and the alternatives to the statements, that
> > describe what is the case, are conceptually discouraged or disallowed, it
> > appears not very easy to use the term “information” in a consistent
> > fashion. Information describes that what is not the case. (The DNA
> > eliminates all the alternatives to that specific amino acid on that
> > specific place; we have received information by knowing all those gates
> > where we will not board the plane.)
> >
> >
> >
> > Thank you for this enjoyable year.
> >
> > Karl
> >
> >
> >
> > 2016-12-24 2 <tel:2016-12-24%202>:39 GMT+01:00 Louis H Kauffman 
> > <kauff...@uic.edu <mailto:kauff...@uic.edu>>:
> >
> >> Dear Steve,
> >> You write
> >> "But in later years he eventually recognized that the possibility of
> >> relating propositions in language to facts concerning the world could not
> >> in itself be proved. Without proof, the house of cards collapses. Once
> >> the
> >> validity of using language to describe the world ini a rigorous and
> >> unambiguous way is questioned, not much is left.”
> >>
> >> I do not think that the issue of proof was foremost for Wittgenstein.
> >> Rather, he later understood that a pure mirroring of language and world
> >> was
> >> untenable and worked directly with language and its use to show how
> >> complex
> >> was the actuality. The result is that one can still read the Tractatus
> >> meaningfully, knowing that it states and discusses an ideal of (formal)
> >> language and a view of the world so created that is necessarily limited.
> >> Indeed the later Wittgenstein and the Tractatus come together at the
> >> point
> >> of the Tractatus showing how meagre is that ‘that can be said’ from its
> >> mirrored and logical point of view.
> >> The Tractatus indicates its own incompleteness, and in do doing
> >> invalidates its use by the logical positivists as a model for the
> >> performance of science. It was in this background that (through Goedel)
> >> the
> >> Incompleteness Theorem arose in the midst of the Vienna Circle. And here
> >> we
> >> are in a world generated by formal computer languages, facing the
> >> uncertainties of models that are sensitive enough (as in economics and
> >> social science) to cross the boundary and affect what is to be modeled.
> >> Best,
> >> Lou Kauffman
> >>
> >> On Dec 23, 2016, at 11:27 AM, steven bindeman <bindem...@verizon.net 
> >> <mailto:bindem...@verizon.net>>
> >> wrote:
> >>
> >> I would like to contribute to the current ongoing discussion regarding
> >> the
> >> relation between information and meaning. I agree with Dai Griffiths and
> >> others that the term information is a problematic construction. Since it
> >> is
> >> often used as an example of fitting the details of a specific worldly
> >> situation into a linguistic  form that can be processed by a computer,
> >> this
> >> fact in itself introduces various distortions from the reality that is
> >> being represented.  The degree of distortion might even be an example of
> >> the degree of uncertainty.
> >>
> >> I believe that reference to the early work of Wittgenstein might be of
> >> use
> >> in this context, especially since his work in his Tractatus text on
> >> problems related to logical atomism influenced the design of the von
> >> Neumann computer, led to the creation of the Vienna Circle group and
> >> later
> >> inspired the philosophical movement of logical positivism. Alan Turing
> >> was
> >> also one of his students.
> >>
> >> In this early work Wittgenstein had believed that a formal theory of
> >> language could be developed, capable of showing how propositions can
> >> succeed in representing real states of affairs and in serving the
> >> purposes
> >> of real life. He believed that language is like a picture which is laid
> >> against reality like a measuring rod and reaches right out to it. But in
> >> later years he eventually recognized that the possibility of relating
> >> propositions in language to facts concerning the world could not in
> >> itself
> >> be proved. Without proof, the house of cards collapses. Once the validity
> >> of using language to describe the world ini a rigorous and unambiguous
> >> way
> >> is questioned, not much is left. Although propositions are indeed capable
> >> of modeling and describing the world with a rigor not unlike that of
> >> mathematical representations of physical phenomena, they cannot
> >> themselves
> >> describe how they represent this world without becoming self-referential.
> >> Propositions are consequently essentially meaningless, since their
> >> meaning
> >> consists precisely in their ability to connect with the world outside of
> >> language. A perfect language mirrors a  perfect world, but  since the
> >> latter is nothing more than a chimera so is the former.
> >>
> >> Here are some quotes (taken out of their original contexts) from
> >> Wittgenstein’s Tractatus that I believe are relevant to the discussion on
> >> information and meaning:
> >>
> >> The facts in logical space are the world. What is the case — a fact— is
> >> the existence of states of affairs.  A state of affairs (a state of
> >> things)
> >> is a combination of objects (things). It is essential to things that they
> >> should be possible constituents of states of affairs. If I know an object
> >> I
> >> also know all its possible occurrences in states of affairs.  Objects
> >> contain the possibility of all situations. The configuration of objects
> >> produces states of affairs. The totality of existing states of affairs is
> >> the world. The existence and non-existence of states of affairs is
> >> reality.
> >> States of affairs are independent of one another.  A picture is a model
> >> of
> >> reality. A picture is a fact.  Logical pictures can depict the world. A
> >> picture depicts reality by representing a possibility of existence and
> >> non-existence of states of affairs. Situations can be described but not
> >> given names. (Names are like points; propositions like arrows — they have
> >> sense.)  Only propositions have sense; only in the nexus of a proposition
> >> does  a name have meaning.
> >>
> >> Finally, with regards to the problems about information, I would add that
> >> Alfred Korzybski (and later Marshall McLuhan) once wrote that “the map is
> >> not the territory.” The map is merely a picture of something that it
> >> represents. Increasing the amount of information may reduce the
> >> granularity
> >> of the picture, but it remains a picture. This means that accumulation
> >> greater and greater amounts of information can never completely replace
> >> or
> >> represent the infinite complexity of any real-lilfe situation — and this
> >> is
> >> an insight that Wittgenstein realized only in his later philosophical
> >> work.
> >>
> >> Steve Bindeman
> >>
> >>
> >> On Dec 22, 2016, at 7:37 AM, fis-requ...@listas.unizar.es 
> >> <mailto:fis-requ...@listas.unizar.es> wrote:
> >>
> >> Send Fis mailing list submissions to
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> >> Today's Topics:
> >>
> >>   1. Re: What is information? and What is life? (Dai Griffiths)
> >>
> >>
> >> ----------------------------------------------------------------------
> >>
> >> Message: 1
> >> Date: Wed, 21 Dec 2016 12:44:59 +0000
> >> From: Dai Griffiths <dai.griffith...@gmail.com 
> >> <mailto:dai.griffith...@gmail.com>>
> >> To: fis@listas.unizar.es <mailto:fis@listas.unizar.es>
> >> Subject: Re: [Fis] What is information? and What is life?
> >> Message-ID: <dbbfa511-b4e1-79b5-f800-bad1c231b...@gmail.com 
> >> <mailto:dbbfa511-b4e1-79b5-f800-bad1c231b...@gmail.com>>
> >> Content-Type: text/plain; charset="utf-8"; Format="flowed"
> >>
> >> Information is not ?something out there? which ?exists? otherwise
> >>
> >> than as our construct.
> >>
> >> I agree with this. And I wonder to what extent our problems in
> >> discussing information come from our desire to shoe-horn many different
> >> phenomena into the same construct. It would be possible to disaggregate
> >> the construct. It be possible to discuss the topics which we address on
> >> this list without using the word 'information'. We could discuss
> >> redundancy, variety, constraint, meaning, structural coupling,
> >> coordination, expectation, language, etc.
> >>
> >> In what ways would our explanations be weakened?
> >>
> >> In what ways might we gain in clarity?
> >>
> >> If we were to go down this road, we would face the danger that our
> >> discussions might become (even more) remote from everyday human
> >> experience. But many scientific discussions are remote from everyday
> >> human experience.
> >>
> >> Dai
> >>
> >> On 20/12/16 08:26, Loet Leydesdorff wrote:
> >>
> >>
> >> Dear colleagues,
> >>
> >> A distribution contains uncertainty that can be measured in terms of
> >> bits of information.
> >>
> >> Alternatively: the expected information content /H /of a probability
> >> distribution is .
> >>
> >> /H/is further defined as probabilistic entropy using Gibb?s
> >> formulation of the entropy .
> >>
> >> This definition of information is an operational definition. In my
> >> opinion, we do not need an essentialistic definition by answering the
> >> question of ?what is information?? As the discussion on this list
> >> demonstrates, one does not easily agree on an essential answer; one
> >> can answer the question ?how is information defined?? Information is
> >> not ?something out there? which ?exists? otherwise than as our construct.
> >>
> >> Using essentialistic definitions, the discussion tends not to move
> >> forward. For example, Stuart Kauffman?s and Bob Logan?s (2007)
> >> definition of information ?as natural selection assembling the very
> >> constraints on the release of energy that then constitutes work and
> >> the propagation of organization.? I asked several times what this
> >> means and how one can measure this information. Hitherto, I only
> >> obtained the answer that colleagues who disagree with me will be
> >> cited. JAnother answer was that ?counting? may lead to populism. J
> >>
> >> Best,
> >>
> >> Loet
> >>
> >> ------------------------------------------------------------------------
> >>
> >> Loet Leydesdorff
> >>
> >> Professor, University of Amsterdam
> >> Amsterdam School of Communication Research (ASCoR)
> >>
> >> l...@leydesdorff.net <mailto:l...@leydesdorff.net> 
> >> <mailto:l...@leydesdorff.net <mailto:l...@leydesdorff.net>>;
> >> http://www.leydesdorff.net/ <http://www.leydesdorff.net/>
> >> Associate Faculty, SPRU, <http://www.sussex.ac.uk/spru/ 
> >> <http://www.sussex.ac.uk/spru/>>University of
> >> Sussex;
> >>
> >> Guest Professor Zhejiang Univ. <http://www.zju.edu.cn/english/ 
> >> <http://www.zju.edu.cn/english/>>,
> >> Hangzhou; Visiting Professor, ISTIC,
> >> <http://www.istic.ac.cn/Eng/brief_en.html 
> >> <http://www.istic.ac.cn/Eng/brief_en.html>>Beijing;
> >>
> >> Visiting Professor, Birkbeck <http://www.bbk.ac.uk/ 
> >> <http://www.bbk.ac.uk/>>, University of
> >> London;
> >>
> >> http://scholar.google.com/citations?user=ych9gNYAAAAJ&hl=en 
> >> <http://scholar.google.com/citations?user=ych9gNYAAAAJ&hl=en>
> >>
> >> *From:*Dick Stoute [mailto:dick.sto...@gmail.com 
> >> <mailto:dick.sto...@gmail.com>]
> >> *Sent:* Monday, December 19, 2016 12:48 PM
> >> *To:* l...@leydesdorff.net <mailto:l...@leydesdorff.net>
> >> *Cc:* James Peters; u...@umces.edu <mailto:u...@umces.edu>; Alex Hankey; 
> >> FIS Webinar
> >> *Subject:* Re: [Fis] What is information? and What is life?
> >>
> >> List,
> >>
> >> Please allow me to respond to Loet about the definition of information
> >> stated below.
> >>
> >> 1. the definition of information as uncertainty is counter-intuitive
> >> ("bizarre"); (p. 27)
> >>
> >> I agree.  I struggled with this definition for a long time before
> >> realising that Shannon was really discussing "amount of information"
> >> or the number of bits needed to convey a message.  He was looking for
> >> a formula that would provide an accurate estimate of the number of
> >> bits needed to convey a message and realised that the amount of
> >> information (number of bits) needed to convey a message was dependent
> >> on the "amount" of uncertainty that had to be eliminated and so he
> >> equated these.
> >>
> >> It makes sense to do this, but we must distinguish between "amount of
> >> information" and "information".  For example, we can measure amount of
> >> water in liters, but this does not tell us what water is and likewise
> >> the measure we use for "amount of information" does not tell us what
> >> information is. We can, for example equate the amount of water needed
> >> to fill a container with the volume of the container, but we should
> >> not think that water is therefore identical to an empty volume.
> >> Similarly we should not think that information is identical to
> >> uncertainty.
> >>
> >> By equating the number of bits needed to convey a message with the
> >> "amount of uncertainty" that has to be eliminated Shannon, in effect,
> >> equated opposites so that he could get an estimate of the number of
> >> bits needed to eliminate the uncertainty.  We should not therefore
> >> consider that this equation establishes what information is.
> >>
> >> Dick
> >>
> >> On 18 December 2016 at 15:05, Loet Leydesdorff <l...@leydesdorff.net 
> >> <mailto:l...@leydesdorff.net>
> >> <mailto:l...@leydesdorff.net <mailto:l...@leydesdorff.net>>> wrote:
> >>
> >> Dear James and colleagues,
> >>
> >> Weaver (1949) made two major remarks about his coauthor (Shannon)'s
> >> contribution:
> >>
> >> 1. the definition of information as uncertainty is counter-intuitive
> >> ("bizarre"); (p. 27)
> >>
> >> 2. "In particular, information must not be confused with meaning." (p. 8)
> >>
> >> The definition of information as relevant for a system of reference
> >> confuses information with "meaningful information" and thus sacrifices
> >> the surplus value of Shannon's counter-intuitive definition.
> >>
> >> information observer
> >>
> >> that integrates interactive processes such as
> >>
> >> physical interactions such photons stimulating the retina of the eye,
> >> human-machine interactions (this is the level that Shannon lives on),
> >> biological interaction such body temperature relative to touch ice or
> >> heat source, social interaction such as this forum started by Pedro,
> >> economic interaction such as the stock market, ... [Lerner, page 1].
> >>
> >> We are in need of a theory of meaning. Otherwise, one cannot measure
> >> meaningful information. In a previous series of communications we
> >> discussed redundancy from this perspective.
> >>
> >> Lerner introduces mathematical expectation E[Sap] (difference between
> >> of a priory entropy [sic] and a posteriori entropy), which is
> >> distinguished from the notion of relative information Iap (Learner,
> >> page 7).
> >>
> >> ) expresses in bits of information the information generated when the
> >> a priori distribution is turned into the a posteriori one . This
> >> follows within the Shannon framework without needing an observer. I
> >> use this equation, for example, in my 1995-book /The Challenge of
> >> Scientometrics/ (Chapters 8 and 9), with a reference to Theil (1972).
> >> The relative information is defined as the /H///H/(max).
> >>
> >> I agree that the intuitive notion of information is derived from the
> >> Latin ?in-formare? (Varela, 1979). But most of us do no longer use
> >> ?force? and ?mass? in the intuitive (Aristotelian) sense. JThe
> >> proliferation of the meanings of information if confused with
> >> ?meaningful information? is indicative for an ?index sui et falsi?, in
> >> my opinion. The repetitive discussion lames the progression at this
> >> list. It is ?like asking whether a glass is half empty or half full?
> >> (Hayles, 1990, p. 59).
> >>
> >> This act of forming forming an information process results in the
> >> construction of an observer that is the owner [holder] of information.
> >>
> >> The system of reference is then no longer the message, but the
> >> observer who provides meaning to the information (uncertainty). I
> >> agree that this is a selection process, but the variation first has to
> >> be specified independently (before it can be selected.
> >>
> >> And Lerner introduces the threshold between objective and subjective
> >> observes (page 27).   This leads to a consideration selection and
> >> cooperation that includes entanglement.
> >>
> >> I don?t see a direct relation between information and entanglement. An
> >> observer can be entangled.
> >>
> >> Best,
> >>
> >> Loet
> >>
> >> PS. Pedro: Let me assume that this is my second posting in the week
> >> which ends tonight. L.
> >>
> >>
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> >>
> >>
> >>
> >> --
> >>
> >>
> >> 4 Austin Dr. Prior Park St. James, Barbados BB23004
> >> Tel:   246-421-8855
> >> Cell:  246-243-5938
> >>
> >>
> >>
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> >>
> >> --
> >> -----------------------------------------
> >>
> >> Professor David (Dai) Griffiths
> >> Professor of Education
> >> School of Education and Psychology
> >> The University of Bolton
> >> Deane Road
> >> Bolton, BL3 5AB
> >>
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> >>
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> >> ------------------------------
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> >> End of Fis Digest, Vol 33, Issue 41
> >> ***********************************
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> 
> --
> Alex Hankey M.A. (Cantab.) PhD (M.I.T.)
> Distinguished Professor of Yoga and Physical Science,
> SVYASA, Eknath Bhavan, 19 Gavipuram Circle
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> 
> 2015 JPBMB Special Issue on Integral Biomathics: Life Sciences, Mathematics
> and Phenomenological Philosophy
> <http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/journal/00796107/119/3 
> <http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/journal/00796107/119/3>>
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