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 > >> email@example.com <mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org> > >> > >> To subscribe or unsubscribe via the World Wide Web, visit > >> http://listas.unizar.es/cgi-bin/mailman/listinfo/fis > >> <http://listas.unizar.es/cgi-bin/mailman/listinfo/fis> > >> or, via email, send a message with subject or body 'help' to > >> fis-requ...@listas.unizar.es <mailto:fis-requ...@listas.unizar.es> > >> > >> You can reach the person managing the list at > >> fis-ow...@listas.unizar.es <mailto:fis-ow...@listas.unizar.es> > >> > >> When replying, please edit your Subject line so it is more specific > >> than "Re: Contents of Fis digest..." > >> > >> > >> 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: email@example.com <mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org> > >> 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. > >> > >> > >> _______________________________________________ > >> Fis mailing list > >> Fis@listas.unizar.es <mailto:Fis@listas.unizar.es> > >> <mailto:Fis@listas.unizar.es <mailto:Fis@listas.unizar.es>> > >> http://listas.unizar.es/cgi-bin/mailman/listinfo/fis > >> <http://listas.unizar.es/cgi-bin/mailman/listinfo/fis> > >> > >> > >> > >> -- > >> > >> > >> 4 Austin Dr. Prior Park St. James, Barbados BB23004 > >> Tel: 246-421-8855 > >> Cell: 246-243-5938 > >> > >> > >> > >> _______________________________________________ > >> Fis mailing list > >> Fis@listas.unizar.es <mailto:Fis@listas.unizar.es> > >> http://listas.unizar.es/cgi-bin/mailman/listinfo/fis > >> <http://listas.unizar.es/cgi-bin/mailman/listinfo/fis> > >> > >> > >> -- > >> ----------------------------------------- > >> > >> Professor David (Dai) Griffiths > >> Professor of Education > >> School of Education and Psychology > >> The University of Bolton > >> Deane Road > >> Bolton, BL3 5AB > >> > >> Office: T3 02 > >> http://www.bolton.ac.uk/IEC <http://www.bolton.ac.uk/IEC> > >> > >> SKYPE: daigriffiths > >> UK Mobile +44 (0)7491151559 <tel:%2B44%20%280%297491151559> > >> <+44%207491%20151559> > >> Spanish Mobile: + 34 687955912 <tel:%2B%2034%20687955912> > >> <+34%20687%2095%2059%2012> > >> Work: + 44 (0)7826917705 <tel:%2B%2044%20%280%297826917705> > >> <+44%207826%20917705> > >> (Please don't leave voicemail) > >> email: > >> d.e.griffi...@bolton.ac.uk <mailto:d.e.griffi...@bolton.ac.uk> > >> dai.griffith...@gmail.com <mailto:dai.griffith...@gmail.com> > >> > >> -------------- next part -------------- > >> An HTML attachment was scrubbed... > >> URL: <http://listas.unizar.es/pipermail/fis/attachments/ > >> <http://listas.unizar.es/pipermail/fis/attachments/> > >> 20161221/39481ed0/attachment.html> > >> -------------- next part -------------- > >> A non-text attachment was scrubbed... > >> Name: not available > >> Type: image/png > >> Size: 497 bytes > >> Desc: not available > >> URL: <http://listas.unizar.es/pipermail/fis/attachments/ > >> <http://listas.unizar.es/pipermail/fis/attachments/> > >> 20161221/39481ed0/attachment.png> > >> -------------- next part -------------- > >> A non-text attachment was scrubbed... > >> Name: not available > >> Type: image/png > >> Size: 829 bytes > >> Desc: not available > >> URL: <http://listas.unizar.es/pipermail/fis/attachments/ > >> <http://listas.unizar.es/pipermail/fis/attachments/> > >> 20161221/39481ed0/attachment-0001.png> > >> -------------- next part -------------- > >> A non-text attachment was scrubbed... > >> Name: not available > >> Type: image/png > >> Size: 560 bytes > >> Desc: not available > >> URL: <http://listas.unizar.es/pipermail/fis/attachments/ > >> <http://listas.unizar.es/pipermail/fis/attachments/> > >> 20161221/39481ed0/attachment-0002.png> > >> -------------- next part -------------- > >> A non-text attachment was scrubbed... > >> Name: not available > >> Type: image/png > >> Size: 975 bytes > >> Desc: not available > >> URL: <http://listas.unizar.es/pipermail/fis/attachments/ > >> <http://listas.unizar.es/pipermail/fis/attachments/> > >> 20161221/39481ed0/attachment-0003.png> > >> -------------- next part -------------- > >> A non-text attachment was scrubbed... > >> Name: not available > >> Type: image/png > >> Size: 497 bytes > >> Desc: not available > >> URL: <http://listas.unizar.es/pipermail/fis/attachments/ > >> <http://listas.unizar.es/pipermail/fis/attachments/> > >> 20161221/39481ed0/attachment-0004.png> > >> -------------- next part -------------- > >> A non-text attachment was scrubbed... > >> Name: not available > >> Type: image/png > >> Size: 495 bytes > >> Desc: not available > >> URL: <http://listas.unizar.es/pipermail/fis/attachments/ > >> <http://listas.unizar.es/pipermail/fis/attachments/> > >> 20161221/39481ed0/attachment-0005.png> > >> > >> ------------------------------ > >> > >> Subject: Digest Footer > >> > >> _______________________________________________ > >> Fis mailing list > >> Fis@listas.unizar.es <mailto:Fis@listas.unizar.es> > >> http://listas.unizar.es/cgi-bin/mailman/listinfo/fis > >> <http://listas.unizar.es/cgi-bin/mailman/listinfo/fis> > >> > >> > >> ------------------------------ > >> > >> End of Fis Digest, Vol 33, Issue 41 > >> *********************************** > >> > >> > >> _______________________________________________ > >> Fis mailing list > >> Fis@listas.unizar.es <mailto:Fis@listas.unizar.es> > >> http://listas.unizar.es/cgi-bin/mailman/listinfo/fis > >> <http://listas.unizar.es/cgi-bin/mailman/listinfo/fis> > >> > >> > >> > >> _______________________________________________ > >> Fis mailing list > >> Fis@listas.unizar.es <mailto:Fis@listas.unizar.es> > >> http://listas.unizar.es/cgi-bin/mailman/listinfo/fis > >> <http://listas.unizar.es/cgi-bin/mailman/listinfo/fis> > >> > >> > > > > > -- > Alex Hankey M.A. (Cantab.) PhD (M.I.T.) > Distinguished Professor of Yoga and Physical Science, > SVYASA, Eknath Bhavan, 19 Gavipuram Circle > Bangalore 560019, Karnataka, India > Mobile (Intn'l): +44 7710 534195 <tel:%2B44%207710%20534195> > Mobile (India) +91 900 800 8789 <tel:%2B91%20900%20800%208789> > ____________________________________________________________ > > 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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