Dear Joseph, Pedro and FISers,
On 02 Oct 2017, at 10:45, Joseph Brenner wrote:
Dear Pedro, Dear FISers,
In the 2 weeks I have been away, an excellent discussion has self-
organized as Pedro noted. Any preliminary comments and criticisms of
Pedro’s 10 Principles I could make now can refer to this. I would
have said first that Pedro is to be thanked for this construction.
Preparing a list of principles involves defining not only the
content but also the number, order and relation between the entries.
Zou, Stan and Ted in particular have recognized the existence of the
list as such and the work involved.
My own view is that we are all currently involved in reworking the
Foundations of Information Science. These Foundations are not
themselves science, but they look forward to the increased
understanding of Information Science as Terry suggests. I propose
the term “Pre-Science” for this process activity, a pun on the word
‘prescience’ whose normal definition is foreknowledge or foresight.
The people who tend to make mistakes in this effort will be those
who claim that any simple concept or set of concepts can do the job
itself, supported by claims to authorities such as Peirce. Sets of
principles, on the other hand, are tools more difficult to use but
they permit directed consideration of several perspectives at the
Principles are the basis for an interpretation of what is in the
physical and biological processes that are the proper subjects for
non-computational Information Science, without – yet – providing any
explanations. Now this is a lot more philosophical that may have
been expected when the discussion started. However, today, unlike
when Pedro and his colleagues started out, we have the Philosophy of
Information of Luciano Floridi and Wu Kun to work with, as well as
my logic. I am surprised that no-one has yet referred to Floridi or
Going back over the postings to-date, I have noted a few which seem
constitutive of a ‘Pre-Science’ of Information: Emmanuel’s
‘duality’, Stan’s hierarchies; Michel Godron’s and John Torday’s
bridges to biology, Pedro’s reworking of communication, etc. I will
resist comments that the concepts of Pre-Science are to be thrown
out as part of non-science or ‘just’ philosophy. As Koichiro clearly
said on 20.09, information can, and in my view is already, bringing
in something new empirically to questions of space and time. In the
Pre-Science of Information, ideally, it should be possible to retain
mechanism and materialism or realism; computationalism and non- or
It is hardly possible to retain digital mechanism (computationalism)
and materialism at the ontological level. But we keep them at the
phenomenological level, and this makes it more solid, somehow, and yet
quasi-vaccinated against reductionism.
That might not concern you, except by being neutral on mechanism.
Mechanism is not much a question of truth than of right. The eventual
question will be "do you accept that your daughter or son marries
someone who get an accident but survived with an artificial digital
People must keep distinct the idea that we are this or that machine,
(the metaphor use) with the idea that we have a description level at
which a universal machine can emulate us. I have shown that Mechanism
makes the physical reality, and consciousness, essentially non
computable things, and that all machines eventually can understand why
it has to be like that IF they are correct (or consistent) machines.
If we are machine, we cannot know which machine we are, and the
physical becomes a sort of statistics on machine's "dreams" ("dreams"
are computations seen from inside, defined using recursion theoretical
method (alas rarely known).
information as a physical reality and a non-physicalappearance.
Why not "information as mental reality" and a physical appearance? (We
might come back on this, but I don't think there are any evidence for
a primitive physical reality, even without computatiionalism. Indeed
my woprk consists ins showing how the obsevre this and get evidence
for primitive matter or matter evolving from "machine's dream").
So I don't know. I agree with Pedro that we should clarify our
relation with respect to Plato and Aristotle, or just be clear on what
we are willing to assume at the start. What follows are just some
remarks around this.
Information has third person aspects, like with Shannon theorem, and
first person, subjective, aspects, like meaning. Here mathematical
logic has a lot to say. I know better the semantic of Tarski and
Kripke than the semiotic of Peirce, but it seems to me that some
relation could be made, and could be related with the intensional/
extensional semantics of computer programs and formal belief systems.
In this context category theory might be helpful to build bridges.
With mechanism, assuming the substitution level high, so that we have
artificial digital brain, we can change our body for a new one every
morning. We can save "our soul" on a disk, and we can upload ourself
on the web. In that sense, we are number which moves itself, to use a
sentence attributed to Xenocrates and Pythagoras. Then, we use the
best body relatively to the local environment. If you visit the ring
of Saturn, I suggest the body with eight arms and legs, which is very
useful there :). The (serious) point is that what makes myself is,
relatively to a universal machine, some classical bits of information
(or quantum one, but that does not really change the matter, although
this is rather long to explain).
Number are typically immaterial, and I am not sure why you want that
information should be physical. Nor exactly what would that mean. With
digital mechanism, the physical is one mode of the way the universal
machine can look at itself via the arithmetical reality. The universal
digital machine is the one transforming words in "dreams",
Only a tiny part of the arithmetical truth is computable, but the
"destiny" of the machines are related to that truth, that no machine
can actually defined (but they can know that very fact).
I look forward with great interest to the lines of development of
It seems to me that you have jumped from the terrestrial concerns, how
to handle in practice the information today, with metaphysical
position, which is interesting and awake my interest. But with
mechanism, there is a sort of conflict between the search of truth,
and the applications. Somehow, the "theology" (truth) of the machine
warns the machine that all general theories can only fail, that all
named "god" hides other god. Indeed, the universal machine can know
that introspection lead to a transfinite of surprises.
Quantum information is, I think, a physical notion of information, but
with mechanism, it seems that the difference between the quantum and
classical is related with what we can see "below" and "above" our
substitution level. A quantum computer is a computer which exploits
our intrinsic ignorance about the (infinitely many) computations that
support us (still in arithmetic!).
My study might help, or not. It might help to cure the fear of
reductionism in the sense that the universal machine, once "rich
enough" (Löbian, "believes" in induction axioms) can literally refute
all complete reductionist about itself. Post, Kleene, Benacerraf, and
Judson Web have foreseen this.
To me "information" is a bit ambiguous, as it is either a measure of
surprise (Shannon, or the quantum version) or how the universal Turing
machine interpret it (meaning, truth, knowledge). This one can be
contextualized in a variate ways depending on the local goal.
I might come back on Pedro list later.
----- Original Message -----
From: Pedro C. Marijuan
Sent: Friday, September 15, 2017 2:13 PM
Subject: [Fis] PRINCIPLES OF IS
Dear FIS Colleagues,
As promised herewith the "10 principles of information science". A
couple of previous comments may be in order.
First, what is in general the role of principles in science? I was
motivated by the unfinished work of philosopher Ortega y Gasset,
"The idea of principle in Leibniz and the evolution of deductive
theory" (posthumously published in 1958). Our tentative information
science seems to be very different from other sciences, rather
multifarious in appearance and concepts, and cavalierly moving from
scale to scale. What could be the specific role of principles
herein? Rather than opening homogeneous realms for conceptual
development, these information principles would appear as a sort of
"portals" that connect with essential topics of other disciplines in
the different organization layers, but at the same time they should
try to be consistent with each other and provide a coherent vision
of the information world.
And second, about organizing the present discussion, I bet I was too
optimistic with the commentators scheme. In any case, for having a
first glance on the whole scheme, the opinions of philosophers would
be very interesting. In order to warm up the discussion, may I ask
John Collier, Joseph Brenner and Rafael Capurro to send some initial
comments / criticisms? Later on, if the commentators idea flies,
Koichiro Matsuno and Wolfgang Hofkirchner would be very valuable
voices to put a perspectival end to this info principles discussion
(both attended the Madrid bygone FIS 1994 conference)...
But this is FIS list, unpredictable in between the frozen states and
the chaotic states! So, everybody is invited to get ahead at his
own, with the only customary limitation of two messages per week.
Best wishes, have a good weekend --Pedro
10 PRINCIPLES OF INFORMATION SCIENCE
1. Information is information, neither matter nor energy.
2. Information is comprehended into structures, patterns, messages,
3. Information can be recognized, can be measured, and can be
processed (either computationally or non-computationally).
4. Information flows are essential organizers of life's self-
production processes--anticipating, shaping, and mixing up with the
accompanying energy flows.
5. Communication/information exchanges among adaptive life-cycles
underlie the complexity of biological organizations at all scales.
6. It is symbolic language what conveys the essential communication
exchanges of the human species--and constitutes the core of its
7. Human information may be systematically converted into efficient
knowledge, by following the "knowledge instinct" and further up by
applying rigorous methodologies.
8. Human cognitive limitations on knowledge accumulation are
partially overcome via the social organization of "knowledge
9. Knowledge circulates and recombines socially, in a continuous
actualization that involves "creative destruction" of fields and
disciplines: the intellectual Ars Magna.
10. Information science proposes a new, radical vision on the
information and knowledge flows that support individual lives, with
profound consequences for scientific-philosophical practice and for
Pedro C. Marijuán
Grupo de Bioinformación / Bioinformation Group
Instituto Aragonés de Ciencias de la Salud
Centro de Investigación Biomédica de Aragón (CIBA)
Avda. San Juan Bosco, 13, planta 0
50009 Zaragoza, Spain
Tfno. +34 976 71 3526 (& 6818)
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