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 same time.

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 Wu.

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 natural computationalism;

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 brain.

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", implementing computations.

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 this thread.

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.

Best regards,


----- Original Message -----
From: Pedro C. Marijuan
To: 'fis'
Sent: Friday, September 15, 2017 2:13 PM

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


1. Information is information, neither matter nor energy.

2. Information is comprehended into structures, patterns, messages, or flows.

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 "social nature."

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 ecologies."

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 social governance.

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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