Dear all,

I am in agreement with Joseph's suggestion that our discussions of the
foundations of information could be understood as pre-science. Efforts such
as the list of principles proposed by Pedro offer a useful focus of
discussion for working toward a more solid "foundation" precisely because
it helps elicits responses that exemplify the fault lines in our community.
These are not merely points of disagreement but also theoretical boundaries
that need to be clearly identified if we want to seriously map this still
ambiguous conceptual territory. Claims that this issue has been settled or
that there are irresolvable issues involved or that the whole conceptual
territory is useless are unhelpful. We just need to get explicit about our
differences and what motivates them.

On Mon, Oct 2, 2017 at 1:45 AM, Joseph Brenner <>

> 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; information as a
> physical *reality* and a non-physical *appearance*.
> I look forward with great interest to the lines of development of this
> thread.
> Best wishes,
> Joseph
> ----- Original Message -----
> *From:* Pedro C. Marijuan <>
> *To:* 'fis' <>
> *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
> 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 <+34%20976%2071%2035%2026> (& 
> 6818)pcmarijuan.iacs@aragon.es
> -------------------------------------------------
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Professor Terrence W. Deacon
University of California, Berkeley
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