Dear Colleagues,

In all humility, I have asked why a non-standard logic of processes might not 
transcend our specializations as part of the 'provisional solution'. I would 
still hope to get a response to my question in this cosmic cycle . . .

If we look at Terry's note of October 25, we can see two concepts very relevant 
to the nature of information: 1) degrees of normative displacement; 2) using 
complex numbers. There is here, already, an implied non-standard logic. In his 
Genetics and the Logic of Evolution, Kenneth Weiss writes: "If we think of 
(biological) processes in terms of their logic, it is the interaction of the 
entities that is the process and, in a sense, not the entities themselves."

Building on this, I feel one needs to change in general the standard language 
inherited from mathematics toward a new language of process: not incessant 
oscillation but spiralling, starting and stopping, and even reversing 
direction. One way, for example, to look at process is as a 'meta-analysis' 
operating in reality! (Terry's last five lines go back from ontology to 
epsitemology, but this is OK here. The proximity suggests the lack of total 

Pedro, your use of zeros or absences as 'pre-science' is in my view absolutely 
part of the language/logic under construction. But it is not necessary to fill 
them in until they are 'full', finished and inert. Let us accept and value the 
process of filling, incomplete and contradictory as it is, as essential. As I 
have said previously, scientific rigor cannot be sacrificed in this 'process', 
but we must accept that it may be more, not less, difficult to maintain.

Best wishes,


  ----- Original Message ----- 
  From: Pedro C. Marijuan 
  To: Loet Leydesdorff ; 'fis' 
  Sent: Friday, October 27, 2017 12:48 PM
  Subject: Re: [Fis] The two very important operations of Infos

  Dear Loet and colleagues,

  One of the advantages of a new discipline is the simplification of discourse, 
the creation of a new space where you can easily build new knowledge without 
copious management of other unnecessary, circumstantial ideas. I have already 
quoted in this list the famous quotation by Whitehead about the "mental 
liberation" in arithmetic that implied the use of zero. Something similar may 
happen nowadays concerning the wide reaching domains of information. But I see 
two problems about delineating the "information zero". 
  One, that life is not incorporated yet as the starting point of communication 
(I do not mean "biology"--rather it is each one's biography, historically and 
evolutionarily augmented/contemplated). At the end, every living agent 
"communicates" with other living agents, and the available tools to do that are 
signals that mean "portions" of its own life-cycle. We humans have shared 
sensorimotor tools that provide the common ground for our communication, for 
exporting those missing portions or needs in our lives. Formalizing the life 
cycle is quite problematic, however. 
  And the second "zero" concerns the need to constitute a new informational 
observer, endowed with the general mental characteristics required for 
information science. The observer of physics, chemistry, etc., is well equipped 
and we assume that his/her mind is properly "charged" with the corresponding 
principles, theories, experiences, etc. But in the case of info science, the 
topic matter is open-ended. What is the "charge" of this new observer? 
Depending on our specializations, we equip this observer with our preferred 
approach; so our unending back and forth. But many other knowledge bodies (or 
at least the 4-5 basic disciplines that Xueshan was commenting) may be needed 
to make sense of that particular informational/communicational phenomenon in 
cells, organisms, people, disciplines, enterprises, countries... If we accept 
this "ecumenical" contemplation of information science, how can that 
multi-observer be viable at all? Our cognitive limitations are so obvious... An 
elementary provisional solution (a pre-zero, a pre-science tool) for making it 
possible was suggested in those ten principles weeks ago. 
  In any case, I think these two absences or "zeroes" might be successfully 
filled in, without having to wait for too long.

  Best wishes--Pedro 

  El 26/10/2017 a las 20:08, Loet Leydesdorff escribió:

    Dear Terry and colleagues, 

      (...) , there cannot be interminable regress of this displacement to 
establish these norms. At some point normativity requires ontological grounding 
where the grounded normative relation is the preservation of the systemic 
physical properties that produce the norm-preserving dynamic. 
    I have problems with the words "ontological" and "physical" here, whereas I 
agree with the need of grounding the normative. Among human beings, this 
grounding of subjective normativity can be found in intersubjectivity. Whereas 
the subjective remains cogitans (in doubt), the intersubjective can be 
considered as cogitatum (the thing about which one remains in doubt). 

    For Descartes this cogitatum is the Other of the Cogito. The Cogito knows 
itself to be incomplete, and to be distinguished from what transcends it, the 
Transcendental or, in Descartes' terminology, God. (This is the ontological 
proof of God's presence. Kant showed that this proof does not hold: God cannot 
be proven to exist.) Husserl (1929) steps in on this point in the Cartesian 
Meditations: the cogitatum which transcends us is intersubjectivity. It is not 
physical. The physical is res extensa, whereas this remains res cogitans. It 
cannot be retrieved, but one has reflexive access to it.

    Interestingly, this philosophy provides Luhmann's point of departure. The 
intersubjective can be operationalized as (interhuman) communication. The codes 
in the communication can relatively be stabilized. One can use the metaphor of 
eigenvectors of a communication matrix. They remain our constructs, but they 
guide the communication. (Luhmann uses "eigenvalues", but that is a 
misunderstanding.) Using Parsons' idea of symbolic generalization of the codes 
of communication, one can continue this metaphor and consider other than the 
first eigenvector as "functional differentiations" which enable the 
communication to process more complexity. The model is derived from the Trias 
Politica: problems can be solved in one of the branches or the other. The 
normativity of the judiciary is different from the normativity of the 
legislative branch, but they both ground the normativity that guides us.

    The sciences are then a way of communication; namely, scholarly 
communication about rationalized expectations. Scholarly communication is 
different from, for example, political communication. An agent ("consciousness" 
in Luhmann's terminology) recombines reflexively and has to integrate because 
of one's contingency. The transcendental grounding is in the communication; it 
remains uncertain. Fortunately, because this implies that it can be 
reconstructed (by us albeit not as individuals). 

    A non-human does not know oneself to be contingent. Lots of things follow 
from this; for example, that the non-human does not have access to our 
intersubjectivity as systems of expectations.



    Loet Leydesdorff 

    Professor emeritus, University of Amsterdam
    Amsterdam School of Communication Research (ASCoR) ; 
    Associate Faculty, SPRU, University of Sussex; 

    Guest Professor Zhejiang Univ., Hangzhou; Visiting Professor, ISTIC, 

    Visiting Fellow, Birkbeck, University of London;


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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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