Dear Joe and colleagues,

This seems counterproductive to me. The generative mechanism is knowledge-based; notably based on discursive knowledge. The latter is specific to the human species. Dolphins and dogs may be able to language, but they cannot handle a credit card or understand the rule of law. In my opinion, the generative mechanism is the generation of redundancy by making further distinctions and thus options. Meaning cannot be communicated, but it can be shared and be redundant. Information is communicated and generates probabilistic entropy. Adding redundancy extends the maximum entropy; we live in a different (cultural) world after the next transition.

For example, transportation over the Alps was first restricted by the passes such as the Gotthard and the Brenner passes. But using railways tunneling under the Alps or airplanes flying over them, the number of options is multiplied by orders of magnitude. The physical restriction on the ground are overcome.

Redundancy generation can be measured in terms of (negative!) bits of information.

The message is that there is no abstract "Logic in Reality" as a general systems dynamic, but this is itself a knowledge claim. The substance other than res extensa--that is, res cogitans--is not provided in data and to be measured in bits, but in terms of absences to be measured in -data. In other words, I disagree with Sungchul's positivism: meaning in inter-human communications is not objective, but intersubjective. It is provided with hindsight to the historical events and with reference to horizons of meaning.


PS. Pedro, this is my first message in the new week. L.

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, <>Beijing;

Visiting Fellow, Birkbeck <>, University of London;

------ Original Message ------
From: "Joseph Brenner" <>
To: "Terrence W. DEACON" <>; "Alex Hankey" <> Cc:; "Emanuel Diamant" <>; "Sungchul Ji" <>
Sent: 1/14/2018 8:36:10 AM
Subject: Re: [Fis] Response to Sungchul. Generative Logic

Dear All again,

Terry has introduced an absolutely essential concept on which we need to focus, that of a generative logic of informational relationships. I would just like to point out that we are not starting from zero. Some of us, for example Mark J. and I have already recognized the need for a new logic, in which understanding the dynamic relationships is central. In Logic in Reality, for example, Terry’s suggestion of the need to avoid “the tendency to use language-like communication as the paradigm exemplar” is already achieved by focus on the non-linguistic dynamic process properties of information.

If Terry could expand his concept of the contours of a ‘generative logic’, it might be possible to show this even more clearly.

Thank you and best wishes,


From: Fis [] On Behalf Of Terrence W. DEACON
Sent: samedi, 13 janvier 2018 19:33
To: Alex Hankey; Emanuel Diamant; Sungchul Ji
Subject: Re: [Fis] I salute to Sungchul

Hi all,

I would be very encouraged if we are trying to develop beyond mere lists of different uses of the term 'information' TO structured taxonomies of distinct types of information TO a generative logic of how these distinct modes of a complex information relationship are interrelated.

Dualistically distinguishing intrinsic properties of an informing medium from relational properties that determine its reference provides an important first step in growing the concept to encompas its full usefulness. But I hope that we will also eventually begin to attend to the functional value that the coveyed reference provides, since this too is often also implicitly part of the various uses of the term 'infomation' in colloquial and even scientific use. This requires more careful parsing of the term "meaning" that is often invoked.

For instance, one can receive information that is unambiguously "about" something but where that which it is about is already known and therefore is "functionally redundant" (not to be confused with signal redundancy). Or this information can be about something that is irrelevant to a given function or end, while still being information about something.

An example would be telling me the time when I already know what time it is. The statement about the time does indeed "mean" something—i.e. it is not meaningless as gibberish woiuld be. Similarly, if I ask to know the current temperature and I am instead told the time, the reference provided would be useless to me—i.e. it wouldn't "make a difference" in the colloquial English sense of that phrase. The concept of "meaning" tends to collapse or conflate these two distinctions—reference and significance—which I think we should endeavor to distinguish.

In this respect I like the suggestion by Alex Hankey that we consider an example like the barely conscious "feeling" of being watched which both conveys information about an extrinsic state of affairs and additionally has a functional relevance which is implicit in the discomfort it typically elicits. Both the aboutness and the significance are relational, not intrinsic properties of information. They are are distinct relations because they are asymmetrically dependent on one another. Thus if I am entirely unaware of being watched I am nnot discomforted by it.

Note also the difference in these relational attrributes: aboutness or reference is "in relation to" some state of affairs, whereas significance or value is "in relation to" some telos intrinsic to an interpreting agent or system.

Exploring such nondiscursive examples can help us to escape the tendency to use language-like communication as the paradigm exemplar. The analysis of the information intrinsic to and conveyed by music might in this respect provide a useful platform for future discussion.

Are there other critical distinctions that we additionally need to highlight?

Happy New Year, Terry

On Fri, Jan 12, 2018 at 9:24 PM, Alex Hankey <> wrote:

And what about the Kinds of Information that you cannot put in a data set?

The information that makes you turn your head and meet the gaze of someone staring at you.

No one could do that, which we humans and all animals do constantly,

unless we had received such information at a subliminal level in the brain.

We all have that capacity, it is vital for survival in the wild. All animals do it.

The 'Sense of Being Stared At' is a common experience for most animals,

how far down the tree of life no one yet knows.

Whatever triggers it is definitely 'A Difference that Makes a Difference',

so fits in your definition of 'Meaningful Information' - it has to!


Please Face Up to This Fact.

All best wishes,


On 13 January 2018 at 07:30, Sungchul Ji <> wrote:

Hi Emmanuel and FISers,

Thank you, Emmanuel, for your generous remarks. It is heartening to know that our ideas converge, although we carried out our research independently of each other, a clear example of consilience.

(1)  I like and agree with the Kolomogorov quote you cited in [1]:

"Information is a linguistic description of structures in a given data set."

It seems to me that there are 4 key concepts embedded in the above quote, which we may view as the definition of what may be called the "Komogorov information" or the "Kolmogorov-Bateson information" for the convenience of reference:

i)   data set (e.g., ACAGTCAACGGTCCAA)

ii) linguistic description (e.g., Threonine, Valine, Asparagine, Glycine)

iii) structure (e.g., 16 mononucdotide, 8 dinucldotides, 5 trinucleotides plus 1)

iv) mathematical description (e.g., tensor product of two 2x2 matrices of 4 nucleotides) [2, 3].

The first three elements are obvious, but the 4th is not so obvious but justified in view of the recent work of Petoukhov [2, 3].

(2) Based on these ideas, I have constructed Table 1 below of the various names applied to the two kinds of information which I described as I(-) and I(+) in my previous post.

Table 1. The arbitrariness of the signs referring to ‘information’. It doesn’t matter what you call it, as long as your chosen label refers to the right reality, thing, process, mechanisms, etc.


Type I Information

Type II information


Physical Information

Sematic information


Shannon information

Kolmogorov information, or

Kolmogorov-Bateson information


‘Meaningless’ information

‘Meaningful’ information


I(-) information, or simply I(-)

I(+) information, or simply I(+)


Quantitative information

Qualitative information


Mathematical information

Linguistic information (see Statement (1))


Formal information

Phenomenological information


Interpretant-less sign [4]

Triadic sign [4]

(3) One practical application of the dual theory of information under discussion is in deducing the structure of cell language, or the structure of the linguistics of DNA, in a much more rigorous manner than was possible in 1997 [5].

It is the common practice in biology to use the terms "letters", "words", "sentences", and "texts" without any rigorous definitions. The general rule is to follow the rules of concatenations used in linguistics literally and say that

i) just as 26 letters in the English alphabet are combined to form words (the process being called the second articulation [5]), so the 4 letters of the genetic alphabets, A, C, G and T/U, combine in triplets to form genetic codons. Similarly, just as words form sentences and sentences form texts by the same concatenation procedure (or tensor multiplication, mathematically speaking , i.e, linearly arranging words and sentences, respectively (see the second column in Table 2), so the 64 nucleotide triplets combine to form proteins and proteins combine to form metabolic pathways by continuing the concatenation process, or the tensor multiplication of matrices of larger and larger sizes (see the fourth column, which is based on the physical theory of information, i.e., without any involvement of semantics or the first articulation).

ii) In contrast to the fourth column just described, we can justify an alternative structural assignments based on the semantic theory of information as shown in the fifth column of Table 2. Here the letters of the cell language alphabet are not always mononucloetoides but thought to be n-nucleotides, such as dinucleotides (when n = 2), trinucleotides (when n =3), tetranucleotides (when n = 4), penta-nucelotides (when n = 5), etc. That is, unlike in human language where the letters of an alphabet usually consist of one symbol, e.g., A, B, C, D, E, . . . , I am claiming that in cell language, the letters can be mononucloetides (i.e., A, G, C, T/U), dinucloeotides (i.e., AG, AC, . . . .) , trinucleotides (i.e., ACT, GTA, . . . ), tetranucleotides (i.e., ACTG, CCGT, . . . .), pentanucleotides (i.e., ACCTG, TCGAT, . . .) and, up to n-nucleotides (also called n-plets [2, 3]), where n is an unknown number whose upper limit is not yet known (at least to me). If this conjecture turns out to be true, then the size of the cell language alphabet can be much larger (10^3 - 10^9 ?) than the size of a typical human linguistic alphabet which is usually less than 10^2, probably due to the limitation of the memory capacity of the human brain.

(iii) From linguistics, we learn that there are at least 4 levels of organization, each level characterized by a unique function (see the second column). Without presenting any detailed argument, I just wish to suggest that the linguistic structures deduced based on the semantic information theory (i.e., the fifth column) agree with the human linguistic structures (i.e., the second column) better than does the linguistic structures based on the physical/mathematical/quantitative information theory (i.e., the fourth column), when the functional hierarchy given in the third column is taken into account.

Table 2. Two versions of the linguistics of DNA based on (i) the physical information theory, and (ii) the semantic information theory [1]. M stands for a 2x2 matrix whose elements are the 4 genetic nucleotides, A, C, G and T/U, i.e., M = [C A; T G] (see Figure 16 in [2]). The symbol, (x), indicates tensor multiplication [2, 3]. The I to II transition is known in linguistics as the second articulation; the II to III transition as the first articulation [4]; the III to IV transition was referred to as the third articulation [5].

Organization  level

Human Language

Cell Language



Structure based on the Physical Information Theory (PIT) [1]

Structure based on the Semantic Information Theory (SIT) [1]



Basic building

blocks or basic physical signals

4 Nucleotides (A, C, G, T/U);

M = [C A;T G]*

mono-, di-, trinucleotides, 4-plets, 5-plets, . . . , n-plets of nucleotides, . . .



To denote

16 dinucleotides;

M(x)M or M^2

Any combinations of the n-plets/ genes/proteins



To decide

64 trinucleotides /amino acids;
M(x)M(x)M or M^3

Assembly of  genes/proteins; or metabolic pathways (MP)



To argue/compute/

reason (e.g., syllogism)

254 tetranucleotides;

Metabolic pathways (?); M(x)M(x)M(x)M or M^4

Networks of MP’s

characterized by a unique function (see the second column). Without presenting any detailed argument, I would like to suggest that the linguistic structures deduced based on the semantic information theory (i.e., the fifth column) agree with the human linguistic structures (i.e., the second column) better than does the linguistic structures based on the physical/mathematical/quantitative information theory (i.e., the fourth column).

In other words, the structure of cell language deduced based on the semantic information theory agrees better, functionally, with that of the human language than the structure of cell language deduced based on the physical information theory, thus further supporting the 1997 postulate that cell and human languages are isomorphic [5, 6].

If you have any questions or suggestions for improvements on the above tables, I would appreciate hearing from you.

All the best.



[1] Emanuel Diamant, The brain is processing information, not data. Does anybody care?, ISIS Summit Vienna 2015, Extended Abstract. <>

[2] Petoukhov, S. (2017). Genetic coding and united-hypercomplex systems in the models of algebraic biology. BioSystems158: 31-46.

[3]Petoukhov, S. (2016). The system-resonance approach in modeling genetic
structures. BiosySystems139:1-11.

[4] Ji, S. (2017).Neo-Semiotics: Introducing Zeroness into Peircean Semiotics May Bridge the Knowable and the Unknowable. Prog. Biophys. Mol. Biol. 131:387-401. PDF at <> [5] Ji, S. (1997). Isomorphism between cell and human languages: molecualr biological, bioinformatic and linguistic implications. <>BioSystems 44:17-39. PDF at <>

[6] Ji, S. (2017). The Cell Language Theory: Connecting Mind and Matter. World Scientific, New Jersey. Chapter 5.

From: Fis <> on behalf of Emanuel Diamant <>
Sent: Friday, January 12, 2018 11:20 AM
Subject: [Fis] I salute to Sungchul

Dear FISers,

I would like to express my pleasure with the current state of our discourse – an evident attempt to reach a more common understanding about information issues and to enrich preliminary given assessments.

In this regard, I would like to add my comment to Sungchul’s post of January 12, 2018.

Sungchul proposes “to recognize two distinct types of information which, for the lack of better terms, may be referred to as the "meaningless information" or I(-) and "meaningful information" or I(+)”.

That is exactly what I am trying to put forward for years, albeit under more historically rooted names: Physical and Semantic information [1]. Never mind, what is crucially important here is that the duality of information becomes publicly recognized and accepted by FIS community.

I salute to Sungchul’s suggestion!

Best regards, Emanuel.

[1] Emanuel Diamant, The brain is processing information, not data. Does anybody care?, ISIS Summit Vienna 2015, Extended Abstract. <>

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Alex Hankey M.A. (Cantab.) PhD (M.I.T.)
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