Dear FISers,

What if we take the observer not as an entity of whatever kind (a unity or
identity), but as a distinction (a difference) that when being laid to the
foreground becomes a difference that makes a difference (that is, it
becomes informative -but this information is locally or spatially, timely,
and contextually (1) limited; I mean: it cannot be information everywhere,
anytime and for every point of view). Distinguishing distinctions would be
the role of a meta-observer -or as H. von Foerster called it: second order
observation. In this meta-observer role, asking for the unity of the
distinction gives rise to the problem of who the observer is. But this path
leads to a sort of mystification, being not able to see what the observer
is not able to see: its own distinction. Accordingly, the real question
would not be who the observer is, but how to deal with the self-reference
implied in every operation of observation. I wonder, are unitary
mystifications such as the Mind, the Subject, the Conscious, or even the
System, the only way to deal with the paradoxes so dear to observation?
The other poignat question would be: when and under which conditions a
distinction can take the role of "distinction directrice" -or the
distinction or reference of a meta-observer, if I get Pedro right? That
would be the quest for an information science. Which is the distinction
directrice of this transdisciplinary field that binds together physics,
biology, chemestry, social sciences, and so on? Some have proposed, for
example, the distinction between information and meaning. I can also see
that underlying many of the discussions of the list, there is the
distinction between materiality and mentality -that is, some affirm that
information has a physical container, and even that information itself is
-or involves- a physical exchange of signals, while some others suggest
that information is mental, cognitive, inmaterial in itself. This looks
indeed like the vortex around which many information theories set up.



Note: These are not entirely my own ideas, I am following G. Bateson, H.
von Foerster, G. Spencer Brown, N. Luhmann, and D. Baecker. Indeed, I got a
socio-systemic bias.

(1) By context I mean a point in space-time characterized by the relation
between factual (or actual) and inmediately potential distinctions being
put forth by the autopoietic communication process.


> head>
> Dear FISers,
> Although I share Terry's concern, I do not think that expostulating one's
> general framework is going to facilitate the discussions. Perhaps oposite,
> as it will introduce a trend towards generalization that fortifies the
> perspectival differences and makes the rhetorics less adjusted to the
> concrete. The problem basically resides in the persistent immaturity of the
> "information synthesis" so to speak. Defenders of each approach advocate a
> different "observer", charged in each case with their favorite
> conceptualizations. Taking into account the apparent multitude of
> dimensions of information, and its almost unfathomable reach, a "battery"
> of those observers has to be in place. And an agile switching among the
> observers has to be established. A sort of "attention" capable of fast and
> furious displacements of the focus...  helas, this means a meta-observer or
> an observer-in-command.
> But what sort of reference may such a metaobserver arbitrate? There is no
> conceivable book of rules about the switching between heterogeneous
> disciplinary bodies.
> I see only one way, imitating the central goal of nervous systems: the
> metaobserver should finally care about our collective social life. It was
> Whitehead, as far as I remember, who put it: "to live, to live better." In
> each level of organization it is the life cycle of the concerned entities
> and the aggregates built upon them what matters.
> Information is not only about logic-formal aspects. It is the bread and
> butter of complexity, that which allows contemporary social life.
> So, in the coming session about "dataism" we can also explore these themes.
> Best--Pedro
> _______________________________________________
> Fis mailing list
Fis mailing list

Reply via email to