Re: [Fis] replies to several

2011-05-09 Thread Christophe Menant

Dear Loet, Joe and all, 
We are reaching again the question of “meaning” as attached to information. 
Let me remind a few points addressed more or less explicitly in some previous 
1) A “meaning” does not exist by itself. It is a “meaningful information” 
(Shannon type information) related to a system that creates it or uses it in 
order to satisfy some constraint (ex: stay alive for species by ADN 
transmission, stay alive for organism by catching food, be happy for humans). 
And it is true that “mathematically derived “meaning” for antibodies is a pale 
representation of meaning in the human context”. This is why trying to 
understand what is a “meaning” by a systemic approach can be interesting. 
2) Any meaning has an origin, more or less iterated from other meanings. As 
already expressed at FIS, a basic meaning generation process can be modeled 
through the MGS (Meaning Generator System) where a system submitted to a 
constraint generates a meaning when it receives an information from its 
environment that has a connection with the constraint. The generated meaning is 
precisely the connection existing between the received information and the 
constraint ( , The received information can already be 
3) The MGS is a building block populating agents that have different 
constraints to satisfy 
4) Networks of meanings for an agent about an item of its environment 
constitute a meaningful representation of the item for the agent. Meanings link 
agents to their environments  (“ “).
5) Meaning generation by the MGS can be used as an evolutionary tool beginning 
with bacteria. It brings to highlight the specificities of organisms and humans 
in terms of systems and constraints where our understanding is sometimes 
limited (“ “). 


Date: Sun, 8 May 2011 21:16:01 +0200
Subject: Re: [Fis] replies to several

Dear Joe: 

1. If I follow Loet, I must accept that Information Theory is essentially a 
mathematical theory that requires abstractions for extension to complex 
contexts. But Bob says that the mathematically derived “meaning” for antibodies 
is a pale representation of meaning in the human context and only reflects how 
wanly quantitative models in general prefigure more complicated human 
situations. CONCLUSION: something else that is non-mathematical and 
non-abstract beyond IT as so defined is required to capture meaning. 
Yes, I would agree. Shannon-type information is yet meaningless. Information 
can only be provided with meaning by the substantive specification of a system 
of reference. For this reason, one needs not only a formal theory of the 
exchange, but also substantive theories. For example, a theory about the 
exchange of molecules in biology, and of atoms in chemistry, or of transactions 
in economy. These theories of specific communications cannot be expected to be 
unified because the substances (of “what is communicated and why”) are 
different. The formal theory of communication serves us, among other things, 
for moving from one substantive theory to another and for developing metaphors 
that can thus heuristically be transported, because of the abstraction 
involved. Additionally, these confrontations can lead to further developments 
of the algorithms that are relevant for studying the dynamics. 
The dynamics in the communication of meaning is different from the 
communication of information! Information can also circulate as noise (without 
meaning). I doubt it that meaning can be communicated without communication of 
information. Meaning is generated when information can be related by “an 
observing system” or more precisely in a discourse. It seems to me that 
semioticians focus exclusively on the communication of meaning without relating 
it to the communication of information. The latter, for example, has to confirm 
to the entropy law, while the former does not. The possibility of generating 
negative information has first been discussed by Brillouin as negentropy (- 
Delta H). 
Meaning circulation generates redundancies because the historical case is one 
of possible cases from the perspective of hindsight and thus the maximum 
entropy (of possible states) can be continuously enlarged. This is further 
reinforced when meanings are codified in terms of models. Models enable us to 
consider more possible case in the future. Such systems – e.g., scientific 
discourses – can be considered as strongly anticipatory. They act against the 
axis of time.
3. Two aspects of the exchange between Koichiro and Loet merit attention: 1) 
Loet said that his point of replacing “why” with “what” did not seem necessary 
to him. In my mind, however, when Koichiro refers to “what is communicated by 

Re: [Fis] replies to several

2011-05-09 Thread Koichiro Matsuno


   Joseph wrote:


Two aspects of the exchange between Koichiro and Loet merit attention: 1) Loet 
said that his point of replacing “why” with “what” did not seem necessary to 
him. In my mind, however, when Koichiro refers to “what is communicated by 
what”, he is insisting on not losing the qualitative components of the 
information involved.


Let me make my points a little bit clearer.


1. Being empirical is not necessarily rational (e.g., Galilei’s empirical 
inertia v.s. Aristotle’s rational telos).

2. Linear progression of time, say time (t+1) following time t, is already 
a consequence of synchronization among the clocks available to us. A point of 
clarification is that synchronization in the making as a necessary condition 
for a meaningful integration into whatever context is not sure about whether it 
could also proceed upon a linear progression of time. Suppose everybody asks 
the nearest neighbor “what time do you have?”. The outcome might be somewhere 
in between the two extremes of a successful synchronization in the end among 
all of them on one hand and a total mess on the other. 

3. Linguistic or theoretical access to synchronization in the making would 
be hard to imagine when it is prohibited to refer to time as a comprehensible 
analytical tool in advance. This does not however mean the end of the whole 
issue. Empirical access to synchronization in the making is totally different. 
Cyanobacteria as the first photosynthetic bacteria appeared on Earth could have 
been quite successful in synchronizing their circadian clocks among them 
without asking the help of our languages. 

4. Addressing the theoretical question of what kinds of material means are 
employed for the job of synchronization and why, goes far beyond our present 
rational comprehension. Although the cyanobacterial circadian clocks employ 
three different kinds of protein called KaiA, B and C for the job, we cannot 
say for sure at this moment why these particular proteins would come to be 
focused upon. This has been an irrevocable empirical fact. 

5. Neuronal dynamics is full of synchronization in the making by means of 
exchanging an extremely wide variety of chemical messengers, including for 
instance acetylcholine, available empirically.  

6. Even if we take a pause for a while for addressing the grandiose 
why-questions, there may still remain some room for tailoring time for a 
comprehensible analytical tool. Time is further qualified in terms of its 
tense. There remains a likelihood of addressing how the actual dynamics would 
proceed through the interplay between the different tenses, especially between 
the present progressive and the present perfect tense.

7. Put it bluntly, information synthesizes the flow of time from scratch.





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