### Re: [Fis] Scientific communication (from Mark)

Dear Dai,
Consider the pattern
.142857142857142857142857142857142857142857…
In our world of observers and technology, this pattern is constructed so that
it can be transmitted verbatim by this computer system to you.
No meaning is transmitted, just the list of numbers. Even the fact that the
pattern repeats is not evident just from the finite list of symbols.
You, as an observer, “know” that the “three dots: …” indicates indefinite
repetition. And you know about infinite decimals, so the dot at the beginning
of the string
indicates to you that this is an infinite decimal number.
With that in mind, you can operate on the pattern and deduce that it is
representing 1/7. You know that we are communicating about
a delicate choice of actions and that  I have signaled to you that the 7-th
action is to be preferred. Unfortunately, any eavesdropper (another observer)
would probably come to the same conclusions, so this is not a very good cipher!
The point is, that no matter how radical is our constructivism, we have to
admit that we are capable of sending , not meaning, but literal
patterns that can be reproduced quite faithfully over various modes of
transmission. Meaning is not transmitted, but physical relationships and orders
of symbols are recorded and exchanged. The information in the pattern is
dependent upon the observer. The kids in my math class will only get up to the
1/7. They will not know anything about the delicate and life-changing decision
that the 7 represents. The key information in the cipher is not in the cipher.
It is a potential that can emerge from an appropriate observer in the presence
of the cipher.
Note that the observer needs extra information. He needs to know that agent LK
sent it and that it is not just an exercise in an elementary mathematics book.
Best,
Lou Kauffman

> On Oct 14, 2016, at 9:16 AM, Dai Griffiths  wrote:
>
> To trying to answer this question, I find myself asking "Do patterns exist
> without an observer?".
>
> A number of familiar problems then re-emerge, which blur my ability to
> distinguish between foreground and background.
>
> Dai
>
> On 13/10/16 11:32, Karl Javorszky wrote:
>> Do patterns contain information?
>
> --
> -
>
> Professor David (Dai) Griffiths
> Professor of Education
> School of Education and Psychology
> The University of Bolton
> Bolton, BL3 5AB
>
> Office: T3 02
> http://www.bolton.ac.uk/IEC
>
> SKYPE: daigriffiths
> UK Mobile +44 (0)749151559
> Spanish Mobile: + 34 687955912
> Work: + 44 (0)7826917705
> email:
>   d.e.griffi...@bolton.ac.uk
>   dai.griffith...@gmail.com
>
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### Re: [Fis] Scientific communication (from Mark)

Peirce's answer is a definite "yes", and is a form pf realism. The idea that
patterns require an observer is the basis for nominalism, which was adopted by
most empiricists like Locke and Hume. Plato, though, was also a nominalist,
though the reasoning is not so straight-forward. The empiricist Berkeley, with
his requirement of God's observation, is an objective idealism, but
nominalistic nonetheless, in line with the other British Empiricists of his era.

John Collier
Emeritus Professor and Senior Research Associate
Philosophy, University of KwaZulu-Natal
http://web.ncf.ca/collier

> -Original Message-
> From: Fis [mailto:fis-boun...@listas.unizar.es] On Behalf Of Dai Griffiths
> Sent: Friday, 14 October 2016 4:16 PM
> To: fis@listas.unizar.es
> Subject: Re: [Fis] Scientific communication (from Mark)
>
> To trying to answer this question, I find myself asking "Do patterns exist
> without an observer?".
>
> A number of familiar problems then re-emerge, which blur my ability to
> distinguish between foreground and background.
>
> Dai
>
> On 13/10/16 11:32, Karl Javorszky wrote:
> > Do patterns contain information?
>
> --
> -
>
> Professor David (Dai) Griffiths
> Professor of Education
> School of Education and Psychology
> The University of Bolton
> Bolton, BL3 5AB
>
> Office: T3 02
> http://www.bolton.ac.uk/IEC
>
> SKYPE: daigriffiths
> UK Mobile +44 (0)749151559
> Spanish Mobile: + 34 687955912
> Work: + 44 (0)7826917705
> email:
> d.e.griffi...@bolton.ac.uk
> dai.griffith...@gmail.com
>
> ___
> Fis mailing list
> Fis@listas.unizar.es
> http://listas.unizar.es/cgi-bin/mailman/listinfo/fis

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### Re: [Fis] Scientific communication (from Mark)

To trying to answer this question, I find myself asking "Do patterns
exist without an observer?".

A number of familiar problems then re-emerge, which blur my ability to
distinguish between foreground and background.

Dai

On 13/10/16 11:32, Karl Javorszky wrote:

Do patterns contain information?

--
-

Professor David (Dai) Griffiths
Professor of Education
School of Education and Psychology
The University of Bolton
Bolton, BL3 5AB

Office: T3 02
http://www.bolton.ac.uk/IEC

SKYPE: daigriffiths
UK Mobile +44 (0)749151559
Spanish Mobile: + 34 687955912
Work: + 44 (0)7826917705
email:
d.e.griffi...@bolton.ac.uk
dai.griffith...@gmail.com

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### [Fis] Fwd: Scientific communication (---from Mark)

Asunto: Re: [Fis] Scientific communication (from Mark)
Fecha:  Fri, 14 Oct 2016 13:04:06 +0100
De: Mark Johnson
Para: 	fis , Pedro C. Marijuan

Dear Karl, Loet and Bruno,

communication had been a bit 'quiet'... now it is less quiet: there's
nothing like throwing 'god' into the equation to liven up discussions!
Why?

More seriously (and sorry, this is a long post) there are three
fundamental distinctions and an example which I want to draw in the
1. The distinction between IS and OUGHT in arguments about scientific
communication
2. The distinction between an EXPLANATION and a DESCRIPTION
3. Issues about ONTOLOGY and INFORMATION
4. A musical example

1. IS - OUGHT
the science, vulnerable, as reason is no more allowed in, and that
leaves the place for emotion and wishful thinking, which are quickly
exploited by manipulators, usually to steal our money, or control us
in some ways". Clearly, we ought not allow this to happen. In my
second video, I used the example of the swindler whose speech acts are
chosen in full knowledge of the constraints of the victim. Of course
there are unscrupulous religious people who do this; but there are
equally (and possibly more so) unscrupulous scientists (particularly,
I'm afraid, psychologists and economists (if they are to be considered
scientists - as they would like)). I like Bruno's theology of the
machine - it looks very similar to Ashby's concept of variety (the set
of propositions true about the machine = the set of possible states
the machine can exist in)... which brings us back to information,
Shannon, etc.

I agree with Karl in his suggestion "to focus on the dichotomy
creating the foreground, lifting it off from the background. Patterns
connect the two: it is reasonable, in my view, to work on the subject
of patterns.". But it is easy to say that we "ought" to do this. I'd
prefer to see the pathologies that we see in education and publishing
are a direct consequence of our not doing this, and to describe the
ontological mechanisms. It is the business of arguing how our
scientific communication should be conducted in the light of what we

Hume's famous passage in dealing with the dichotomy of "is" and
"ought" is worth reflecting on:

"In every system of morality, which I have hitherto met with, I have
always remarked, that the author proceeds for some time in the
ordinary ways of reasoning, and establishes the being of a God, or
makes observations concerning human affairs; when all of a sudden I am
surprised to find, that instead of the usual copulations of
propositions, is, and is not, I meet with no proposition that is not
connected with an ought, or an ought not. This change is
imperceptible; but is however, of the last consequence. For as this
ought, or ought not, expresses some new relation or affirmation, 'tis
necessary that it should be observed and explained; and at the same
time that a reason should be given; for what seems altogether
inconceivable, how this new relation can be a deduction from others,
which are entirely different from it."

His complaint is about slippage from "is" to "ought" (he does not deny
the possibility of deriving an ought from an is - the logical
positivists misrepresented him).

In my argument about scientific publishing I have tried to be careful
in avoiding 'oughts' and ground an argument for a richer embrace of
technological expression on the basis of describing how today's
science is. I'm arguing (not much differently from David Bohm whose
work on communication is new to me) that the nature of the science
entails the need for new practices of communication.

There is a critical dimension (which I don't think is an Ought - it's
just a warning): if we continue to communicate in the way that we did
in the 17th century, then our communication won't work because it
works against the scientific ontology. I'm speculating that this
pathology feeds into financialisation processes which produce social
crisis. In Hume's argument, communication between scientists and an
ontology of regularity were tied together; now we have have to admit
multiple contingencies in our scientific practices, the communication
cannot be unchanged - can it?

2. EXPLANATION and DESCRIPTION
In the posts of Bruno and Karl, there is reference to science's search
for universal explanation. This is clearly a very deep issue, but it
fundamentally concerns our conception of causation. What is causation?
What is causal explanation? For Hume, causal explanations are
constructs produced in discourse (i.e. communication) between
scientists in the light of regular successions of events produced in
experiments. However, it is also worth considering that