[Fis] A general question about your experience on this list.

2017-10-16 Thread Jeremy Sherman
I've not been active on this list though I've looked in on it from time to
time.

I'm curious to know if members can remember a time when they experienced a
fundamental shift in their assumptions, methodology or questions through
interactions on this list.

If you're willing to share what that shift was I'd welcome a brief
description. Also if you have any insights into why you had that shift, for
example, what someone said.

Thanks,

Jeremy Sherman
Author, Neither Ghost Nor Machine: The emergence and nature of selves.
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[Fis] Neither Ghost Nor Machine: The emergence and nature of selves

2017-10-05 Thread Jeremy Sherman
Hi all,

For 20 years I've collaborated with Terry Deacon on his approach to
information. This week, my new book distilling it is published with
Columbia University Press.

*Neither Ghost Nor Machine: the emergence and nature of selves*

https://cup.columbia.edu/book/neither-ghost-nor-machine/9780231173339

30% discount with the promo code: cup30

I've been further distilling our approach in short videos.

*Book summary*

https://youtu.be/8JwefpId97Y

*What is trying and how did it start?*

https://www.youtube.com/edit?o=U_id=VtSOU9ewlGI


*What is value and how did it start?*
https://www.youtube.com/edit?o=U_id=cr7ZNLLltQ4

*What is mind and how did it start?*

https://www.youtube.com/edit?o=U_id=VJ5kXPrjXxc

Deacon's approach is easy to misunderstand. Given widely-, and deeply-held
assumptions, it's also way too easy to dismiss. My distillations are a new
way to get clear about what he's actually proposing.

Best,

Jeremy Sherman
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Re: [Fis] Philosophy, Computing, and Information - apologies!

2015-06-15 Thread Jeremy Sherman
Deacon addressed this all very clearly in his January paper. I'm guessing
for most FIS members his argument changed little or nothing.

On Mon, Jun 15, 2015 at 12:59 PM, Stanley N Salthe ssal...@binghamton.edu
wrote:

 Loet -- Well, so you favor the definition of information as an invention
 of Western technology related to communication.  Others prefer to define
 information in such a way that it emerges into the world with biology -- in
 the genetic system.  Still others define information in such a way that it
 can be viewed as a physical quantity, perhaps a measure of the importance
 of context in any physical interaction.  As a generalizer, I prefer the
 latter, giving us the subsumptive hierarchy:

  Information ~ {context {material code {uncertainty}}}

 STAN

 On Sun, Jun 14, 2015 at 1:46 PM, Loet Leydesdorff l...@leydesdorff.net
 wrote:

 I would add another possibility -- information does not appear in the
 universe until it is manipulated by modern human society as a commodity.



 Yes, Stan, this makes sense to me: information (in bits) can be
 considered as a measurement of the expected uncertainty. It is *yet*
 meaning-free, but it can be provided with meaning in a system of reference
 – such as a discourse.



 For example, {50%,50%} contains 1 bit of information. Thus, if we mix 50
 euro coins with 50 coins of a dollar or we group 50 black cats with 50
 white ones, the uncertainty is one bit of information. This does not tell
 us anything about the cats themselves as in a biology.



 During the recent conference in Vienna, I was amazed how many of our
 colleagues wish to ground information in physics. However, the
 information-theoretical evaluation seems mathematical to me. The
 mathematical notion of entropy is different from the physical one. The
 physical one is only valid for the physico-chemical system of momenta and
 energy.



 When I exchange the 50 dollars into 50 euros, the expected information
 content of the distribution of coins goes from one to zero bits, but this
 is not thermodynamic entropy. The physics of the exchange process are
 external to the informational-theoretical evaluation.



 I know that you wish to express this with hierarchies. Information can be
 measured at each level or as mutual information between them. But what the
 information means, depends on the specific systems of reference.



 Best,

 Loet


 --

 Loet Leydesdorff

 *Emeritus* University of Amsterdam
 Amsterdam School of Communication Research (ASCoR)

 l...@leydesdorff.net ; http://www.leydesdorff.net/
 Honorary Professor, SPRU, http://www.sussex.ac.uk/spru/University of
 Sussex;

 Guest Professor Zhejiang Univ. http://www.zju.edu.cn/english/,
 Hangzhou; Visiting Professor, ISTIC,
 http://www.istic.ac.cn/Eng/brief_en.htmlBeijing;

 Visiting Professor, Birkbeck http://www.bbk.ac.uk/, University of
 London;

 http://scholar.google.com/citations?user=ych9gNYJhl=en



 *From:* Fis [mailto:fis-boun...@listas.unizar.es] *On Behalf Of *Stanley
 N Salthe
 *Sent:* Sunday, June 14, 2015 3:14 PM

 *To:* fis
 *Subject:* Re: [Fis] Philosophy, Computing, and Information - apologies!



 Krassimir -- Thanks. Now I see what your objection is.  You do not agree
 with the Wheeler concept that information was he basis upon which
 everything else was founded. Rather, you see it as appearing along with
 matter. Or you might consider that it appeared 'along with form', in which
 case information doesn't appear in the universe until life makes it
 appearance.  I would add another possibility -- information does not appear
 in the universe until it is manipulated by modern human society as a
 commodity.



 STAN



 On Sat, Jun 13, 2015 at 3:49 PM, Krassimir Markov mar...@foibg.com
 wrote:

 Dear John and Stan,

 What is cause, and what is result? This is the question.

 If we not assume information and informational processes as secondary
 effect from activity of living mater,  it is not possible to proof anything
 and we have to believe that proposed models maybe are truth. We have to
 trust to Author but not to experiments.

 Information has to be included not in the beginning of the hierarchy – at
 least in the middle where living mater appear.

 Sorry that my post was apprehended as careless!

 Friendly regards

 Krassimir











 *From:* Stanley N Salthe ssal...@binghamton.edu

 *Sent:* Saturday, June 13, 2015 3:30 PM

 *To:* Krassimir Markov mar...@foibg.com

 *Subject:* Re: [Fis] Philosophy, Computing, and Information - apologies!



 Krassimir -- ???  I fail to understand your assertion.  This (and any
 hierarchy) is a logical formulation, allowing us to allocate influences
 from various aspects of nature in an orderly manner.



 So, please explain further your careless assertion!



 STAN



 On Fri, Jun 12, 2015 at 5:18 PM, Krassimir Markov mar...@foibg.com
 wrote:

 Dear John and Stan,

 Your both hierarchies are good only if you believe in God.

 But this is 

Re: [Fis] It from Bit redux . . .

2015-06-14 Thread Jeremy Sherman
Amen.

On Sun, Jun 14, 2015 at 5:22 PM, Marcus Abundis 55m...@gmail.com wrote:

 From Loet's post:
 During the recent conference in Vienna, I was amazed how many of our
 colleagues wish to ground information in physics.
 I would say that I was disappointed . . .

 For me this exchange on It from Bit is problematic as its seems to simply
 revisit the same problem introduced with Shannon's use of the term
 “information“ in his Mathematical Theory of Communication – but dressed
 with a slightly different face. I had this same problem with “lack of
 precise thinking“ (or terminology?) in the It from Bit video from last
 month. This endless(?) debate around an old issue of “meaningful
 information“ versus “meaningless information“ (aka DATA awaiting MEANINGFUL
 interpretation) I find unhelpful in addressing FOUNDATIONAL issues. If we
 cannot keep our terms straight I am not sure how progress is made.

 Yes, of course physics has a place in the conversation, but the needless
 blurring of basic terms does not, I think, advance the project. If a basic
 nomenclature and/or taxonomy cannot be agreed and then abided in these
 conversations, it leaves me wondering how I might contribute. I am new to
 this group, but this seems like it should have been dealt with from the
 start in agreeing the FIS group goals.

 [image: --]
 Marcus Abundis
 [image: http://]about.me/marcus.abundis
 http://about.me/marcus.abundis?promo=email_sig


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Re: [Fis] Fis Digest, Vol 10, Issue 11

2015-01-17 Thread Jeremy Sherman
It would be satisfying perhaps to think of our collective work as at the
forefront of the development of what will become A Grand Domain of Science,
but I would say the better trend in current science is toward careful
integration between domains rather than toward established grand divisions,
which seems a more a classical approach. Doesn't information play out in
the biological and the social domains? Isn't our most ambitious goal here
to explain scientifically the relationship between information and the
physical domain?

Whether modest or foolhardy as Terry suggests or of some other stature,
Terry's approach addresses the source of the great schism in all academic
and intellectual circles: Physical scientists are appropriately barred from
explaining behavior in terms of the value of information for some
end-directed self about, or representative of anything. But biological and
social scientists can't help but explain behavior in those terms. Focusing,
precisely on possible transitions from the physical domain to the living
and social domains is exactly what a scientific approach demands.

Lacking an explanation for the transition from mechanism to end-directed
behavior (which is inescapably teleological down to its roots in function
or adaptation--behaviors of value to a self about its environment), science
is stuck, siloed into isolated domains without a rationale.

To my mind, this makes the implications of meticulous work at the very
border between mechanism and end-directed behavior anything but modest in
its possible implications. In this I agree with Pedro. With what we now
know about self-organization-- how it is footing on the physical side for a
bridge from mechanism to end-directed behavior but does not itself provide
the bridge,  we are perfectly poised to build the bridge itself, through an
integrated science that explains the ontology of epistemology, providing
solid scientific ground over the absolutely huge gaping hole in the middle
of the broadest reaches of scientific and philosophical  endeavor.

Whether Terry's work or someone else's work bridges that gap, I predict
that, at long last, the gap can and will be finally filled, probably within
the next decade. As ambitious researchers this would be a lousy time for
any of us, Terry included, to stick to our guns in the face of substantial
critique revealing how a theory we embrace merely provides a new, more
clever way way to hide or smear over the gap pretending it isn't there,
which is why I would love to see this discussion refocus on the article's
detailed content. Though the implications of this research at the
borderline may be grand, the research, in the doing, is as Terry implies as
modest any careful scientific work.

Jeremy Sherman

On Sat, Jan 17, 2015 at 5:06 AM, Moisés André Nisenbaum 
moises.nisenb...@ifrj.edu.br wrote:

 Hi, Pedro.
 I didnt receive th image (Figure 1. The Four Great Domains of Science)
 Would you please send it again?

 Thank you.

 Moises

 2015-01-17 9:00 GMT-02:00 fis-requ...@listas.unizar.es:

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 Today's Topics:

1. Re: Beginnings and ends---Steps to a theory of reference 
   significance (Pedro C. Marijuan)


 -- Mensagem encaminhada --
 From: Pedro C. Marijuan pcmarijuan.i...@aragon.es
 To: 'fis' fis@listas.unizar.es
 Cc:
 Date: Fri, 16 Jan 2015 12:43:40 +0100
 Subject: Re: [Fis] Beginnings and ends---Steps to a theory of reference 
 significance
  Dear Terry and FIS colleagues---and pirates,

 Just a brief reflection on the below.

  (From Terry's last message)...
 So my goal in this case is quite modest, and yet perhaps also a bit
 foolhardy. I want to suggest a simplest possible model system to use
 as the basis for formalizing the link between physical processes and
 semiotic processes. Perhaps someday after considerably elaborating
 this analysis it could contribute to issues of the psychology of human
 interactions. I hope to recruit some interest into pursuing this goal.

 In my view, any research endeavor is also accompanied by some ultimate
 goals or ends that go beyond the quite explicit disciplinary ones. In this
 case, say, about the destiny of the constructs that would surround the
 information concept (or the possibility of framing an informational
 perspective, or a renewed information science, or whatever), wouldn't it be
 interesting discussing in extenso what could that ultimate vision?

 I mean, most of us may agree in quite many points related to the
 microphysical ( thermodynamic

Re: [Fis] Steps to a theory of reference significance

2015-01-09 Thread Jeremy Sherman
Hi Pedro,

Jeremy Sherman here, a long-time pirate. Pleased to meet you. You say:

I am also critical with the autogenesis model systems--wouldn't it be far
clearer approaching a (relatively) simple prokaryotic cell and discuss upon
its intertwining of the communication and self-production arrangements? The
way a bacterium sees the world, and reorganizes its living, could be a
very useful analysis. I think it leads to a slightly different outcome
regarding reference/significance, and meaning/value/fitness.

Terry and the Pirates have a long standing rule: One cannot employ as
explanation that which hasn't yet been explained. Failing to hold this
standard opens researchers up to merely taxonomical work, positing forces,
properties and capacities defined solely by their consequences, in effect
mistaking questions as answers. Hence, our focus on exploring reference at
its earliest possible emergence, and explaining exactly how that emergence
occurs, since emergence is also a question, not an answer, an explanandum
not an explanan.

Somewhat related, I recently came across this:

*Epistemological particularism* is the belief that one can know something
without knowing how one knows that thing.[1]
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Epistemological_particularism#cite_note-1 By
this understanding, one's knowledge is justified before one knows how such
belief could be justified. Taking this as a philosophical approach, one
would ask the question What do we know? before asking How do we know?
The term appears in Roderick Chisholm
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roderick_Chisholm's The Problem of the
Criterion http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Problem_of_the_Criterion, and in
the work of his student, Ernest Sosa
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ernest_Sosa (The Raft and the Pyramid:
Coherence versus Foundations in the Theory of Knowledge). Particularism is
contrasted with Methodism
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Methodism_(philosophy), which answers the
latter question before the former. Since the question What do we know
implies that we know, particularism is considered fundamentally
anti-skeptical, and was ridiculed by Kant
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Immanuel_Kant in the*Prolegomena
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prolegomena*.

We Pirates do what we can to stay on the epistemological methodist side of
things.

Even the simplest prokaryotic cell is extraordinarily complex. We don't
want to run before we can walk.  The briskest runners-before-walkers are
those who want to go straight from physics to human consciousness, a leap
that we think makes the endeavor thoroughly intractable.

Best,

Jeremy

On Thu, Jan 8, 2015 at 4:48 AM, Pedro C. Marijuan pcmarijuan.i...@aragon.es
 wrote:

 Dear Terry and colleagues,

 Thanks a lot for the opening text! It is a well crafted Essay full of very
 detailed contents. My impression is that the microphysics of information
 has been solved elegantly --at least at the level of today's relevant
 knowledge-- with your work and the works of related authors, one of them
 Karl Friston, who could be linked as a complementary approach to yours (in
 particular his recent Life as we know it, Royal Society Interface
 Journal, 10: 20130475). His Bayesian approach to life's organization,
 coupled with (variational) free energy minimization principle, conduces
 to the emergence of homeostasis and a simple form of autopoiesis, as well
 as the organization of perception/action later on. Thus, quite close to
 your approach on autogenic systems. About the different sections of the
 Essay, the very detailed points you deal with in section 4 (steps to a
 formalization of reference)  are, in my opinion, the  conceptual core and
 deserve a careful inspection, far more than these rushed comments. In any
 case, the relationship Boltzmann-Shannon entropies has been cleared quite
 elegantly.

 However, for my taste the following sections have not sufficiently opened
 the panorama. And with this I start some critical appreciations. Perhaps
 the microphysics of information is not the critical stumbling block to me
 removed for the advancement of the informational perspective. We could
 remain McLuhan's stance on Shannon's information theory and von Neumann's
 game theory... yes, undoubtedly important advancements, but not the
 essential stuff of information. But in this list there are people far more
 versed in McLuhan's contents and whether the caveats he raised would
 continue to apply (obviously in a different way). I am also critical with
 the autogenesis model systems--wouldn't it be far clearer approaching a
 (relatively) simple prokaryotic cell and discuss upon its intertwining of
 the communication and self-production arrangements? The way a bacterium
 sees the world, and reorganizes its living, could be a very useful
 analysis. I think it leads to a slightly different outcome regarding
 reference/significance, and meaning/value/fitness.

 If we look at the whole view of the information world (human societies,
 behaving