Re: [Fis] Is information physical? A logical analysis

2018-05-17 Thread Jose Javier Blanco Rivero
Dear FISers,

I recently came across an old interview to W. van Orman Quine and I got an
idea -maybe  not very original per se. Quine distinguishes two kind of
philosophical problems: ontological (those referred to the existence of
things) and predicative (what can we say and know about things). Against
Quine materialism I came across the idea that ontological problems are
undecidable -I think of Turing's Halting problem. The fact is that we
cannot leave the predicative realm. All we have as scientists is
scientifical statements (therefore I think of Science as a communicative
social system differentiated from its environment by means of a code -I
think Loet would agree with me in this point). As a system (I mean not the
social system, but the set of statements taken as a unity) they all are
incomplete. There are many ways to deal with it, as logicians have shown
(in this point I confess I would need to examine carefully B. Marchal's
ideas. I think I have many points of agreement with him but also of
disagreement -but honestly I currently lack the knowledge to undertake a
thorough discussion). Self-reference, I think, is one of the most coherent
ways to deal with it. But this means we have to learn to deal with
Accordingly, as information theorist we would need to identify the
constitutive paradox of information and next unfold that paradox in a set
of statements that represent what we know about information. The problem is
that although we can have the intuition that information is real, physical
as has been said, it cannot be proved. An external reference like "reality
", if we look carefully, acts as regulatory function within the system. I
remember that in the "Science of the Society", Luhmann devised the concept
of consistency proofs (Konsistenzprüfung).But reality as such, the Ding an
sich, is inaccessible. In conclusion, Quine would say that we should not be
asking us a question that cannot be answered.


El may 16, 2018 11:24 PM, "Burgin, Mark"  escribió:

>Dear FISers,
>It was an interesting discussion, in which many highly intelligent and
> creative individuals participated expressing different points of view. Many
> interesting ideas were suggested. As a conclusion to this discussion, I
> would like to suggest a logical analysis of the problem based on our
> intrinsic and often tacit assumptions.
>To great extent, our possibility to answer the question “Is information
> physical? “ depends on our model of the world. Note that here physical
> means the nature of information and not its substance, or more exactly, the
> substance of its carrier, which can be physical, chemical biological or
> quantum. By the way, expression “quantum information” is only the way of
> expressing that the carrier of information belongs to the quantum level of
> nature. This is similar to the expressions “mixed numbers” or “decimal
> numbers”, which are only forms or number representations and not numbers
> themselves.
>   If we assume that there is only the physical world, we have, at first,
> to answer the question “Does information exist? “ All FISers assume that
> information exists. Otherwise, they would not participate in our
> discussions. However, some people think differently (cf., for example,
> Furner, J. (2004) Information studies without information).
>Now assuming that information exists, we have only one option, namely,
> to admit that information is physical because only physical things exist.
>If we assume that there are two worlds - information is physical, we
> have three options assuming that information exists:
> - information is physical
> - information is mental
> - information is both physical and mental
> Finally, coming to the Existential Triad of the World, which comprises
> three worlds - the physical world, the mental world and the world of
> structures, we have seven options assuming that information exists:
> - information is physical
> - information is mental
> - information is structural
> - information is both physical and mental
> - information is both physical and structural
> - information is both structural and mental
> - information is physical, structural and mental
>  The solution suggested by the general theory of information tries to
> avoid unnecessary multiplication of essences suggesting that information
> (in a general sense) exists in all three worlds but … in the physical
> world, it is called *energy*, in the mental world, it is called *mental
> energy*, and in the world of structures, it is called *information* (in
> the strict sense). This conclusion well correlates with the suggestion of
> Mark Johnson that information is both physical and not physical only the
> general theory of information makes this idea more exact and testable.
>In addition, being in the world of structures, information in the
> strict sense is represented in two other worlds by its representations and
> carriers. 

[Fis] Just a few words about substrate

2018-04-27 Thread Jose Javier Blanco Rivero
Dear fellows,

Let us not forget that the talk about substrate can be misleading if it is
not taken into account that communication itself produces a "double bind"
(Bateson  and Watzlawick)or "double closure " (von Foerster), that is, for
every statement made it allows a set of suppositions to lay underneath, and
for every current statement a set of possible further statements. As a
consequence, care should be taken that the substrate we are talking about
is not an outcome of the communication process.
If scientific communication would orientate itself by means of the concept
of medium, this shall makes us aware of the conditions of possibility
allowed to enter and play a role within the states of affairs to be dealt


El abr 27, 2018 4:36 PM, "Louis H Kauffman"  escribió:

Dear Folks,
I suspect I am past quota for the week. Apologies for that.
1. Work in logic and mathematics is scientific even if mathematicians and
logicians sometimes deny being scientists.
2. Exact work is logical work coupled with precise and repeatable methods
of measurement.
3. The point about mathematics and logic is that it is independent of the
substrate on which it is apparently performed.
This is what I mean by statements such as “all computations exist
independently of the existence of anything physical”.
You may say, yes, but computations or reasonings cannot occur without some
I almost agree, but point out to you that since you use reasoning, concept
and observation to conjecture and verify the properties of substrates
(physical or even conceptual) there is a circularity here.
4. We come to know substrates such as physicality through reason and
We come to know reason and measurement through the support of our physical
and biological substrates.
We come to investigate both reason and physicality through each other and
our ability to sense and feel.
Sensing and feeling and measurement are our terms for those places where
concept and the physical arise together in our perception.
5. Beyond those places where significant related pairs of opposites that
cannot be separated (complementarities) occur there is our (in at least my
personal reality of unity — whereof nothing can be said.
6. We cannot sever philosophy and logic and reason from science, AND for
science we must open to the largest possible access to precision and

On Apr 27, 2018, at 4:38 AM, wrote:

Dear Bruno,
You claim: "all computations exists independently of the existence of
anything physical".
I never heard, apart probably from Berkeley and Tegmark, a more untestable,
metaphyisical, a-scientific, unquantifiable claim.

Dear FISers, we NEED to deal with something testable and quantifiable,
otherwise we are doing philosophy and logic, not science!  Even if
information is (as many FISers suggest) at least in part not physical, we
NEED to focus just on the testable part, i.e., the physical one.  And, even
if physics does not exist, as Bruno states, at least it gives me something
quantifiable and useful for my pragmatic purposes.
Even if information is something subjective in my mind (totally untestable,
but very popular claim) who cares, by a scientific standpoint?
If I say that Julius Caesar was killed by an alien, the theory is
fashinating, but useless, unless I provide proofs or testable clues.

Inviato da Libero Mail per Android
venerdì, 27 aprile 2018, 10:10AM +02:00 da Bruno Marchal

Hi Lou, Colleagues,

On 25 Apr 2018, at 16:55, Louis H Kauffman  wrote:

Dear Krassimir and Mark,
Let us not forget the intermediate question:
How is information independent of the choice of carrier?
This is the fruitful question in my opinion, and it avoids the problem of
assigning existence to that which is relational.

The same problem exists for numbers and other mathematical entities. Does
the number 2 exist without any couples?
The mathematical answer is to construct a standard couple (e.g. { { }, {{}}
} in set theory or two marks || in formalism) and say that
a collection has cardinality two if it can be placed in 1-1 correspondence
with the standard couple. In this way of speaking we do not have to
assign an existence to two as a noun. The Russelian alternative  — to take
two to be the collection of all couples — is a fascinating intellectual
move, but
I prefer to avoid it by not having to speak of the existence of two in such
a way. Two is a concept and it is outside of formal systems and outside of
the physical
except in that we who have that concept are linked with formalism and
linked with the apparent physical.

And let us not forget the other question.
What is "the physical”?
What we take to be physical arises as a relation between our sensing (and
generalized sensing) and our ability to form concepts.
To imagine that the “physical” exists independent of that relation is an
extra assumption that is not necessary 

Re: [Fis] Is information physical?

2018-04-25 Thread Jose Javier Blanco Rivero
Dear all,

Following the ideas of Mark, Lou,   Krassimir and Arturo, I think it is
worth to insist on a proposal I made in this forum a few months ago. That
is, the thesis of a general theory of communication media.
(Before going on I would like to remark that the concepts used here do not
designate essences but functions, they are thought as answers to
how-questions and not to what-questions)
Instead of talking about carriers or substrates of information, we should
be talking about communication media. Because, as Krassimir remarked,
information can only become information in the context of a medium
-material or not.
As a medium can operate any redundant pattern and/or self organized
process. Being information the result of or distinctions traced by this
self driven process in an effort to  fix its own structures according to
the constraints set by its environment and by its own actual possibilities
of actualizing determined states of itself. Talking about communication
would make sense as long as there are information processing, therefore
redundance, and selection of information. It also makes sense as long as
way to describe the evolution of the behavior of systems that interact
somehow becoming interdependent to some degree.  As Arturo points out,
anthropocentrism -and I would add: a persistent philosophy of
consciousness- is rather an obstacle. Any selfrerential  and selforganized
system can draw distinctions, process information and communicate. But we
should take care to distinguish the very medium that make that system
possible (which can be the domain of the physical, that is, the domain of
existence of the observable and mensurable) and the media that function
more or less regularly to the purpose of communication.
I remember I also criticized the idea of information transmission.
Information  is not transmitted. Regular patterns are instrumentalized to
codify a symbolic system. When this occurs a technical medium of
communication has been developed.
I know there would be many flaws other general setting of this proposal,
but I also think it is a thought worth to be followed  and perfectioned.
This would not lead astray of information science. On the contrary, it lays
inside its very spirit. Elemental units such as information are related to
wider contexts such as communication. It is up to theory to put together
that unity.

El abr 24, 2018 10:49 PM, "Burgin, Mark"  escribió:

> Dear Colleagues,
> I would like to suggest the new topic for discussion
>   Is information physical?
> My opinion is presented below:
>Why some people erroneously think that information is physical
>The main reason to think that information is physical is the strong
> belief of many people, especially, scientists that there is only physical
> reality, which is studied by science. At the same time, people encounter
> something that they call information.
>When people receive a letter, they comprehend that it is information
> because with the letter they receive information. The letter is physical,
> i.e., a physical object. As a result, people start thinking that
> information is physical. When people receive an e-mail, they comprehend
> that it is information because with the e-mail they receive information.
> The e-mail comes to the computer in the form of electromagnetic waves,
> which are physical. As a result, people start thinking even more that
> information is physical.
>However, letters, electromagnetic waves and actually all physical
> objects are only carriers or containers of information.
>To understand this better, let us consider a textbook. Is possible to
> say that this book is knowledge? Any reasonable person will tell that the
> textbook contains knowledge but is not knowledge itself. In the same way,
> the textbook contains information but is not information itself. The same
> is true for letters, e-mails, electromagnetic waves and other physical
> objects because all of them only contain information but are not
> information. For instance, as we know, different letters can contain the
> same information. Even if we make an identical copy of a letter or any
> other text, then the letter and its copy will be different physical objects
> (physical things) but they will contain the same information.
>Information belongs to a different (non-physical) world of knowledge,
> data and similar essences. In spite of this, information can act on
> physical objects (physical bodies) and this action also misleads people who
> think that information is physical.
>One more misleading property of information is that people can measure
> it. This brings an erroneous assumption that it is possible to measure only
> physical essences. Naturally, this brings people to the erroneous
> conclusion that information is physical. However, measuring information is
> essentially different than measuring physical 

Re: [Fis] Meta-observer?

2018-03-03 Thread Jose Javier Blanco Rivero
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

[Fis] Fwd: Re: The unification of the theories of information based on the cateogry theory

2018-02-10 Thread Jose Javier Blanco Rivero
-- Mensaje reenviado --
De: "Jose Javier Blanco Rivero" <>
Fecha: feb 10, 2018 9:35 AM
Asunto: Re: [Fis] The unification of the theories of information based on
the cateogry theory
Para: <>

Dear Xueshan,

Thanks for sharing your interesting remarks and references. I think no one
really wants to deny the crucial role the language metaphor has played in
the thinking of communication and information models. But I believe the
crucial point is to distinguish between language and communication.
Language is for us humans the main communication medium, though not the
only one. We tend to describe other communication media in society and
nature by mapping the language-like characteristics they have. This has
been useful and sucessful so far. But pushing the language metaphor too far
is showing its analytical limits. I think we need to think of a
transdisciplinary theory of communication media.
On the other hand, I agree with you that we need to check the uses of the
concepts of signal and information. I think that only signals can be
transmitted, not information. Information can only be gained by an observer
(a self-referential system) that draws a distinction.


El feb 10, 2018 5:23 AM, "Xueshan Yan" <> escribió:

> Dear Colleagues,
> I have read the article "The languages of bacteria" which Gordana
> recommended, and has gained a lot of inspiration from it. In combination
> with Sung's comparative linguistics exploration on cell language and human
> language, I have the following learning feelings to share with everyone:
> In this article, the author recognized that bacteria have evolved multiple
> languages for communicating within and between species. Intra- and
> interspecies cell-cell communication allows bacteria to coordinate various
> biological activities in order to behave like multicellular organisms. Such
> as AI-2, it is a general language that bacteria use for intergenera
> signaling.
> I found an interesting phenomenon in this paper: the author use the
> concept *information* 3 times but the concept *signal* (signal or
> signaling) 55 times, so we have to review the history and application of
> “information” and “signal” in biology and biochemistry, it is helpful for
> us to understand the relationship between language, signal, and information.
> The origin of the concept of signal (main the signal transduction) can be
> traced back to the end of the 1970s. But until 1980, biochemist and
> endocrinologist Martin Rodbell published an article titled: “The Role of
> Hormone Receptors and GTP-Regulatory Proteins in Membrane Transduction" in 
> *Nature,
> *in this paper he used the "signal transduction" first time. Since then,
> the research on signal transduction is popular in biology and biochemistry.
> As for any information transmission system, if we pay more attention to
> its transmission carrier instead of its transmission content, we are used
> to employing "signal transmission" instead of "signal transduction". From
> the tradition of the early use of information concept, the signal
> transduction study of cells is only equivalent to the level of
> telecommunications before 1948. Outwardly, before the advent of Shannon's
> information theory, the central issue of telecommunications is "signal"
> rather than "information". After that, the central issue of
> telecommunications is "information" rather than "signal".
> According to the application history of information concept, nearly all
> the essential problems behind the concepts of communication, messenger,
> signal and so on may be information problems. Just as the language problem
> what we are discussing here, our ultimate goal is to analyze the
> information.
> For the same reason, I recommend another two papers:
> 1. Do Plants Think?  (June 5, 2012, *Scientific American*)
> (
> aniel-chamovitz/#rd?sukey=fc78a68049a14bb24ce82efd8ef931e640
> 57ce6142b1f2f7b919612d2b3f42c07f559f5be33be0881613ccfbf5b43c4b)
> 2. Plants Can Think, Feel and Learn  (December 3, 2014, *New Scientist*)
> (
> elligence-plants-can-think-feel-and-learn)
> From which we can judge whether or not a plants informatics can exists.
> Best wishes,
> Xueshan
> *From:* []
> *On Behalf Of *Sungchul Ji
> *Sent:* Thursday, February 8, 2018 9:10 PM
> *To:* Francesco Rizzo <>; Terrence W. DEACON <
> dea.

Re: [Fis] The unification of the theories of information based on the cateogry theory

2018-02-07 Thread Jose Javier Blanco Rivero
In principle I agree with Terry. I have been thinking of this, though I am
still not able to make a sound formulation of the idea. Still I am afraid
that if I miss the chance to make at least a brief formulation of it I will
lose the opportunity to make a brainstorming with you. So, here it comes:

I have been thinking that a proper way to distinguish the contexts in which
the concept of information acquires a fixed meaning or the many contexts on
which information can be somehow observed, is to make use of the
distinction between medium and form as developed by N. Luhmann, D. Baecker
and E. Esposito. I have already expressed my opinion in this group that
what information is depends on the system we are talking about. But  the
concept of medium is more especific since a complex system ussualy has many
sources and types of information.
So the authors just mentioned, a medium can be broadly defined as a set of
loosely coupled elements. No matter what they are. While a Form is a
temporary fixed coupling of a limited configuration of those elements.
Accordingly, we can be talking about DNA sequences which are selected by
RNA to form proteins or to codify a especific instruction to a determinate
cell. We can think of atoms forming a specific kind of matter and a
specific kind of molecular structure. We can also think of a vocabulary or
a set of linguistic conventions making possible a meaningful utterance or
The idea is that the medium conditions what can be treated as information.
Or even better, each type of medium produces information of its own kind.
According to this point of view, information cannot be transmitted. It can
only be produced and "interpreted" out of the specific difference that a
medium begets between itself and the forms that take shape from it. A
medium can only be a source of noise to other mediums. Still, media can
couple among them. This means that media can selforganize in a synergetic
manner, where they depend on each others outputs or complexity reductions.
And this also mean that they do this by translating noise into information.
For instance, language is coupled to writing, and language and writing to
print. Still oral communication is noisy to written communication. Let us
say that the gestures, emotions, entonations, that we make when talking
cannot be copied as such into writing. In a similar way, all the social
practices and habits made by handwriting were distorted by the introduction
of print. From a technical point of view you can codify the same message
orally, by writing and by print. Still information and meaning are not the
same. You can tell your girlfriend you love her. That interaction face to
face where the lovers look into each others eye, where they can see if the
other is nervous, is trembling or whatever. Meaning (declaring love and
what that implies: marriage, children, and so on) and information (he is
being sincere, she can see it in his eye; he brought her to a special
place, so he planned it, and so on) take a very singular and untranslatable
configuration. If you write a letter you just can say "I love you". You
shall write a poem or a love letter. Your beloved would read it alone in
her room and she would have to imagine everything you say. And  imagination
makes information and meaning to articulate quite differently as in oral
communication. It is not the same if you buy a love card in the kiosk and
send it to her. Maybe you compensate the simplicity of your message by
adding some chocolates and flowers. Again, information (jumm, lets see what
he bought her) and meaning are not the same. I use examples of social
sciences because that is my research field, although I have the intuition
that it could also work for natural sciences.


El feb 7, 2018 10:47 AM, "Sungchul Ji"  escribió:

> Hi  FISers,
> On 10/8/2017, Terry wrote:
> " So basically, I am advocating an effort to broaden our discussions and
> recognize that the term information applies in diverse ways to many
> different contexts. And because of this it is important to indicate the
> framing, whether physical, formal, biological, phenomenological,
> linguistic, etc.
> . . . . . . The classic syntax-semantics-pragmatics distinction introduced
> by Charles Morris has often been cited in this respect, though it too is in
> my opinion too limited to the linguistic paradigm, and may be misleading
> when applied more broadly. I have suggested a parallel, less linguistic
> (and nested in Stan's subsumption sense) way of making the division: i.e.
> into intrinsic, referential, and normative analyses/properties of
> information."
> I agree with Terry's concern about the often overused linguistic metaphor
> in defining "information".  Although the linguistic metaphor has its
> limitations (as all metaphors do), it nevertheless offers a unique
> advantage as well, for example, its well-established categories of
> functions (see the last column in 

Re: [Fis] If "data = information", why we need both concepts?

2017-10-03 Thread Jose Javier Blanco Rivero
Dear all,

What if, in order to understand information and its relationship with data
and meaning, we distinguish the kind of system we are talking about in each

We may distinguish systems by their type of operation and the form of their
selforganization. There are living systems, mind systems, social systems
and artificial systems.

What information is depends on the type of system we are talking about.
Maybe distinguishing between information and meaning in living systems and
artificial systems might not make much sense, but it is crucial for social
systems. Bits of information codify possibilities of experience and action
(following somewhat loosely Luhmanns social systems theory) and meaning
cristalizes when a posibility is fulfilled for a particular subsystem
(interaction systems, organizations...). The role of language in social
systems is another reason to distinguish information from meaning.
In artificial systems it might make sense to distinguish between data and
information, being data everything a computer needs to make a calculations
and information the results of those calculations that enable it to do more
calculations or to render an output of whatever kind. So what is
information at some stage of the process becomes data on other.

It is obvious that all of these systems operate closely intertwined. They
couple and decouple, retaining their specificity.

Best regards,
El oct 3, 2017 4:28 PM, "Guy A Hoelzer"  escribió:

> Dear Krassimir et al.,
> Your post provides an example of the importance that semantics plays in
> our discussions.  I have suggested on several occasions that statements
> about ‘information’ should explicitly distinguish between a purely
> heuristic definition, such as those involving ‘meaning’, and definitions
> focused on a physical phenomena.  I personally prefer to adopt the latter
> definition, which would make your post false.  For example, when I type the
> symbol ‘Q’ I have created information because there is a contrast between
> white and black regions of its local space.  Meaning is utterly irrelevant
> to the attribute of ‘information’ from this perspective.  I can create an
> instance of information by writing ‘Q’, and you can receive that
> information by viewing it, even if it means nothing to either of us.  The
> symbol ‘Q’ might be attached to some meaning for one or both of us, but for
> me that is irrelevant to the question of information content which can be
> measured in  a variety of ways in this example.  If we agree on a symbolic
> meaning of ‘Q’, then the information transfer can also carry the transfer
> of ‘meaning’.
> In other words, I would argue that data is indeed information, unless it
> is perfectly uniform.  Meaning is attached to data by putting the data in
> the context of a theory, but this is an analytical option.  For example,
> you could always display the data on graphs without a theoretical context,
> and such an analysis might make trends or patterns more evident, even
> without meaning attached.  Descriptive or observational data are often
> presented this way in young scientific disciplines that have yet to develop
> a rich theoretical context in which to interpret the meaning of data.
> On the other hand, if you start by explicitly stating that you are using
> the semantic notion of information at the start, I would agree whole
> heartedly with your post.
> Best Wishes,
> Guy
> > On Oct 3, 2017, at 4:16 AM, Krassimir Markov  wrote:
> >
> > Dear John and FIS Colleagues,
> >
> > I am Computer Science specialist and I never take data to be information.
> >
> > For not specialists maybe it is normal "data to be often taken to be
> > information" but this is not scientific reasoning.
> >
> > Simple question: if "data = information", why we need both concepts?
> >
> >
> > Friendly greetings
> >
> > Krassimir
> >
> >
> > Dear list,
> >
> >
> > As Floridi points out in his Information. Oxford: Oxford University
> Press,
> > 2010. A volume for the Very Short Introduction series. data is often
> taken
> > to be information. If so, then the below distinction is somewhat
> > arbitrary. It may be useful or not. I think that for some circumstances
> it
> > is useful, but for others it is misleading, especially if we are trying
> to
> > come to grips with what meaning is. I am not sure there is ever data
> > without interpretation (it seems to me that it is always assumed to be
> > about something). There are, however, various degrees and depths of
> > interpretation, and we may have data at a more abstract level that is
> > interpreted as meaning something less abstract, such as pointer readings
> > of a barometer and air pressure. The pointer readings are signs of air
> > pressure. Following C.S. Peirce, all signs have an interpretant. We can
> > ignore this (abstraction) and deal with just pointer readings of a
> > particular design of gauge, and take this to be the data, but 


2017-09-15 Thread Jose Javier Blanco Rivero
Dear Arturo,

Math is indeed a language that CAN describe scientific issues, but it is
not the only one. And its ability to cuantify scientific issues do not
necesarily make it superior.
Math and natural language face the same formal and logical problems: they
cannot make staments about themselves without falling into contradictions
or paradoxes (as can be inferred from Gödel).
And your statement is certainly self-contradictory: if it is true then it
is contradicted by the form of its performance (semantics).

Best regards,
El sep 15, 2017 10:17 AM, "" 

Dear FISers,
I'm sorry for bothering you,
but I start not to agree from the very first principles.

The only language able to describe and quantify scientific issues is
Without math, you do not have observables, and information is observable.
Therefore, information IS energy or matter, and can be examined through
entropies (such as., e.g., the Bekenstein-Hawking one).

And, please, colleagues, do not start to write that information is
subjective and it depends on the observer's mind. This issue has been
already tackled by the math of physics: science already predicts that
information can be "subjective", in the MATHEMATICAL frameworks of both
relativity and quantum dynamics' Copenhagen interpretation.
Therefore, the subjectivity of information is clearly framed in a TOTALLY
physical context of matter and energy.

Sorry for my polemic ideas, but, if you continue to define information on
the basis of qualitative (and not quantitative) science, information
becomes metaphysics, or sociology, or psychology (i.e., branches with
doubtful possibility of achieving knowledge, due to their current lack of

*Arturo Tozzi*

AA Professor Physics, University North Texas

Pediatrician ASL Na2Nord, Italy

Comput Intell Lab, University Manitoba

Messaggio originale
Da: "Pedro C. Marijuan" 
Data: 15/09/2017 14.13
A: "fis"

Dear FIS Colleagues,

As promised herewith the "10 principles of information science". A couple
of previous comments may be in order.
First, what is in general the role of principles in science? I was
motivated by the unfinished work of philosopher Ortega y Gasset, "The idea
of principle in Leibniz and the evolution of deductive theory"
(posthumously published in 1958). Our tentative information science seems
to be very different from other sciences, rather multifarious in appearance
and concepts, and cavalierly moving from scale to scale. What could be the
specific role of principles herein? Rather than opening homogeneous realms
for conceptual development, these information principles would appear as a
sort of "portals" that connect with essential topics of other disciplines
in the different organization layers, but at the same time they should try
to be consistent with each other and provide a coherent vision of the
information world.
And second, about organizing the present discussion, I bet I was too
optimistic with the commentators scheme. In any case, for having a first
glance on the whole scheme, the opinions of philosophers would be very
interesting. In order to warm up the discussion, may I ask John Collier,
Joseph Brenner and Rafael Capurro to send some initial comments /
criticisms? Later on, if the commentators idea flies, Koichiro Matsuno and
Wolfgang Hofkirchner would be very valuable voices to put a perspectival
end to this info principles discussion (both attended the Madrid bygone FIS
1994 conference)...
But this is FIS list, unpredictable in between the frozen states and the
chaotic states! So, everybody is invited to get ahead at his own, with the
only customary limitation of two messages per week.

Best wishes, have a good weekend --Pedro


1. Information is information, neither matter nor energy.

2. Information is comprehended into structures, patterns, messages, or

3. Information can be recognized, can be measured, and can be  processed
(either computationally or non-computationally).

4. Information flows are essential organizers of life's self-production
processes--anticipating, shaping, and mixing up with the accompanying
energy flows.

5. Communication/information exchanges among adaptive life-cycles underlie
the complexity of biological organizations at all scales.

6. It is symbolic language what conveys the essential communication
exchanges of the human species--and constitutes the core of its "social

7. Human information may be systematically converted into efficient
knowledge, by following the "knowledge instinct" and further up by applying
rigorous methodologies.

8. Human cognitive limitations on knowledge accumulation are partially
overcome via the social organization of "knowledge ecologies."

9. Knowledge circulates and recombines socially, in a continuous

Re: [Fis] Toward a Calculus of Redundancy: Signification, Codification, and Anticipation in Cultural Evolution; preprint

2017-09-04 Thread Jose Javier Blanco Rivero
Dear Loet,

I want to thank you for sharing this insightful article. I myself have been
experimenting with the difference between information and meaning, although
from a different background -that of intellectual history.
Your essay deserves a thoughtful a comment which I cannot attempt here. But
I´d would like to make some remarks.

1. I´ve been working with Luhmann too and I strongly desagree with
translating "Sinn" by "meaning" -although Luhmann himself might have
agreed. In the Spanish traslation of Social Systems, for example, they make
a more loyal translation from the German (they translate Sinn by "sentido"
and not by "significado"). I think it is more than a idiomatic question,
since distinguishing between sense-making (Sinn), information and meaning
might give us insight into the obscure process of meaning and knowlegde
processing that we are trying to clear out.
Sense-making might not be a good candidate for an english speaker, but I
think it works quite well when you need to distinguish between linguistic
meanings  (those produced directly by language and discourse) and the
pragmatics of communication. When you make sense of something, that
involves semantics and pragmatics,that involves linguistic meaning and
information processing from the social environment.
By the way, in that very page you cite Luhmann (1995, p.67) the German
sociologist draws a distinction between "Sinn" and Information, arguing
that is time what makes it important, because information only informs
once, but maintains its "meaning" when repeated.

2. I´ve noticed that in previous papers you have argued that meaning is
communicated, but here you say "Unlike information, meaning is not
communicated" (p. 3). So, have you changed your mind? Why?

3. I agree with your thesis that the processing of meaning and the
processing of information are two different but related things. But I have
some doubts about the relationship between meaning, information and coding.
You say when meaning is assigned to information, options arise and so does
redundancy, but the proliferation of meanings is restrained by coding; and
that codes structure the processing of meaning acting as a selection
mechanism on redundancy.  I might recognize that meaning be coded, for
instance, by being coupled to a binary opposition (the concept of nature
"physis" has oscillated around the poles of generation and degeneration).
But cannot information be coded as well? For instance, incursive and
hyper-incursive operations may be guided by selective mechanisms, or codes
that contribute to the differentiation of the system and can account for
its Eigenbehavior (I´m thinking of Luhmann´s functional systems). And
redundancy might also be informative and semantic. I can think of semantic
(or meaning) redundancy when examining intellectual traditions (Liberalism,
Communism, etc.) Hence, self organization of meaning do not always coincide
with the self organization of information that drives systems

4. I wonder why to remain attached to the sender-receiver model of
communication. It seems inadecuate to me in such a sofisticated theoretical
arrengement you propose.

5. I think the question of time is not adequately dealt with. I wonder how
can one measure (Hmax) and (Hsystem) in a social system. If we are dealing
with complex systems (and social systems are indeed complex) the system
itself cannot know (Hmax). And if an observer could, what kind of observer
could that be? On another hand, the realized states of the system are not
at the system`s disposition per se. The system needs some kind of memory
function by means of which it reconstructs past states in a relevant manner
to certain present. I think of the literature on historical memory, for
instance. The past as such is not there, but there remains material objects
(incluiding texts, videos and so on) from which a social system can
reconstruct its memory (or as Luhmann would say: resorting to schemes or

best regards,

José Javier

2017-09-03 11:06 GMT-03:00 Loet Leydesdorff :

> *Toward a Calculus of Redundancy:
> *
> *Signification, Codification, and Anticipation in Cultural Evolution
> *
> Loet Leydesdorff, Mark W. Johnson, and Inga Ivanova
> *Abstract*
> Whereas the generation of Shannon-type information is coupled to the
> second law of thermodynamics, redundancy—that is, the complement of
> information to the maximum entropy—can be increased by making further
> distinctions. The dynamics of discursive knowledge production can thus
> infuse the historical dynamics with a cultural evolution. Providing the
> information with meaning first proliferates the number of options. Meanings
> are provided with hindsight at positions in the vector space, as against
> relations in the network space. The main axes (eigenvectors) of the vector
> space 

Re: [Fis] Scientific communication (from Mark)

2016-10-15 Thread Jose Javier Blanco Rivero
Dear Fis members,

I have followed with interest the discussion and I have not intervened
until now since I am just a beginner in information theory. But from my
background in systems theory (Luhmann) and intellectual history, the
questions raised here are familiar to me. Louis has differentiated between
meaning and information, as I see it. And I think that distinction is of
particular relevance for social systems, such as science. Social systems
process meaning and information as well. They process meaning through
semantics. So science develops concepts and discusses about them.
Information is processed by the code of the science system, producing
redundance and variety at once. The permanent reproduction of meaning make
differences that lead an observer (maybe science itself) to indicate or
mark the 'apophatic', non linguistic, meaning surplus (Ricoeur), la penuria
lingüística (Gadamer)... Hermann Haken's concept of information adaptation
has been useful to me to illustrate this point: the difference between
Shannons information and semantic information and their feedback. Although
Haken does not properly distinguishes between meaning and information.
I am sorry if I'm leading astray the discussion.

Best regards,

Javier Blanco
El oct 14, 2016 2:59 p.m., "Louis H Kauffman"  escribió:

> 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
> > Deane Road
> > Bolton, BL3 5AB
> >
> > Office: T3 02
> >
> >
> > SKYPE: daigriffiths
> > UK Mobile +44 (0)749151559
> > Spanish Mobile: + 34 687955912
> > Work: + 44 (0)7826917705
> > (Please don't leave voicemail)
> > email:
> >
> >
> >
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