Re: [Fis] Cognitive Effects of Cognitive Research: Photographic evidence

2013-02-25 Thread Robert Ulanowicz
Quoting Loet Leydesdorff

 Dear Bob,

 I now read the book: the description of autocatalysis is very convincing. It
 really clarifies how a triple helix (of university-industry-government
 relations) can operate in generating synergy (reducing uncertainty).

Dear Loet,

I'm unsure to which book you are referring? A Third Window or Ecology, the
Ascendent Perspective?

 You then go on with Average Mutual Information (AMI). You don't mention
 that AMI (that most of us call mutual information) is necessary positive
 since a Shannon-type information, but that mutual information in more than
 two dimensions can be negative and thus used as an indicator of synergy or

It's true, I don't refer to the possibility of negative 3-D mutual  
information in any of my books. What Claudia Pahl-Wostl and I agreed  
to call information in the 3-D case was the entire ensemble (1+2+3+4)  
in the attached diagram. While 1 can go negative, the full ensemble  
does not.

Recall that information is always relative, so whether a particular  
component is viewed as information or as conditional entropy is a  
matter of perspective. For example, any of the ears 2, 3, or 4 can  
be viewed as a conditional entropy in the context of all three  
variables, or they can be viewed as information in the context of  
their respective binary associations.

Finally, Gennaro Auletta in his book, Cognitive Biology: Dealing with  
Information from Bacteria to Minds, maintains that complexity is a  
property of more than 2 dimensions and that the magnitude of the  
ears is a gauge of such complexity. His definition makes some sense  
in that an ear represents how two variables influence one another in  
complete abstraction of variation in the third -- certainly one  
manifestation of complex behavior.

 I usually make reference for this to Ulanowicz (1986, pp. 143 ff.). Is that
 methodologically the same argument? I assume so. Or have you taken these
 measurement issues also further?

That reference is fine. I really haven't taken this issue much  
further. I do remark on p336 of that the 3-D or  
higher mutual informations can be negative. Somewhere I also remarked  
that a negative mutual information might act like the Pauli-Exclusion  
principle in physics. That is, it would signify an untenable or  
unstable configuration. Unfortunately, I can't find where I wrote that  
speculation. Sorry.


The best as always,

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Re: [Fis] Cognitive Effects of Cognitive Research: Photographic evidence

2013-01-31 Thread Robert Ulanowicz
I'm most grateful to both Bob L. for sharing his manuscript with FIS  
and to Loet for his new ms on 3-D mutual information. (I am on the  
road, but will read it as soon as I return home.)

It's so gratifying to live long enough to see these leads in  
information theory taken up by others and improved upon. I've been  
working with them for over 30 years, and it was beginning to look as  
though my interest had been in vain. Thanks so much for paying  

Most now dismiss Shannon-type information as incapable of treating  
meaning, when, in fact, we have only begun to fathom the  
potentialities of multi-dimensional and conditional forms of the  
Shannon formulation. Carry-on!

There is an ambiguity in the meaning of redundancy in IT that I  
perhaps am responsible for. Conventional IT refers to redundancy as  
repetition of outcomes. In that sense it is connected with mutual  
information. I have always used the term to refer to multiplicity of  
pathways, or functional redundancy (as Henri Atlan called it). In  
that sense it is quantified by the conditional entropy. Of course,  
mutual information and conditional entropy are complementary  
attributes. I think Loet is using redundancy in the traditional sense.

Ed is quite correct in his disagreement with the 3rd Window. He has  
convinced me that most of what I had labeled Newtonian in my book  
was more the work of Leibniz and Euler of the school of Berliner  
Mechanik. I now labor to set the record straight.

Best regards to all!
Bob U.

Quoting Loet Leydesdorff

 Dear Bob,

 I should perhaps have clarified that in the text of which I sent the
 abstract around yesterday, I formulate at p. 10 (in honour of Bob Ulanowicz)
 as follows:

 With the same enthusiasm which Krippendorff (2009a) reports about Ashby
 (1969), one of us embraced this potentially negative sign in the mutual
 information in three dimensions as an indicator of potential reduction of
 uncertainty in Triple-Helix configurations once it was brought to his
 attention by Robert Ulanowicz, who had used the same indicator in the
 context of his ascendancy theory in mathematical biology (Ulanowicz, 1986:
 143). This same indicator is used across disciplines (see for an overview:
 Jakulin, 2005) and sometimes called configurational information, but it
 has remained controversial because it is poorly understood. As noted, a
 signed information measure cannot be interpreted in Shannon information
 theory, whereas alternative frameworks for its appreciation have remained
 ill-defined (Krippendorff, 1980, 2009a and b).

 arXiv:1301.6849  [pdf ]

 Mutual Redundancies in Inter-human Communication Systems: Steps Towards a
 Calculus of Processing Meaning

 Does the issue return in the book? Our argument is that this mutual
 information is a redundancy and can then be integrated into the framework
 of the mathematical theory of communication.

 Best wishes,



 Loet Leydesdorff

 Professor, University of Amsterdam
 Amsterdam School of Communications Research (ASCoR),
 Kloveniersburgwal 48, 1012 CX Amsterdam.
 Tel.: +31-20- 525 6598; fax: +31-842239111 ; ;

 From: [] On
 Behalf Of Bob Logan
 Sent: Thursday, January 31, 2013 5:02 AM
 To: fis
 Subject: Re: [Fis] Cognitive Effects of Cognitive Research: Photographic

 Dear Colleagues - I was very moved by Robert Ulanowicz's book A Third Window
 - I saw parallels with the work of McLuhan and a project I co-authored with
 Stuart Kauffman and others. That resulted in the attached paper. Some of you
 on FIS  will receive this email post twice as I do not know who all is on
 FIS - I am sending this post to all folks that were copied on emails to or
 from Robert Ulanowicz.

 I hope you will find time to read my paper and sent me your comments. If you
 like this paper I have another that I submitted to Zygon that deals with
 matters spiritual and theological also stimulated by Robert Ulanowicz's A
 3rd Window. I would be happy to send it to you.

 with kind regards to all - Bob Logan

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Re: [Fis] FW: The Information Flow

2012-11-19 Thread Robert Ulanowicz
Quoting John Collier

As I have tried to argue above, to avoid reductionism in reality as  
opposed to in logic and mathematics I think we need the additional  
condition of dissipation (what I call nonHamiltonian mechanics  
elsewhere -- the usual condition of conservation breaks down due to  
the loss of free energy to the system).


Your point underscores my earlier one. Dissipation is emblematic of  
entropic processes -- which make ours an open world. There's no  
wishing that away!


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Re: [Fis] The Information Flow

2012-11-12 Thread Robert Ulanowicz
Dear Pedro,

Roman  Littlefield is coming out with a volume along those lines  
entitled Beyond Mechanism

As for our Chinese colleagues, I find them more open to non-mechanical  
scenarios than are anglophones. All three of my books are being  
translated into Chinese. The first one, Growth and Development:  
Ecosystems Phenomenology has already been published.

The best to all,


 Dear colleagues,

 Yes, the foundations are trembling... as usual during quite long a  
 time. Maybe too many aspects have to be put into line in order to  
 have new, more consistent foundations for human knowledge. Until now  
 the different crisis of Mechanics, the dominant scientific culture,  
 have been solved at the small price of leaving conceptual  
 inconsistencies until the rug of brand new fields or subdisciplines  
 while at the same time fictive claims of unity of sceince,  
 reductionism, etc. were upheld. Good for mechanics, as probably  
 there were few competing options around --if any. Bad for the whole  
 human knowledge, as multidisciplinary schizophrenia has been  
 assumed as the natural state of mental health.

 My opinion is that information science should carefully examine the  
 problematic claims at the core of mechanical ways of explanation, as  
 some (many?) of them refer to the information stuff: unlimited  
 communication (even between physical elements), arbitrary partitions  
 and boundary conditions, ideal status of the acting laws of nature,  
 ominiscient observer, idealized nature of human knowledge  (no  
 neurodynamics of knowledge), disciplinary hierarchies versus  
 heterarchical interrelationships, logical versus social construction  
 and knowledge recombination, idealized social information, etc.etc.  
 Probably I have misconceived and wrongly expressed some of those  
 problems, but in any case it is unfortunate that there is a dense  
 feedback among them and a strong entrenchment with many others, so  
 the revision task becomes Herculean even if partially addressed.

 The big problem some of us see, and I tried to argument about that  
 in the last Beijing FIS meeting, is that without an entrance of some  
 partial aspect in the professional science system, none of the  
 those challenges has the slightest possibility of being developed in  
 the amateur mode/marginal science our studies are caught into.  
 Therefore a common challenge for FIS, the new ISIS society, ITHEA,  
 Symmetrion, INBIOSA, etc. is to take some piece or problem, with  
 practical implications, and enter it into the institutional system,  
 it does not matter where and by whom, and little by little expand  
 the initial stronghold with the collective support of all of us.  
 There is a terrific collection of individualities and scholars in  
 the FIS enterprise and the germane entities, so that any small  
 oficializing attempt should prosper quite soon.

 Let us think about that... there is hope for non-trembling  
 foundations! Provided we are institutionally clever.

 best wishes


 PS. by the way, I would like to hear in this list from our  
 flamboyant Beijing FIS Group, as without discussion they and the  
 colleagues at Wuhan are the best situated to try to respond  
 institutionally to the above challenge. My special greetings to all  
 the Chinese FIS friends!

 - Mensaje original -
 De: Koichiro Matsuno
 Fecha: Sábado, 3 de Noviembre de 2012, 6:11 am
 Asunto: Re: [Fis] The Information Flow


    Bob U said The foundations, they are trembling! I
 have taken it to imply that propositional
 calculus itself is also in a bad shape. This observation reminds
 me of the hanging paradox first
 invented by an American logician Arthur Prior more than 60 years
 ago. It goes like this:

    On a certain Saturday a judge sentenced a man to
 be hanged on Sunday or Monday at noon,
 stipulating at the same time that the man would not know the day
 of his hanging until the morning of
 the day itself. The condemned man argued that if he were hanged
 on Monday, he would be aware of the
 fact by noon on Sunday, and this would contravene the judge's
 stipulation. So the date of his
 hanging would have to be Sunday. Since, however, he had worked
 this out on Saturday, and so knew the
 date of his hanging the day before, the judge's stipulation was
 again contravened. The date,
 therefore, could not be Sunday either. The prisoner concluded
 that he would not be hanged at all.
 However, the official gazette issued on Tuesday reported that
 the man was hanged on last Sunday.

    The logician-prisoner (the externalist) was right
 in his deduction upon the trusted propositional
 calculus, while the judge (the internalist) was also right in
 faithfully executing the sentence. But
 both cannot be 

Re: [Fis] The Information Flow

2012-11-02 Thread Robert Ulanowicz
Quoting Pedro C. Marijuan

 First, following Gould's arguments on replaying life's tape, what
 would happen if we could replay the sciences' tape? Would we obtain a
 similar map of the sciences? Would we finally obtain the same ways of
 thinking  visions of the world? I do not think so. Historically, we
 could have had a very different system of the sciences... when the East
 and the West discovered each other before the scientific revolution
 (medieval travels of Marco Polo and Ruiz de Clavijo) and later on during
 the Enlightenment, there was a curious situation of alternative paths
 followed by each World. Joseph Needham's work summarizes the respective
 stronger and weaker points. The point is that scientific trajectories
 have to be re-examined along the different epochs, motivated either by
 external happenstances or just by the inner dynamics. And this is a
 problem of our time concerning the massive social experiment with
 accelerated information flows. We lack scientific guidance on important
 parts of the process ---not just the technological wizard.

Dear Pedro,

I heartily concur! Folks have been concerned with the contingent  
nature of science for a while now. One of the most prominent was John  
A. Wheeler, who dreamed up a metaphor for the development of science  
that I have included in several of my publications:


The development of science is like a game played by a number of guests  
at a dinner party. Waiting for dinner to be served, the guests elect  
to play the game “20 Questions” the object of which is to guess a  
word. In Wheeler’s version, one individual is sent out of the room,  
while those who remain are to decide upon a particular word. It is  
explained to the delegated person that upon returning, he/she will  
question each of the group in turn and the responses must take the  
form of a simple, unadorned “yes” or “no” until the questioner guesses  
the word. After the designated player leaves the room, one of the  
guests suggests that the group not choose a word. Rather, when the  
subject returns and poses the first question, the initial respondent  
is completely free to answer “yes” or “no” on unfettered whimsy.  
Similarly, the second person is at liberty to make either reply. The  
only condition upon the second person is that his/her response may not  
contradict the first reply. The restriction upon the third respondent  
is that that individual’s reply must not be dissonant with either of  
the first two answers, and so forth. The game ends when the subject  
asks, “Is the word X?” and the only response coherent with all  
previous replies is “Yes”.

After Wheeler, John A. 1980. Beyond the black hole. Pp. 341-375 In: H.  
Woolf (Ed.) Some Strangeness in the Proportion. Reading, PA:  


Now for a recent and more radical turn in this direction, I direct  
your attention to the work of historian of science, Ed Dellian Ed recently  
translated Principia from the Latin into German and discovered that  
most of  the contemporary renditions of Newton's second law don't  
correspond to Newton's narrative. In particular, we generally quote  
his second law as f=ma. Newton, however, left off with a geometric and  
discrete version of the second law of the form (f/mv)=c, a constant.  
The continuous, algebraic versions of mechanical laws trace rather to  
Liebnitz and Euler as what Dellian calls Berliner Mechanik. Newton  
argued strenuously against this direction! Dellian further contends  
that by remaining with Newton's geometric stance one could have  
avoided the necessity of creating the separate disciplines of  
thermodynamics and quantum physics, so that physics would have  
remained a more unified whole.

Ed's assertions caught my attention, because I have always been  
suspicious about the first law of thermodynamics (See p23ff in I have since  
come to the conclusion that when the continuum assumption is valid,  
the classical algebraic laws perform brilliantly. When they do not,  
they become useless, if not misleading. In particular, Elsasser warned  
us of their inapplicability in the face of heterogeneity

I have come to the conclusion that much of contemporary physics is  
dealing with la-la land and not reality. Take quantum entanglement,  
for example. Physicists would have us believe that an electron can be  
present in our lab or halfway across the universe, and will be  
resolved instantaneously upon measurement. Well, I can swallow  
entanglement within a space of say, 1,000 radii of an electron. But at  
macroscopic dimensions? Anyone who believes that fairy tale has never  
encountered the Buckingham-Pi Theorem (as most physicists 

Re: [Fis] Absence and life

2012-05-18 Thread Robert Ulanowicz
Dear Pedro,

You bring up an important item in regard to the autogen. It is a  
point of departure between myself and Terry. While his narrative is  
biomolecular, mine is in terms of configurations of processes. The  
difference is dimensional (mass vs mass/time), and dimensions are  
quite important to me as an engineer.

Of course, I don't go as far as Alicia and Terry into human  
psychology, but the chief difficulty with both of our scenarios  
involving autocatalysis is that it is exceedingly difficult to capture  
all the aspects of autocatalysis in terms of mechanical models. True,  
simplistic models of autocatalytic feedback can be constructed, but  
they cannot function with the same breadth as does the evolutionary  
agency. As a consequence, most will not buy into the assertions that  
autocatalysis exerts selection upon it members or gives rise to  
centripetal attraction -- both extremely important features currently  
absent from contemporary evolutionary theory, but readily observable  
(especially in a social/economic context).

My own guess as to why mechanical models fail is that difficulties lie  
more in the accompanying boundary statements than in the constituent  
mechanisms. As Stu Kauffman contends, it is impossible to specify  
entirely the adjacent possible. My own jargon for the problem is  
combinatorial intractability. That is, the combinations of boundary  
contingencies very rapidly grow hyper-astronomical in number.

It may still be that certain model formulations can yet exhibit  
rudimentary facsimile to selection and centripetality. Mishtu Banerjee  
of U. Calgary and I are currently investigating this challenge.

Another difference between Terry's narrative and my own is that he  
keeps referring to the absential in terms of constraints. But  
constraints are specific realities, not the absence thereof. It is the  
latter that is so important to life, and such absence can be  
conveniently quantified in entropy-like terms (entropy itself being an  
apophasis). Unfortunately, Terry eschews Shannon approaches to  
information (as do many on FIS), but I hold that the major advantage  
of that calculus is that it provides an important experimental window  
on flexibility and resilience (as Michael Conrad long ago suggested).

Thanks for bringing these problems to the foreground.

The best,

Quoting Pedro C. Marijuan

 Dear FIS colleagues,

 Thanks to the late discussants; particularly it was a pleasure reading
 the elegant comments on cosmic computation by Bob (Logan). There was
 also a previous message on info and absences by Bob (Ulanowicz) that
 should be discussed at length. About Terry's book, now I have almost
 finished it, and cannot help but feeling that there are important
 materials for the New Information Synthesis ---accompanied by a lot of
 useless stuff and a fundamental misdirection. The author has been caught
 into his own system thinking (a brilliant one indeed) but has
 overstretched it with deleterious consequences. The weakest point is the
 autogenic process, for which no real biomolecular case is offered...
 if this link is out of order, most of the subsequent scheme falls.  At
 least from a molecular biological point of view (  systems biology),
 the defense is quite problematic.

 all the best


 Pedro C. Marijuán
 Grupo de Bioinformación / Bioinformation Group
 Instituto Aragonés de Ciencias de la Salud
 Avda. Gómez Laguna, 25, Pl. 11ª
 50009 Zaragoza, Spain
 Telf: 34 976 71 3526 ( 6818) Fax: 34 976 71 5554

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Re: [Fis] Stephen Wolfram discussing his ANKS in Reedit this Monday

2012-05-15 Thread Robert Ulanowicz
Quoting Gordana Dodig-Crnkovic

 2.   Whatever changes in the states of the physical world there  
 are, we understand them as computation.

Dear Gordana,

I'm not sure I agree here. For much of what transpires in nature (not  
just in the living realm), the metaphor of the dialectic seems more  
appropriate than the computational. As you are probably aware,  
dialectics are not computable, mainly because their boundary value  
statements are combinatorically intractable (sensu Kauffman).

It is important to note that evolution (which, as Chaisson contends,  
applies as well to the history of the cosmos [and even the symmetrical  
laws of force]) is driven by contingencies, not by laws. Laws are  
necessary and they enable, but they cannot entail.


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Re: [Fis] The world of singularities, beyond language - Discussion on INFORMATION THEORY--Karl

2011-05-05 Thread Robert Ulanowicz
Dear Rafael  Gordana,

What we are discussing here is the difference between universals and  
particulars. Universal laws can only be stated in terms of universal  
variables (mass, energy, etc. The pleroma of Bateson). The  
particular, the asymmetric, the contingent are all constrained, but  
not determined by the universal laws. The laws are insufficient for  
that purpose. The (mostly unique) contingencies are part of the  
boundary-value problem -- the mostly neglected half of the full  
problem statement. Such contingencies can affect one another (and  
indirectly themselves) via the intermediary of the universal laws,  
sometimes creating what Peirce called habits. Such habits may have  
been contingent in origin, but take on the form of strong local  
(non-universal) constraints.

Hence, this world that *we* inhabit does not violate universal laws,  
but neither is it completely formed by them. Singularities exist  
everywhere, but most of them are ephemeral. A few get entrained into  
the habits. It is a predominately historical world wherein the  
stability we sense derives from the historical habits.

In recognizing the insufficiency of universal laws, we also must  
acknowledge bounds on our ability to predict. All is not lost, however  
(depending on how one feels about predictability), because we can  
still entertain probabilistic predictions via what Popper called the  
calculus of conditional probabilities, or information theory (more  
accurately termed constraint theory).

See also:

The best,
Bob U.

Robert E. Ulanowicz|  Tel: +1-352-378-7355
Arthur R. Marshall Laboratory  |  FAX: +1-352-392-3704
Department of Biology  |  Emeritus, Chesapeake Biol. Lab
Bartram Hall 110   |  University of Maryland
University of Florida  |  Email
Gainesville, FL 32611-8525 USA |  Web

Quoting Rafael Capurro

 Dear Gordana,

 yes, we build a world, something stable, with names and laws and  
 signs and.. everything looks as nice as before (this uneery  
 experience) but it just looks so... Nothing would change if we would  
 try to get this experience again (!) into the perspective of law and  
 order and making sense and There is no logical (sign, name) path  
 from one experience to the other, just a leap. The world of the  
 observer next morning looks like the usual way of the observer but  
 it has radically changed. Maybe the problem consists in the idea of  
 the 'observer' itself. The uneery experience Octavio Paz is pointing  
 to means a radical questionning of the power of the observer to  
 change everything into signs, names, ... and also of becoming an  
 agent (and not just an observer!) in the world.

 ØThey are unrepeatable: they will never be again what they are  
 right now. [...]

 Very true.

 They will never be again exactly the same and what is even more, we  
 will never be exactly the same. - Panta rhei.

 And yet, there is something in that chaos of the World, of the Ding  
 an sich which is stable, which makes us able to make sense.

 In front of that dark window from which the World is gradually  
 fading away beyond recognizability  there is an remarkable Other, a  
 distinct piece of the World which makes the difference (observation  

 This remarkable observer making an observation of not being able to  
 make an observation of the vanishing World of appearances, has  
 memory of the World in her body.

 In the structures of her brain and morphology her body, there is an  
 expectation against which this wonder rises about the World  
 disappearing in the evening darkness.

 What establishes (communicable) sense, structures and names, comes  
 in the morning.

 The very same World will come back next morning and make usual  
 sense for an observer/agent.

 She will repeat the same pattern of interaction, being reassured  
 that there is a structure in an ever-changing World.

 Saying ?I have no name for this experience? presupposes knowing  
 about ?the name? and ?an experience?, both being a part of a  
 structured world of human/agents millennia long experience with  
 this World disappearing and appearing again, changing, yet keeping  
 basic structures time and time again.

 That is why we understand pre-Socratic philosophers/thinkers/poets,  
 why we understand beautiful Octavio Paz El mono gramático and why  
 we are able to make any sense at all, including the sense that it  
 is not possible to make (usual) sense.

 With best wishes,


 [] *On Behalf Of *Mark Burgin
 *Sent:* den 5 maj 2011 05:04

Re: [Fis] On Stan's reply to Gavin

2011-01-31 Thread Robert Ulanowicz
 On Mon, Jan 31, 2011 at 7:42 AM, Robin Faichney  

  Conservation  of information can be translated as
 meaning   that   physical   laws  do  not break down, and the state of
 affairs  at  one  time  can  be  considered  encoded in the state of
 affairs at another time. For instance, events within the event horizon
 of  a  black hole (or, on the holographic principle, on the surface of
 the  event  horizon) could, in principle, be determined by examination
 of the Hawking radiation that escapes as the hole diminishes.

Dear Robin,

I have always wondered what physicists meant when they talked about  
conservation of information, because Shannon-like measures are  
definitely not state variables, and hence not conserved. For example,  
information is continually being created and destroyed in ecological  

Even if the laws of nature do not break down, there simply are not  
enough of them to encode complex situations. While the laws themselves  
are all conservative, the implicit boundary value problem is  
*necessarily* contingent. This accounts for the reality and ubiquity  
of indeterminacy in complex systems.

I find it difficult to imagine how stochastic events such as occur  
within a black hole could possibly be determined by Hawking  
radiation, or even by anything more reliable.

Could you possibly guide me to some reference where I could attempt  
again to understand what the physicists are claiming.


Robert E. Ulanowicz|  Tel: +1-352-378-7355
Arthur R. Marshall Laboratory  |  FAX: +1-352-392-3704
Department of Biology  |  Emeritus, Chesapeake Biol. Lab
Bartram Hall 110   |  University of Maryland
University of Florida  |  Email
Gainesville, FL 32611-8525 USA |  Web

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Re: [Fis] Info Theory

2011-01-24 Thread Robert Ulanowicz
Dear Gavin,

With all due respect, I would like to strongly disagree. I believe the  
communications format is an historical artifact that were best put  
aside. It unnecessarily constrains the application of information  
theory for many useful purposes.

Most especially, the calculus that is built upon the Shannon formula  
has incredibly wide application. It is useful anywhere constraint  
enters the picture.

Of course, as a thermodynamicist myself, I understand your desire for  
purity of definition. So if you were to insist on constraining  
information to communication, then something like Collier's  
enformation needs to be coined to handle the myriad of other  
productive ways that information theory can be of use to us.

I'll warn you, however, it's going to be difficult to draw a clear  
line between information and enformation. :)

The best,

Robert E. Ulanowicz|  Tel: +1-352-378-7355
Arthur R. Marshall Laboratory  |  FAX: +1-352-392-3704
Department of Biology  |  Emeritus, Chesapeake Biol. Lab
Bartram Hall 110   |  University of Maryland
University of Florida  |  Email
Gainesville, FL 32611-8525 USA |  Web

Quoting Gavin Ritz

 Hi there Stan

 SS: Info theory presumably applies to everything and anything.

 GR: It was never intended to apply to anything but communication instruments.
 That is sending English language down a pipe.

 GR: In my opinion it still only does, I cant get my head around how say
 information theory actually applies to direct human communication or organic
 sensing systems.  All our sensing systems are energy transduction  
 systems, once
 inside the individual it 's moved via Na/K pumps aided by ADP to ATP  
 to the brain all electrical, chemical energy. So in the environment  
 it's just a
 sound (phonon) or light (photon) or chemical or heat energy where  
 are the bits
 (information theory part) or markers. They are just not there.

 Unless this information is what underlies energy and is what makes  
 up the rest
 of the universe including dark matter and dark energy. And is also what
 underlies the theory of Geometricdynamics.(Relativity theory).?? How so I
 would not know.


 On Sun, Jan 23, 2011 at 7:39 AM, Gavin Ritz wrote:

 Are you saying Karl that Information theory is the glue that binds energy and
 entropy production?
 or the the fabric behind these two concept?
 If so what is the bridging qualitative and quantitative propositions and
 formulae for this binding?

 It's quite something to say this, because one of the qualitative  
 foundations of
 information theory is word frequency of English from Zipfs law. John Pierce
 (Information Theory)

 To:; Pedro C. Marijuan;
 Sent: Sat, 22 January, 2011 7:32:24 AM
 Subject: Re: [Fis] Info Theory

 Dear Karl,

 The assumption I would like to check that we share is that  
 existence  and energy
 are primitive and numbers something derived.  When one moves from  
 the quantum
 vacuum or singularity into the thermodynamic world, as soon as  
 change occurs,
 something is no longer totally itself; there is something new along  
 side of it
 in 4D space-time. The number of entities has increased, and this is the
 situation is the reality of which addition is the model. Iteration,  
 which also
 occurs in reality, does the rest. If I understand you correctly,  
 you feel that
 numbers, once available and manipulated in more complex ways, can model many
 other things, especially, of course, aspects of information.

 If a numerical perspective is convenient and even necessary for an  
 of nature, I would still like to know if it is sufficient. Are you able to
 capture, in your information theory, for example, the informational  
 involved in:

 · emotions
 · creativity
 · anti-social behavior (rational and irrational)
 · complex political processes
 · your own theory?

 I think it would make for a more interesting and productive  
 discussion if you
 were to tell us where your theory does NOT apply, rather than let  
 us raise naïve
 objections to which you already have clear answers. I would like to  
 know, for
 example, which of several possible approaches to the definition of  
 a logical
 object are involved; at what point the limitations of machines become
 determining; and under what conditions one should seek to maximize (because
 valuable) heterogeneity as  opposed to homogeneity. Very  
 interesting discussions
 can then be envisaged 

Re: [Fis] reply to Javorsky. Plea for (responsible) dualism

2010-12-09 Thread Robert Ulanowicz
Quoting Joseph Brenner

 I challenge
 anyone to propose a theory that insures that our antagonisms, which are
 real, also receive some logical treatment.

Dear Joseph,

I agree with almost all that you said. I won't take up your challenge,  
however, because I think you may be correct. No one has ever been able  
to reduce a dialectic to an algorithm, for example.

Furthermore, I think there is good reason why no one ever will. In a  
nutshell, I think the options that appear as a dialectic evolves are  
combinatorically unmanageable. (In Stu Kauffman's words, the adjacent  
possible is overwhelming.)

Happy Holidays to all,

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Re: [Fis] reply to Javorsky

2010-12-03 Thread Robert Ulanowicz
Dear All:

At the risk of being seen as the one who tries to throw a monkey  
wrench into the fine discussion you all are having, I would like to  
mention that the foregoing thread had focused entirely on alternatives  
among monist scenarios.

I see the world as dual, not in the sense of Descartes, but of  
Heraclitus. If I am correct, then any strategy predicated on a monist  
principle is destined to lead to disaster. (Stan and I have gone round  
and round on this. I see entropy as double-sided and not simply as  
disorder. [Ecological Modelling 220 (2009) 1886–1892].)

But I'm hardly the only one to warn against a monist view. Terry  
Deacon's model of self-organization, the Autocell acts similarly.  
The process starts by using up external gradients as quickly as  
possible, but gradually shuts down as the autocell nears  
self-completion. (Deacon, T.W. and J. Sherman. 2008. The Pattern Which  
Connects Pleroma to Creatura: The Autocell Bridge from Physics to  
Life. Biosemiotics 2:59-76.)

The best to all,

Robert E. Ulanowicz|  Tel: +1-352-378-7355
Arthur R. Marshall Laboratory  |  FAX: +1-352-392-3704
Department of Biology  |  Emeritus, Chesapeake Biol. Lab
Bartram Hall 110   |  University of Maryland
University of Florida  |  Email
Gainesville, FL 32611-8525 USA |  Web

Quoting Stanley N Salthe

 *Replying to Karl, who said:*

 one can use a stable model used by neurology and psychology to come closer
 to understanding how our brain works. This can help to formulate the
 thoughts Pedro mentioned being obscure.

 One pictures the brain as a quasi-meteorological model of an extended world
 containing among others swamp, savanna, arid zones. The dissipation of water
 above these regions causes clouds to form and storms to discharge the vapor
 within the clouds. The model observes the lightnings in the model and sets
 them as an allegory to thoughts (these being electrical discharges) as
 opposed to hormones (that are the fluids in the swamps). So there is an
 assumed independence between the rainfall, the humidity of the ground, cloud
 formation and lightnings. The real meteorologists would not agree with the
 simplification that the lightning is the central idea of a rainfall, but
 this is how the picture works (at present).

 Why I offer these idle thoughts from the biologic sciences to FIS is that it
 is now possible to make a model of these processes in an abstract, logical
 fashion. The colleaugues in Fis are scientists in the rational tradition and
 may find useful that a rational algorithm can be shown to allow simulating
 the little tricks Nature appears to use.

 Nature changes the form of the imbalance, once too many or too few
 lightnings, once too much or lacking water - relative to the other
 representation's stable state. There are TWO sets of reference. The
 deviation between the two sets of references is what Nature uses in its
 manifold activities.

   This model looks at the physical equivalences in two realms by
 modeling in thermodynamics.  Today in thermodynamics we have an advancing
 perspective known as the `Maximum Entropy Production Principle´ (MEPP) for
 relatively simple systems like weather, or Maximum Energy Dispersal
 Principle´ (MEDP) for complicated material systems like the brain.  In both
 cases the dynamics are controlled by the Second Law of Thermodynamics, which
 imposes that the available energy gradients will be dissipated in the least
 possible time, taking the easiest routes available.  This becomes very
 interesting in the brain, where the flow of depolarizations would then be
 predicted to be biased in the direction of more habitual `thoughts´.  I
 think that this prediction seems to be born out in our own experiences of
 the frequent return of our attention to various insistent thoughts.  I
 recommend that Karl inquire into MEPP.  For this purpose I paste in some


 MEPP related publications:

 Annila, A. and S.N. Salthe, 2009.  Economies evolve by energy dispersal.
  Entropy, 2009, 11: 606-633.

 Annila, A. and S.N. Salthe, 2010. Physical foundations of evolutionary
 theory. Journal on Non-Equilibrium Thermodynamics 35: 301-321.

 Annila, A. and S.N. Salthe, 2010.  Cultural naturalism.  Entropy, 2010, 12:

 Bejan, A. and S. Lorente, 2010.  The constructal law of design and evolution
 in nature. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society, B, 365:

 Brooks, D.R. and E.O. Wiley, 1988. Evolution As Entropy: Toward A Unified
 Theory Of Biology (2nd. ed.) Chicago. University of Chicago Press.

 Chaisson, E.J., 2008.  Long-term global heating from energy usage.  Eos,
 Transactions of the American Geophysical 

Re: [Fis] Tactilizing processing

2010-10-31 Thread Robert Ulanowicz
Quoting Stanley N Salthe

 Bob -- I think that 'coupling over such a disparity in scale' is not really
 going on differently in biology either.  The only messages that could
 'percolate upwards' in a material system would be those the higher level(s)
 are prepared to receive, in all cases.  This might allow information from
 smaller populations of lower scale entities to be detected.  But it would
 always be the larger scale system constructing some kind of ensemble
 information, or it would be ... magic!  Biology manages to get a greater
 uniformity (via genetic controls) of smaller scale populations, thus
 increasing the precision or definiteness of the lower scale 'messages',
 which are still a kind of 'mass action', but with clearer, more reliable and
 less muddy, 'colors'.



We agree 100% on this one. I have always qualified Prigogine's order  
through fluctuations by pointing out that not just *any* perturbation  
will change the dynamics of the system. (In the Prigogine scenario,  
all perturbations are generic and homogeneous.) The system will only  
respond to those perturbations (for better or worse) that resonate  
with the configuration of the larger system.


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Re: [Fis] Recapping the discussion?

2010-10-07 Thread Robert Ulanowicz
Quoting Pedro C. Marijuan

 The ratio that Bob Ulanowicz has pointed out in the self-organization
 processes of ecosystems looks very important. Is it an informational
 signature that we can find in other fields (eg, competing companies,
 financial flows, neurodynamic sel-organization) accompanying problem
 solving operations performed in a populational way? Does a similar ratio
 appears in microphysical realms? Maybe Bob will be willing to expand on
 the emergence of that complexity indicator. I should also point to the
 strong regularities and ratios, and power laws, that

Dear Pedro,

It’s most gratifying to me that you feel the ratio between constraint  
and flexibility is an important topic. I, too, believe it is of  
extreme importance! Of course, I didn’t think up this balance. I  
actually resisted for a long while what my data on ecosystem networks  
were telling me. But there was no denying that the ratio between  
constraint and flexibility hovered around the ratio 1/e (about 38%).

First there are the philosophical implications. Science for the most  
part is an apodictic enterprise. Laws and mechanisms prevail  
everywhere. Information theory (at least the Shannon type) begins,  
however, with the apophatic – the very lack of constraint. Constraint  
is calculated indirectly by difference (the “entropy” minus the  
conditional entropy).

What the data on ecosystem networks are saying is that the apophatic  
is more prevalent than the apodictic – flexibility is more important  
to persistent systems than their internal organizational constraints.  
This is a major departure from science-as-usual. It says we have been  
looking at nature (at least in its complex manifestations) with one  
eye closed. It is necessary to address the apophatic before we can  
gain a full picture of how they endure over time.

Fortunately, information theory allows us to quantify the apophatic.  
(I realize that many dismiss the Shannon approach to information, but  
that’s usually because they are dissatisfied with how it quantifies  
[or doesn’t adequately quantify] the apodictic nature of information.  
Such may be the case. The strength of the Shannon approach, however,  
is that it quantifies *both* the apodictic and the apophatic in the  
same mathematical terminology. That is no small accomplishment,  
especially if more than half the story lies beyond the purview of  
apodictic science.)

Being able to quantify that which is missing allows us, in almost  
oxymoronic fashion, to remediate some problems with systems. For  
example, in a ms to be published on network methods in marine systems  
I demonstrate how eutrophic estuarine systems are lacking in  
flexibility and how variational techniques can reveal ways to move the  
system back towards a more sustainable balance between constraint and  
flexibility. In fact, the entire effort to preserve biodiversity  
rests, not on apodictic premises, but rather on apophatic  
considerations (which is why, until now, theoretical justification for  
the effort has remained wanting).

As for domains outside of ecology, Koichiro has already told us that  
the ratio of meaning to ambiguity in all natural languages that have  
been studied converges rather tightly upon 1/e. In economics it  
appears that overemphasis upon apodictic market efficiency might be  
destabilizing to our economy (Ecological Economics 69:76–81 [209]),  
but further data upon economic networks are necessary.

It was the intuition of Gregory Bateson that the apodictic approach to  
problem solving could get us into trouble – leading sometimes to very,  
very bad ends. And so we are indebted to another thinker, Michael  
Conrad, for his intuition that, when focusing upon information, we  
might discover that the larger *necessary* role in system dynamics may  
actually belong to its complement – indeterminacy!

Peace to all!

Robert E. Ulanowicz|  Tel: +1-352-378-7355
Arthur R. Marshall Laboratory  |  FAX: +1-352-392-3704
Department of Biology  |  Emeritus, Chesapeake Biol. Lab
Bartram Hall 110   |  University of Maryland
University of Florida  |  Email
Gainesville, FL 32611-8525 USA |  Web

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Re: [Fis] FW: Fluc replies - more

2010-09-29 Thread Robert Ulanowicz
Quoting Pedro C. Marijuan

 About the formalism to deal with entropies: How does the treatment of
 entropies by Michael in his Adaptability Theory --extended by the
 fluctuon model into the microphysical realm-- relate with the
 contemporary quantum information theory, and the qubits stuff? Given
 that it was initially conceived from the ecological perspective, can it
 be connected with Bob Ulanowicz's conceptualization of energy flow and
 diversity (and his tentative variational principle?) The paper by Kevin
 on Biological adaptibilities and quantum entyropies (BioSystems 64,
 2002, 33-41) is an excellent portal for this question.

I must confess to all that I have never read Michael's work on  
fluctuons. In 1984, however, I was honored to review Michael's book,  
Adaptability for Mathematical Biosciences (69:153-154). I have  
lost an ecopy of the review, but I remember expressing much sympathy  
for Michaels discourse on the use of conditional entropy to quantify  
adaptability. My one note of reserve about the work was that Michael  
made no effort to explain how one could put numbers on his formulae. I  
was trained as an engineer not to discuss anything to which one could  
not attach a measurement (a stricture I have since come to ignore.  
[Stan Salthe says that if you can attach a number to a concept, it's  
too simple to merit discussion!]:)

Nevertheless, Michael's work helped motivate my attempts to  
quantitatively describe the relationship between efficiency and  
reliability, or between adaptation and adaptability, as I put it in my  
contribution to the 2002 Memorial issue to Michael (BioSystems  
64:13–22 [2002]).

For me this question came to somewhat of an empirical resolution, once  
I had abandoned the notion that ecosystems always developed to  
increase their adaptation and looked at the data, which said that real  
ecosystems actually crowded into a narrow window of vitality. (See  
Fig. 5 on p92 of Int. J. of Design  Nature and Ecodynamics 4(2):83-96  

The enigma remains as to why the ratio of organization:complexity so  
tightly favors the value (1/e)?

Regarding fluctuations in the quantum vacuum, I have my doubts as to  
how far up the scale they reach. (I also have grave doubts about  
coupling gravitation with quantum phenomena, as the Planck constant  
and the gravitational constant differ by some *43* orders of  
magnitude! An engineer would *never* touch such a disparity!  
Apparently, Hawking gave up on it as well, even though I doubt he's  
ever been exposed to dimensional analysis. :)

There are some physicists who claim that the coherence domains such  
as one sees among collections of molecules of water (which apparently  
are kept in coherence by signals propagated in the quantum vacuum by  
phasings that can propagate there faster than the speed of light)  
apply to the brain and even to ecosystems! (See Ecological Modelling  
220: 1865–1869 [2009].) I think this hypothesis is wrong. The  
dimensions of the brain and certainly those of the ecosystem are  
simply too far removed from the quantum level to entertain such a  
thought. (Again, my engineer's familiarity with dimensional analysis  
suggests such infesability.)

That doesn't mean that an analogous scenario isn't at work in the  
brain, however. Typically, brain synapses function on the time scale  
of tenths of a second. While this might seem fast to the lay person,  
it is far too slow to explain any synchrony. One doesn't have to go  
down to the quantum level, however, to find a phenomenon that might be  
capable of synchronizing brain activity. To synchronize a set of  
processes, it is not necessary that the communication be of high  
amplitude. It can be rather faint. The means of synchrony must,  
however, act very quickly with respect to the phenomenon being  

Well, when a synapse fires it creates a weak electromagnetic field.  
Although weak, there are usually many, many other synapses in the  
vicinity that could receive this weak signal. I.e., the local  
electromagnetic field could reasonably serve to synchronize brain  
behavior at a larger scale than the synapse. It should be possible to  
observe the brain acting in synchrony as a *macroscopic* coherence  

Such coherence would agree with our common notions of consciousness.  
When we are conscious, we are aware of many things at the same time --  
even our own brain activity. When part of the brain becomes  
dysfunctional, it cannot participate in the coherence domain -- ergo  
the loss of recognition by a patient with aphasia of, say, the left  
arm as belonging to him/her.

Well, I digress! These thoughts rattle around in my brain  
(incoherently? :), and I welcome the opportunity to put them into  

The best to all,

Robert E. Ulanowicz|  Tel: +1-352-378-7355
Arthur R. 

Re: [Fis] Revisiting... --From Dieter Gernert

2010-09-29 Thread Robert Ulanowicz
Dear Guy,

I, too , was enthused by Dieter's emphasis on process, although I  
don't quite share your concern about neglecting structural pattern. As  
an ecologist, I spent my career studying *patterns of processes*,  
i.e., networks of ecological interactions. Furthermore the information  
embodied in the pattern of processes is quite amenable to  

A process-first ontology would view particles and their related  
structures as outcomes of configurations of processes. Such was a  
major thrust of my process view of evolution, as espoused in my last  
book, A Third Window.

The chief benefit of a process-based narrative of evolution is that  
one can consistently view evolution going forward. The particle-law  
conventional metaphysic always entails a great deal of backtracking.

Doubtless, many of you will disagree, but that's part of the fun of FIS!

The best to all,
Bob U.

Quoting Guy A Hoelzer

 Hi all,

 I have been enjoying the current discussion and appreciate Dieter´s  
 focus on process.  I am an evolutionary biologist, not a physicist,  
 but I would like to suggest one way in which some of the views  
 expressed in different posts might be reconciled.

 From a simplistic point of view, I think it is fair to posit that  
 spatial pattern (e.g., the existence of particles) is manifested  
 information, and that pattern is generated by process (e.g.,  
 particle interaction).  Process itself can also be viewed as  
 information in the form of temporal pattern.  Pattern and process  
 are inextricably linked in self-organizing dissipative systems,  
 which represent a special class of its.  Other kinds of its  
 include artifacts of dissipative system dynamics, which stumble  
 from one local entropy peak to another under thermodynamic  
 constraints.  Of course, particulate artifacts can also be swept up  
 in other thermodynamic cascades, including those exploited by other  
 dissipative systems.

 The Prigogine notion of dissipative systems provides a compelling  
 case, in my view, for including both pattern and process in generic  
 treatments of information.


 Dr. Guy A. Hoelzer
 Department of Biology, MS 314
 University of Nevada Reno
 Reno, NV  89557

 On 9/29/10 3:38 AM, Pedro Clemente Marijuan Fernandez wrote:

 (herewith a very interesting text received off-line from a newcomer  
 to our list --welcome Dieter!---Pedro)


 1. For many years I highly estimate the work of Michael Conrad -  
 whom I never could see or hear in person. So the study was  
 restricted to reading some papers, and to store them as a separate  
 file. I am very glad for the references to more recent work.
 2. Before making any comment on the transmitted text, I must admit  
 that I do not have sufficient knowledge on biology to give  
 convincing remarks.
 3. Modern physics must necessarily be physics at the Planck scale.  
 I do not know whether in this moment there is a sufficient, explicit  
 physics at the Planck scale such that one build up on this basis.  
 Anyway, it must be a theory of processes, not of particles.
 4. Anti-entropy or negentropy are children of the classical  
 Shannon-Weaver theory, which is incorrectly (only due to a certain  
 historical development) called information theory. There are  
 specific (narrow, local) situations in biology where Shannon-Weaver  
 is sufficient. But in the general case - and for a modern,  
 futuristic theory - it can really be doubted whether Shannon-Weaver  
 (here it is always meant: together with extensions and  
 ramifications) will be sufficient. It seems to me that the  
 comprehensive theory is needed, which (again for historical reasons)  
 is named theory of pragmatic information. This is not opposed to  
 Shannon-Weaver, but the latter is included as a special case (one  
 can state conditions under which Sh.-W. will be adequate for a  
 situation). An overview (including the historical development) can  
 be found:
  Gernert, D., Pragmatic information: historical development and  
 general overview. Mind and Matter, vol. 4 no. 2 (2006) 141-167.
  Here I am really only a reporter and historian - I did not make  
 concrete contributions. The article can be downloaded  (google
 dieter gernert).
  5. For any concept setting out to connect the manifest and the  
 unmanifest a mathematical structure is required which permits us to  
 describe the manifest and the nonmanifest and the interaction  
 between both realms, or more precisely: conditions for an influence  
 to occur in a single situation. It seems to me that one can do this  
 along the lines sketched in my paper:
 Gernert, D., Formal treatment of systems with a hidden organizing  
 structure, with possible applications to physics. Int. J. of  
 Computing Anticipatory Systems 16 (2004) 114-124.
  It will become inevitable to use a 

Re: [Fis] Curious chronicle

2010-07-27 Thread Robert Ulanowicz
On Mon, 19 Jul 2010, bob logan wrote:

 Stanley -I have often had this thought. Better to compete on the football 
 pitch than the battlefield. The term hero is used for those that excel in 
 either form of battle. Bob

Bob, It's not that I object to (American) football as an ersatz for 
warfare. Far from it! What bothers me, however, is when some of my 
countrymen conflate warfare with a form of football! (E.g., Tonight CBS 
brings you live -- the War from the Gulf!) Peace, Bob U.

Robert E. Ulanowicz|  Tel: +1-352-378-7355
Arthur R. Marshall Laboratory  |  FAX: +1-352-392-3704
Department of Biology  |  Emeritus, Chesapeake Biological Lab
Bartram Hall 110   |  University of Maryland
University of Florida  |  Email
Gainesville, FL 32611-8525 USA |  Web
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Re: [Fis] Curious chronicle

2010-07-13 Thread Robert Ulanowicz
Dear Jorge and Fis members:

The method is intriguing, but rather ad-hoc.

I and colleagues in marine science have directly used  
information-theoretic indexes to evaluate the dynamically most  
important nodes and links in a quantified network. I'm convinced it  
could be applied as well to players on a team:

Ulanowicz, R.E. and D. Baird. 1999. Nutrient controls on ecosystem
   dynamics:  The Chesapeake mesohaline community.  J.  Mar.
   Sys. 19:159-172

The best,
Bob Ulanowicz

Robert E. Ulanowicz|  Tel: +1-352-378-7355
Arthur R. Marshall Laboratory  |  FAX: +1-352-392-3704
Department of Biology  |  Emeritus, Chesapeake Biol. Lab
Bartram Hall 110   |  University of Maryland
University of Florida  |  Email
Gainesville, FL 32611-8525 USA |  Web

Quoting Jorge Navarro López

 Dear FIS collegaes,

 Hi!  This is my first posting in the list. My name is Jorge Navarro  
 and I am working with Pedro on Systems Biology and Network Science.  
 Following with Joseph proposal I have found an interesting paper  
 about a satisfactory theory of information  applicable to  teamwork  

 *Quantifying the Performance of Individual Players in a Team Activity*

 I think that formally one can say  a lot about what teamship  
 activities become interesting and exciting to watch, and what other  
 activities are dull and boring.
 I was playing soccer myself until a few years ago (forward), like  
 Villa :-), and I am very interested in the informational side of  
 sports, soccer of course.


 Kind Regards



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Re: [Fis] The Inventor of Information as Asymmetry

2009-11-21 Thread Robert Ulanowicz
I just wanted to say in support of Pedro's message that Gregory Bateson 
was very clear about the one-eyed nature of physics. He wrote as how 
physics, by and large, deals only with what *is* and neglects what is 
missing. Bateson could find only two exceptions -- The Pauli Exclusion 
Principle and Heisenberg uncertainty.

Of course, biology (and ecology in particular) is much affected by what is 
missing. Absent a predator and the behavior (and population magnitude) of 
a prey changes markedly!

I have written about the importance of the apophatic to ecology and the 
role that information theory can play in quantifying that which is 
missing. I took to task my colleagues in ecology who refuse (adamantly!) 
to acknowledge the legitimate role of IT in ecology. I labelled them as
practicising one-eyed ecology. :)

  Goerner, S.J., Lietaer, B. and Ulanowicz, R.E. In review.
   Quantifying Economic Sustainability: Implications for
   Free Enterprise Theory, Policy and Practice. Ecological
   Economics 69:76-81.

The best to all,

Robert E. Ulanowicz|  Tel: +1-352-378-7355
Arthur R. Marshall Laboratory  |  FAX: +1-352-392-3704
Department of Botany and Zoology   |  Emeritus, Chesapeake Biological Lab
Bartram Hall 110   |  University of Maryland
University of Florida  |  Email
Gainesville, FL 32611-8525 USA |  Web
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Re: [Fis] Emerging Synthesis?

2009-01-23 Thread Robert Ulanowicz
Quoting Stanley Salthe

 Joseph --

 Dear Friends,

 1.But the good thing is to be able to go down to elementary  
 particle level with the same principle. My  Logic in Reality does  
 exactly that, where the principle is one of dynamic opposition  
 which has the advantage of avoiding what I consider questionable,  
 namely, so-called self-organization.

  Cannot self-organization not be interpreted in a dialectical  
 way?  I tried it in my 1993 book, Development and Evolution.


Right you are! I took the same approach in my 1997 book, Ecology, the  
Ascendent Perspective..

The best,

Robert E. Ulanowicz|  Tel: +1-352-378-7355
Arthur R. Marshall Laboratory  |  FAX: +1-352-392-3704
Department of Botany and Zoology   |  Emeritus, Chesapeake Biol. Lab
Bartram Hall 110   |  University of Maryland
University of Florida  |  Email
Gainesville, FL 32611-8525 USA |  Web

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Re: [Fis] Msg From Joe Brenner, Re: reactions to ...

2008-07-21 Thread Robert Ulanowicz
As Ladyman and Ross write, in the book that I learned about in this group,
we radically need to change our metaphysics about what a thing is, or
rather is not, and what patterns can be understood as the active
entities of both knowledge and existence.

It wasn't clear to me whether this was Joe or Pedro writing, but I  
concur whole-heartedly! Popper was suggesting the same thing in his  
last book, A World of Propensities.

In fact, I would go even further to suggest that we free ourselves of  
our fixation with things (objects) and opt instead for a metaphysics  
predicated on processes (and configurations thereof.) (That's what my  
latest book is all about. :)

The best,

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Re: [Fis] Re: Continuing Discussion of Social and Cultural Complexity

2007-02-05 Thread Robert Ulanowicz
On Fri, 2 Feb 2007, Pedro Marijuan wrote:

 Dear Igor and colleagues,

 Your question is fascinating, perhaps at the time being rather puzzling or
 even un-answerable...

Pedro, Yes, unanswerable in the absolute sense, but there are some
quantitative approximations that yield helpful insights.

For example, in looking at ecological trophic networks, we have discovered
that all known, quantified networks fall into a particular window of
vitality that ranges from an effective link density of 1 up to ca. 3.01
and an effective numer of trophic roles (levels) that ranges from 2.0 to
ca. 4.5. There are hueristic explanations for three sides of this window,
although the 4.5 boundary remains enigmatic.

Anyone interested may look at

Please note Figure 11 on p75.

The best,

Robert E. Ulanowicz|  Tel: (410) 326-7266
Chesapeake Biological Laboratory   |  FAX: (410) 326-7378
P.O. Box 38|  Email [EMAIL PROTECTED]
1 Williams Street  |  Web
Solomons, MD 20688-0038|

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Re: [Fis] Post-concluding remarks:Realism/anturealism: Laws of nature?

2006-10-26 Thread Robert Ulanowicz
On Thu, 26 Oct 2006, Guy A Hoelzer wrote:

 I doubt we disagree in substance here, but I would take issue with the
 statement that there are no laws for biology in the same sense as the
 laws of physics, because I think the laws of physics apply in all
 realms.  In other words, the laws of physics are not limited to physics
 in an exclusionary way, because all other disciplines exist within the
 bounds of physics.  Therefore, the laws of physics are also laws of
 biology to me. After picking this nit, I would agree that there are no
 additional, proprietary laws of this sort within biology that do not
 extend to non-biological physical systems.

Hi Guy!

No disagreement whatsoever. I was trying to be brief. The laws of physics
continue to hold for biotic systems, they just lose their capability to
*determine the results. To summarize Elsasser's arguments in three words
-- combinatorics overwhelm law. By which is meant that for any lawful
constraint there usually is a multitude of possible configurations that
satisfy that constraint. There being no discrimination among the multitude
as regards the law in question, something else must do the discriminating.

I propose that something else is process. What I mean by processes and
how they work is explained in the citation, which I repeat here:

The best,

Robert E. Ulanowicz|  Tel: (410) 326-7266
Chesapeake Biological Laboratory   |  FAX: (410) 326-7378
P.O. Box 38|  Email [EMAIL PROTECTED]
1 Williams Street  |  Web
Solomons, MD 20688-0038|

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