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

2015-01-11 Thread PEDRO CLEMENTE MARIJUAN FERNANDEZ
Thanks for the response Jeremy. I appreciate the rigor of your piratic comments 
(perhaps at fis we are more relaxed concocting the arguments; rather than a 
tightly-knit discussion group, fis is more like a caravan of very heterogenous 
knowledge traders)... Anyhow, concerning the plausibility of approaching the 
prokaryotic, it is an attempt that my mini-group has developed in several works 
(not very successfully attracting the attention of peers; but, helas, that's 
quite another matter!), see: On prokaryotic Intelligence... (Marijuan et al., 
BioSystems 99,2,94-103, 2010) which is perhaps the best exemplar. Also del 
Moral et al. in 
Kyberneteshttp://juliette.lsi.us.es/Bibliography.aspx?query=%22Kybernetes%22, 
43(6):846-864, 2014, and several others focused in Mycobacterium tuberculosis. 
Even at the very elementary level we have worked, there seems to be ample room 
for advancing in information-related directions. Perfectly congruent with the 
main theme of this discussion too (reference  significance). Beyond the single 
cell level, there are several information-thresholds of 
communication-thresholds in biological evolution that need to be understood 
better. Once crossed, complexity runaways take place ... (also in our 
societies). I think the story would make better sense if the intertwining of 
self-production flows and communication flows is contemplated differently, 
entering the idea of absence too (at least, I have also attempted!). Although 
minimally, we should be able to contribute to the social-informational arena of 
our times. See for instance the great works on social physics by Alex 
Pentland (shouldn't it be social information science?). But in order to do 
that, we should take care that the microphysical advances in the foundations of 
information can escalate with some parsimony...

These comments have become pretty tangential --but often at fis we draw this 
sort of free wheeling tangents!
best ---Pedro


De: Jeremy Sherman [mindreadersdiction...@gmail.com]
Enviado el: viernes, 09 de enero de 2015 0:39
Para: PEDRO CLEMENTE MARIJUAN FERNANDEZ
Cc: fis
Asunto: Re: [Fis] Steps to a theory of reference  significance

Hi Pedro,

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

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

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

Somewhat related, I recently came across this:

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

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

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

Best,

Jeremy

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

Thanks

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

2015-01-09 Thread Jeremy Sherman
Hi Pedro,

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

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

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

Somewhat related, I recently came across this:

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

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

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

Best,

Jeremy

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

 Dear Terry and colleagues,

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

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

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

[Fis] Steps to a theory of reference significance

2015-01-07 Thread Pedro C. Marijuan


_*Steps to a theory of reference  significance in information
*_*FIS discussion paper by Terrence W. Deacon (2015)*

This is the link to download the whole paper: 
https://www.dropbox.com/s/v5o8pwx3ggmmmnb/FIS%20Deacon%20on%20information%20v2.pdf?dl=0


/The mere fact that the same mathematical expression - Σ pi log pi 
occurs both in statistical
mechanics and in information theory does not in itself establish any 
connection between these
fields. This can be done only by finding new viewpoints from which 
thermodynamic entropy and
information-theory entropy appear as the same concept. /(Jaynes 1957, 
p. 621)


/What I have tried to do is to turn information theory upside down to 
make what the
engineers call 'redundancy' [coding syntax ] but I call 'pattern' into 
the primary
phenomenon. . . . “/ (Gregory Bateson, letter to John Lilly on his 
dolphin research, 10/05/1968)


*Introduction*
In common use and in its etymology the term ‘information’ has always 
been associated with
concepts of reference and significance—that is to say it is about 
something for some use. But
following the landmark paper by Claude Shannon in 1948 (and later 
developments by Wiener,
Kolmogorov, and others) the technical use of the term became almost 
entirely restricted to refer
to signal properties of a communication medium irrespective of reference 
or use. In the
introduction to this seminal report, Shannon points out that although 
communications often have
meaning, “These semantic aspects of communication are irrelevant to the 
engineering problem”
which is to provide a precise engineering tool to assess the 
computational and physical demands

of the transmission, storage, and encryption of communications in all forms.

The theory provided a way to precisely measure these properties as well 
as to determine
limits on compression, encryption, and error correction. By a sort of 
metonymic shorthand this
quantity (measured in bits) came to be considered synonymous with the 
meaning of
‘information’ (both in the technical literature and in colloquial use in 
the IT world) but at the cost

of inconsistency with its most distinctive defining attributes.

This definition was, however, consistent with a tacit metaphysical 
principle assumed in the
contemporary natural sciences: the assertion that only material and 
energetic properties can be
assigned causal power and that appeals to teleological explanations are 
illegitimate. This
methodological framework recognizes that teleological explanations 
merely assign a locus of
cause but fail to provide any mechanism, and so they effectively mark a 
point where explanation
ceases. But this stance does not also entail a denial of the reality of 
teleological forms of
causality nor does it require that they can be entirely reduced to 
intrinsic material and energetic

properties.

Reference and significance are both implicitly teleological concepts in 
the sense that they
require an interpretive context (i.e. a point of view) and are not 
intrinsic to any specific physical
substrate (e.g. in the way that mass and charge are). By abstracting the 
technical definition of
information away from these extrinsic properties Shannon provided a 
concept of information that
could be used to measure a formal property that is inherent in all 
physical phenomena: their
organization. Because of its minimalism, this conception of information 
became a precise and
widely applicable analytic tool that has fueled advances in many fields, 
from fundamental
physics to genetics to computation. But this strength has also has 
undermined its usefulness in
fields distinguished by the need to explain the non-intrinsic properties 
associated with
information. This has limited its value for organismal biology where 
function is fundamental, for
the cognitive sciences where representation is a central issue, and for 
the social sciences where
normative assessment seem unavoidable. So this technical redefinition of 
information has been

both a virtue and a limitation.

The central goal of this essay is to demonstrate that the previously set 
aside (and presumed
nonphysical) properties of reference and significance (i.e. normativity) 
can be re-incorporated
into a rigorous formal analysis of information that is suitable for use 
in both the physical (e.g.
quantum theory, cosmology, computation theory) and semiotic sciences 
(e.g. biology, cognitive
science, economics). This analysis will build on Shannon’s formalization 
of information, but will
extend it to explicitly model its link to the statistical and 
thermodynamic properties of its
physical context and to the physical work of interpreting it. It is 
argued that an accurate analysis
of the non-intrinsic attributes that distinguish information from mere 
physical differences is not
only feasible, but necessary to account for its distinctive form of 
causal efficacy.


Initial qualitative and conceptual steps toward this augmentation of 
information theory