### Re: [Fis] some notes

```Dear Loet,

Shannon "information" is indeed counter-intuitive, and we have John von
Neumann's joke to thank for that confusion.Shannon asked von Nuemann what
to name his formula. von Neumann told him to name it "entropy", because his
metric is "formally identical to von Boltzmann's probabilistic measure of
entropy, and because no one really knows what entropy is, so you'll be
ahead in any argument!" Whence the conflation of entropy with Shannon's
measure of diversity.

"Meaningful information" is calculated in Bayesian fashion by comparing the
*differences* between the apriori and aposteriori distributions (or sender
and receiver in the *subdiscipline* of communication). It is called the
"average mutual information", (AMI) which serves as a form of "proto
meaning" -- detractors of the Shannon approach notwithstanding. You, in
fact, have published numerous fine papers centered about AMI.

The residual between entropy and AMI is called the "conditional entropy".
This warns us to be careful concerning entropy and information: The
probabilistic entropy of both Boltzmann and Shannon doesn't quite
characterize true entropy. <
https://people.clas.ufl.edu/ulan/files/ECOCOMP2.pdf> It encompasses *both*
didactic constraint (AMI) and its absence (an apophasis).  (Entropy,
strictly speaking, is an apophasis, which is why we have such trouble
wrapping our minds around the concept!) Thermodynamic entropy, measured by
heat and temperature, comes closer to grasping the true nature of the
apophasis, but even there ambiguity remained, and it became necessary to
postulate the third law of thermodynamics. (Entropy at zero degrees Kelvin
is zero.) (N.b., physicists "define" entropy as the Boltzmann formula in a
vain effort to "sanitize" thermodynamics. The messy engineering roots of
thermodynamics have always been an irritant for physicists, going all the
way back to the time of Carnot.)

And so we need to be careful when approaching the concepts of information
and entropy. We need to think first before dismissing the Shannon approach
as having no relation to meaning (albeit in a primitive fashion), and we
need always to keep in mind that *both* concepts are always relative in
nature -- never absolute!

My best to all,
Bob U.

On Sat, Nov 18, 2017 at 3:18 AM, Loet Leydesdorff
wrote:

> Dear Terry and colleagues,
>
> I agree that one should not confuse communication with the substance of
> communication (e.g., life in bio-semiotics). It seems useful to me to
> distinguish between several concepts of "communication".
>
> 1. Shannon's (1948) definitions in "The Mathematical Theory of
> Communication". Information is communicated, but is yet meaningfree. These
> notions of information and communication are counter-intuitive (Weaver,
> 1949). However, they provide us with means for the measurement, such as
> bits of information. The meaning of the communication is provided by the
> system of reference (Theil, 1972); in other words, by the specification of
> "what is comunicated?" For example, if money is communicated
> (redistributed), the system of reference is a transaction system. If
> molecules are communicated, life can be generated (Maturana).
>
> 2. Information as "a difference which makes a difference" (Bateson, 1973;
> McKay, 1969). A difference can only make a difference for a receiving
> system that provides meaning to the system. In my opinion, one should in
> this case talk about "meaningful information" and "meaningful
> communication" as different from the Shannon-type information (based on
> probability distributions). In this case, we don't have a clear instrument
> for the measurement. For this reason, I have a preference for the
> definitions under 1.
>
> 3. Interhuman communication is of a different order because it involves
> intentionality and language. The discourses under 1. and 2. are interhuman
> communication systems. (One has to distinguish levels and should not impose
> our intuitive notion of communication on the processes under study.) In my
> opinion, interhuman communication involves both communication of
> information and possibilities of sharing meaning.
>
> The Shannon-type information shares with physics the notion of entropy.
> However, physical entropy is dimensioned (Joule/Kelvin; S = k(B) H),
> whereas probabilistic entropy is dimensionless (H). Classical physics, for
> example, is based on the communication of momenta and energy because these
> two quantities have to be conserved. In the 17th century, it was common to
> use the word "communication" in this context (Leibniz).
>
> Best,
> Loet
>
>
___
Fis mailing list
Fis@listas.unizar.es
http://listas.unizar.es/cgi-bin/mailman/listinfo/fis

```

### Re: [Fis] some notes

```Caro Gordana,
grazie per l'apprezzamento del mio messaggio. Messaggio che in sintesi
significa questo: il pensiero esposto è quello di Hegel; la quantità
qualitativa è fondamentale per la Nuova economia che ho elaborato; non
considero la matematica una scienza quantitativa; ho discusso di queste
cose con Enrico Bombieri, il più grande teorico dei numeri vivente;
soprattutto abbiamo parlato della funzione d'onda di B. Riemann; il
penultimo rigo è molto importante. Io non sono un matematico, ma assegno
alla matematica una funzione importante e insostituibile. Nonostante la mia
ignoranza di "poverino esponenziale", sono molto interessato al rapporto
che passa tra i numeri primi, la funzione d'onda di Riemann, la meccanica
quantistica e  i numeri primi o complessi.
Un abbraccio affettuoso.
Francesco.

2017-11-19 9:00 GMT+01:00 Gordana Dodig-Crnkovic <
gordana.dodig-crnko...@mdh.se>:

> Dear Francesco,
> Thank you so much for your enlightening post on logic that is rising the
> topic one level up.
> You refer to Hegel who recognised complementary relationship between
> quality, quantity and their synthesis – measure, which is very central for
> the current discussion.
> enough.
>
> However, in your mail, if I understand it correctly, and in the rest of
> the current discussion, it is assumed that *mathematics is quantitative
> science.*
> As we are in the beginning of the era of big data that makes people
> believe that “data speak for themselves” and that sciences just collect
> and summarise/systematically represent data, it is very important to
> point out that mathematics is much, much more than data and its processing.
> It is qualitative science in the same sense that logic is. Algebra is not
> quantitative science. Algebra is the study of mathematical symbols and
> the rules for manipulating these symbols. Topology is not quantitative
> science. Topology is the study of qualitative properties of topological
> spaces that are invariant under certain kinds of transformations.
>
> Here is an explanation why it is essential not to identify quantitative
> literacy with mathematics.
> https://serc.carleton.edu/sp/library/qr/qr_and_the_disciplines.html
>
> All the best,
> Gordana
>
>
>
> *From: *Fis <fis-boun...@listas.unizar.es> on behalf of Francesco Rizzo <
> 13francesco.ri...@gmail.com>
> *Date: *Sunday, 19 November 2017 at 07:56
> *To: *"y...@pku.edu.cn" <y...@pku.edu.cn>
> *Cc: *FIS Group <fis@listas.unizar.es>
> *Subject: *Re: [Fis] some notes
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
> Dear colleagues,
> existence implies articulate knowledge in the various sciences of nature,
> human and social. So the "Science of Logic", not the logic of science, by
> Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel (1812-1816) applies to any kind of science.
> In fact, pure science of reason is divided into three doctrines of:
> - *being* (quantity, quality and their unity - measure)
> https://www.marxistsfr.org/reference/archive/hegel/works/sl/slbeing.htm;
> - *essence*, which studies thought in its reflection or mediation, that
> is, the concept as it is "per se" and thus appears;
> - *concept*, study of the concept "in itself and for itself".
> The first presentation of reality takes place in the immediate, intuitive
> forms of quality, quantity and measure, but one must grasp what is hidden
> origin in the reality of being: the essence that represents the "truth of
> being".
>
> Hegel's reinterpretation provides ontological foundations to (the theory
> of) economic value conceived as a combination or energy / information
> relationship based on dialectical quantity / quality and "qualitative
> quantity" or measure. Hegel does not contrast the quantity with quality,
> but tries to gain complementarity by deriving the first from the second.
> Quantity is the denial of quality. Quantity and quality vary continuously,
> they are characterized by variability, but quantitative variation is
> indifferent to the quality that does not change with the change in the
> quantitative dimension. If the quantity is a time of outwardness
> indifferent to the sphere of quality, it justifies or explains Hegel's
> lack of consideration for purely quantitative considerations and therefore
> for those quantitative or hard mathematical sciences. He believes that
> the propositions of geometry and arithmetic have an exclusively analytical
> and therefore tautological nature, denying them all heuristic efficacy.
> This strong criticism of the rigor and scientific validity of mathematical
> models does not prevent him from carrying out an analysis that highlights

### Re: [Fis] some notes

```Dear Francesco,
Thank you so much for your enlightening post on logic that is rising the topic
one level up.
You refer to Hegel who recognised complementary relationship between quality,
quantity and their synthesis – measure, which is very central for the current
discussion.
enough.

However, in your mail, if I understand it correctly, and in the rest of the
current discussion, it is assumed that mathematics is quantitative science.
As we are in the beginning of the era of big data that makes people believe
that “data speak for themselves” and that sciences just collect and
summarise/systematically represent data, it is very important to point out that
mathematics is much, much more than data and its processing.
It is qualitative science in the same sense that logic is. Algebra is not
quantitative science. Algebra is the study of mathematical symbols and the
rules for manipulating these symbols. Topology is not quantitative science.
Topology is the study of qualitative properties of topological spaces that are
invariant under certain kinds of transformations.

Here is an explanation why it is essential not to identify quantitative
literacy with mathematics.
https://serc.carleton.edu/sp/library/qr/qr_and_the_disciplines.html

All the best,
Gordana

From: Fis <fis-boun...@listas.unizar.es<mailto:fis-boun...@listas.unizar.es>>
on behalf of Francesco Rizzo
<13francesco.ri...@gmail.com<mailto:13francesco.ri...@gmail.com>>
Date: Sunday, 19 November 2017 at 07:56
To: "y...@pku.edu.cn<mailto:y...@pku.edu.cn>"
<y...@pku.edu.cn<mailto:y...@pku.edu.cn>>
Cc: FIS Group <fis@listas.unizar.es<mailto:fis@listas.unizar.es>>
Subject: Re: [Fis] some notes

Dear colleagues,
existence implies articulate knowledge in the various sciences of nature, human
and social. So the "Science of Logic", not the logic of science, by Georg
Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel (1812-1816) applies to any kind of science. In fact,
pure science of reason is divided into three doctrines of:
- being (quantity, quality and their unity - measure)
https://www.marxistsfr.org/reference/archive/hegel/works/sl/slbeing.htm;
- essence, which studies thought in its reflection or mediation, that is, the
concept as it is "per se" and thus appears;
- concept, study of the concept "in itself and for itself".
The first presentation of reality takes place in the immediate, intuitive forms
of quality, quantity and measure, but one must grasp what is hidden origin in
the reality of being: the essence that represents the "truth of being".
Hegel's reinterpretation provides ontological foundations to (the theory of)
economic value conceived as a combination or energy / information relationship
based on dialectical quantity / quality and "qualitative quantity" or measure.
Hegel does not contrast the quantity with quality, but tries to gain
complementarity by deriving the first from the second. Quantity is the denial
of quality. Quantity and quality vary continuously, they are characterized by
variability, but quantitative variation is indifferent to the quality that does
not change with the change in the quantitative dimension. If the quantity is a
time of outwardness indifferent to the sphere of quality, it justifies or
explains Hegel's lack of consideration for purely quantitative considerations
and therefore for those quantitative or hard mathematical sciences. He believes
that the propositions of geometry and arithmetic have an exclusively analytical
and therefore tautological nature, denying them all heuristic efficacy.
This strong criticism of the rigor and scientific validity of mathematical
models does not prevent him from carrying out an analysis that highlights the
quantitative for the same mathematics, in which, according to this
philosophical approach that strongly influences scientific epistemology, it
raises qualitative criteria making it become "sweet." If maths are forced to
incorporate qualitative or ordinal criteria, they have to move to the sphere of
measure or "qualitative quantity".
Of course, the science of logic has served me to elaborate the New Economy (see
in particular Rizzo F., "Science can not be human, civil, social, economics
(c), enigmatic, noble, prophetic", Aracne , Rome, 2016, pp. 604-615; or Rizzo
F., "The City of Man, Subordinated to Faith", in Human Rights and the City
Crisis by Corrado Beguinot et al., Giannini, Naples, 2012).
So, to make it short, "qualitative quantity", "emo-rationality" and "meaning,
information, communication" are fundamental to the whole of knowledge.
I apologize for being overdue and thank you in advance for your critical
attention.
Francis.

From: Fis <fis-boun...@listas.uniz```

### Re: [Fis] some notes

```mation is
> twofold: communication of information and communication of substrate. The
> study about the mode of communication and processing of information is the
> important aspect of dynamical research of information science.
>
>
>
> Best wishes,
>
> Xueshan
>
>
>
> *From:* fis-boun...@listas.unizar.es [mailto:fis-boun...@listas.unizar.es]
> *On Behalf Of *Loet Leydesdorff
> *Sent:* Saturday, November 18, 2017 4:19 PM
> *To:* Terrence W. DEACON <dea...@berkeley.edu>; fis <fis@listas.unizar.es>
> *Subject:* Re: [Fis] some notes
>
>
>
> Dear Terry and colleagues,
>
>
>
> I agree that one should not confuse communication with the substance of
> communication (e.g., life in bio-semiotics). It seems useful to me to
> distinguish between several concepts of "communication".
>
>
>
> 1. Shannon's (1948) definitions in "The Mathematical Theory of
> Communication". Information is communicated, but is yet meaning free. These
> notions of information and communication are counter-intuitive (Weaver,
> 1949). However, they provide us with means for the measurement, such as
> bits of information. The meaning of the communication is provided by the
> system of reference (Theil, 1972); in other words, by the specification of
> "what is comunicated?" For example, if money is communicated
> (redistributed), the system of reference is a transaction system. If
> molecules are communicated, life can be generated (Maturana).
>
>
>
> 2. Information as "a difference which makes a difference" (Bateson, 1973;
> McKay, 1969). A difference can only make a difference for a receiving
> system that provides meaning to the system. In my opinion, one should in
> this case talk about "meaningful information" and "meaningful
> communication" as different from the Shannon-type information (based on
> probability distributions). In this case, we don't have a clear instrument
> for the measurement. For this reason, I have a preference for the
> definitions under 1.
>
>
>
> 3. Interhuman communication is of a different order because it involves
> intentionality and language. The discourses under 1. and 2. are interhuman
> communication systems. (One has to distinguish levels and should not impose
> our intuitive notion of communication on the processes under study.) In my
> opinion, interhuman communication involves both communication of
> information and possibilities of sharing meaning.
>
>
>
> The Shannon-type information shares with physics the notion of entropy.
> However, physical entropy is dimensioned (Joule/Kelvin; S = k(B) H),
> whereas probabilistic entropy is dimensionless (H). Classical physics, for
> example, is based on the communication of momenta and energy because these
> two quantities have to be conserved. In the 17th century, it was common to
> use the word "communication" in this context (Leibniz).
>
>
>
> Best,
>
> Loet
>
>
>
> -- Original Message --
>
> From: "Terrence W. DEACON" <dea...@berkeley.edu>
>
> To: "fis" <fis@listas.unizar.es>
>
> Cc: "Pedro C. Marijuan" <pcmarijuan.i...@aragon.es>; "Loet Leydesdorff" <
> l...@leydesdorff.net>
>
> Sent: 11/17/2017 6:34:18 PM
>
> Subject: Re: [Fis] some notes
>
>
>
> On communication:
>
>
>
> "Communication" needs to be more carefully distinguished from mere
>
> transfer of physical differences from location to location and time to
>
> time. Indeed, any physical transfer of physical differences in this
>
> respect can be utilized to communicate, and all communication requires
>
> this physical foundation. But there is an important hierarchic
>
> distinction that we need to consider. Simply collapsing our concept of
>
> 'communication' to its physical substrate (and ignoring the process of
>
> interpretation) has the consequence of treating nearly all physical
>
> processes as communication and failing to distinguish those that
>
> additionally convey something we might call representational content.
>
>
>
> Thus while internet communication and signals transferred between
>
> computers do indeed play an essential role in human communication, we
>
> only have to imagine a science fiction story in which all human
>
> interpreters suddenly disappear but our computers nevertheless
>
> continue to exchange signals, to realize that those signals are not
>
> "communicating" anything. At that point they would only be physically
>
> modifying one another, not communicating, except in a sort of
>
> metaphori```

### Re: [Fis] some notes

```Dear Terry and Loet，

I think both of your posts put forward a very important concept to information
studies, i.e., HIERARCHY.

Terry stated: "Communication needs to be more carefully distinguished from mere
transfer of physical differences, …… Any transfer of physical, physical
differences in this respect can be utilized to communicate, and all
communication requires this physical foundation."

I hope to raise a similar question: what is the mode of the existence of
information? My answer is: No information can exist in a bare way. That is to
say, any existence of information is premised on the existence of substrate,
and the substrate can be hierarchical. In the same way, no information can be
communicated or processed in a bare way if and only if it has been embedded in
the substrate. In human information, substrate can be divided into sign, paper,
etc., or other electronic devices. In genetic information, substrate can be
divided into base, DNA or RNA, chromosome, cell, and organism. The study about
the mode of existence of information is an important aspect of ontological
research of information science.

In Terry’s statement: "Simply collapsing our concept (compression, collapse) of
'communication' to its physical substrate ……", or in Loet’s words: "One should
not confuse communication with the substance of communication." Again, this is
a hierarchy problem. Because no information can be communicated in a bare way,
so the communication of information is premised on the communication of
substrate, the same is true in the processing of information. Then, any
communication of information is twofold: communication of information and
communication of substrate. The study about the mode of communication and
processing of information is the important aspect of dynamical research of
information science.

Best wishes,

Xueshan

From: fis-boun...@listas.unizar.es [mailto:fis-boun...@listas.unizar.es] On
Behalf Of Loet Leydesdorff
Sent: Saturday, November 18, 2017 4:19 PM
To: Terrence W. DEACON <dea...@berkeley.edu>; fis <fis@listas.unizar.es>
Subject: Re: [Fis] some notes

Dear Terry and colleagues,

I agree that one should not confuse communication with the substance of
communication (e.g., life in bio-semiotics). It seems useful to me to
distinguish between several concepts of "communication".

1. Shannon's (1948) definitions in "The Mathematical Theory of Communication".
Information is communicated, but is yet meaning free. These notions of
information and communication are counter-intuitive (Weaver, 1949). However,
they provide us with means for the measurement, such as bits of information.
The meaning of the communication is provided by the system of reference (Theil,
1972); in other words, by the specification of "what is comunicated?" For
example, if money is communicated (redistributed), the system of reference is a
transaction system. If molecules are communicated, life can be generated
(Maturana).

2. Information as "a difference which makes a difference" (Bateson, 1973;
McKay, 1969). A difference can only make a difference for a receiving system
that provides meaning to the system. In my opinion, one should in this case
talk about "meaningful information" and "meaningful communication" as different
from the Shannon-type information (based on probability distributions). In this
case, we don't have a clear instrument for the measurement. For this reason, I
have a preference for the definitions under 1.

3. Interhuman communication is of a different order because it involves
intentionality and language. The discourses under 1. and 2. are interhuman
communication systems. (One has to distinguish levels and should not impose our
intuitive notion of communication on the processes under study.) In my opinion,
interhuman communication involves both communication of information and
possibilities of sharing meaning.

The Shannon-type information shares with physics the notion of entropy.
However, physical entropy is dimensioned (Joule/Kelvin; S = k(B) H), whereas
probabilistic entropy is dimensionless (H). Classical physics, for example, is
based on the communication of momenta and energy because these two quantities
have to be conserved. In the 17th century, it was common to use the word
"communication" in this context (Leibniz).

Best,

Loet

-- Original Message --

From: "Terrence W. DEACON" < <mailto:dea...@berkeley.edu> dea...@berkeley.edu>

To: "fis" < <mailto:fis@listas.unizar.es> fis@listas.unizar.es>

Cc: "Pedro C. Marijuan" < <mailto:pcmarijuan.i...@aragon.es>
pcmarijuan.i...@aragon.es>; "Loet Leydesdorff" < <mailto:l...@leydesdorff.net>
l...@leydesdorff.net>

Sent: 11/17/2017 6:34:18 PM

Subject: Re: [Fis] som```

### Re: [Fis] some notes: Precise Qualitative Terms

```Dear All,

Terry's phrase deserves at least the attention, if not the agreement of all of
us. In my view, qualitative terms belong in science if they follow some sort of
logic. There are risks, of fraud and pseudo-science, but these risks cannot be
avoided in reality by relying on mathematics alone.

Two comments, one negative and one positive:
How is it that despite the risk most of us are able to recognize pseudo-science
when we see it?
In the sciences indicated by Terry, are not abductions  to the best
explanations and implications to process dynamics doing some of the necessary
work?

There seems to be no alternative to living partly with uncertainty, then, at
all levels, and this is not congenial to some people. The existence of this
non-congeniality is an example of the science I am talking about.

Best wishes,

Joseph
- Original Message -
From: Terrence W. DEACON
To: fis
Sent: Saturday, November 18, 2017 5:38 AM
Subject: Re: [Fis] some notes

If the definition of science requires quantification and mathematical
representation then most of biology won't qualify, including molecular and
cellular biology, physiology, psychology, and neuroscience. Physics envy has
long ago been abandoned by most working scientists in these fields. This is not
to say that just any sort of theorizing qualifies, nor can we be sure that
today's non-quantifiable science won't someday be susceptible to precise
empirically testable mathematical modeling—even semiotic analyses may someday
be made mathematically precise—but being empirically testable, even if just in
precise qualitative terms, is pretty close to being a core defining attribute.

On Fri, Nov 17, 2017 at 9:34 AM, Terrence W. DEACON <dea...@berkeley.edu>
wrote:

On communication:

"Communication" needs to be more carefully distinguished from mere
transfer of physical differences from location to location and time to
time. Indeed, any physical transfer of physical differences in this
respect can be utilized to communicate, and all communication requires
this physical foundation. But there is an important hierarchic
distinction that we need to consider. Simply collapsing our concept of
'communication' to its physical substrate (and ignoring the process of
interpretation) has the consequence of treating nearly all physical
processes as communication and failing to distinguish those that
additionally convey something we might call representational content.

Thus while internet communication and signals transferred between
computers do indeed play an essential role in human communication, we
only have to imagine a science fiction story in which all human
interpreters suddenly disappear but our computers nevertheless
continue to exchange signals, to realize that those signals are not
"communicating" anything. At that point they would only be physically
modifying one another, not communicating, except in a sort of
metaphoric sense. This sort of process would not be fundamentally
different from solar radiation modifying atoms in the upper atmosphere
or any other similar causal process. It would be odd to say that the
sun is thereby communicating anything to the atmosphere.

So, while I recognize that there are many methodological contexts in
which it makes little difference whether or not we ignore this
semiotic aspect, as many others have also hinted, this is merely to
bracket from consideration what really distinguishes physical transfer
of causal influence from communication. Remember that this was a
methodological strategy that even Shannon was quick to acknowledge in
the first lines of his classic paper. We should endeavor to always be
as careful.

— Terry

--

Professor Terrence W. Deacon
University of California, Berkeley

--

___
Fis mailing list
Fis@listas.unizar.es
http://listas.unizar.es/cgi-bin/mailman/listinfo/fis
___
Fis mailing list
Fis@listas.unizar.es
http://listas.unizar.es/cgi-bin/mailman/listinfo/fis

```

### Re: [Fis] some notes

```
Dear Terry and colleagues,

I agree that one should not confuse communication with the substance of
communication (e.g., life in bio-semiotics). It seems useful to me to
distinguish between several concepts of "communication".

1. Shannon's (1948) definitions in "The Mathematical Theory of
Communication". Information is communicated, but is yet meaningfree.
These notions of information and communication are counter-intuitive
(Weaver, 1949). However, they provide us with means for the measurement,
such as bits of information. The meaning of the communication is
provided by the system of reference (Theil, 1972); in other words, by
the specification of "what is comunicated?" For example, if money is
communicated (redistributed), the system of reference is a transaction
system. If molecules are communicated, life can be generated (Maturana).

2. Information as "a difference which makes a difference" (Bateson,
1973; McKay, 1969). A difference can only make a difference for a
receiving system that provides meaning to the system. In my opinion, one
should in this case talk about "meaningful information" and "meaningful
communication" as different from the Shannon-type information (based on
probability distributions). In this case, we don't have a clear
instrument for the measurement. For this reason, I have a preference for
the definitions under 1.

3. Interhuman communication is of a different order because it involves
intentionality and language. The discourses under 1. and 2. are
interhuman communication systems. (One has to distinguish levels and
should not impose our intuitive notion of communication on the processes
under study.) In my opinion, interhuman communication involves both
communication of information and possibilities of sharing meaning.

The Shannon-type information shares with physics the notion of entropy.
However, physical entropy is dimensioned (Joule/Kelvin; S = k(B) H),
whereas probabilistic entropy is dimensionless (H). Classical physics,
for example, is based on the communication of momenta and energy because
these two quantities have to be conserved. In the 17th century, it was
common to use the word "communication" in this context (Leibniz).

Best,
Loet

-- Original Message --
From: "Terrence W. DEACON" <dea...@berkeley.edu>
To: "fis" <fis@listas.unizar.es>
Cc: "Pedro C. Marijuan" <pcmarijuan.i...@aragon.es>; "Loet Leydesdorff"
<l...@leydesdorff.net>

Sent: 11/17/2017 6:34:18 PM
Subject: Re: [Fis] some notes

On communication:

"Communication" needs to be more carefully distinguished from mere
transfer of physical differences from location to location and time to
time. Indeed, any physical transfer of physical differences in this
respect can be utilized to communicate, and all communication requires
this physical foundation. But there is an important hierarchic
distinction that we need to consider. Simply collapsing our concept of
'communication' to its physical substrate (and ignoring the process of
interpretation) has the consequence of treating nearly all physical
processes as communication and failing to distinguish those that
additionally convey something we might call representational content.

Thus while internet communication and signals transferred between
computers do indeed play an essential role in human communication, we
only have to imagine a science fiction story in which all human
interpreters suddenly disappear but our computers nevertheless
continue to exchange signals, to realize that those signals are not
"communicating" anything. At that point they would only be physically
modifying one another, not communicating, except in a sort of
metaphoric sense. This sort of process would not be fundamentally
different from solar radiation modifying atoms in the upper atmosphere
or any other similar causal process. It would be odd to say that the
sun is thereby communicating anything to the atmosphere.

So, while I recognize that there are many methodological contexts in
which it makes little difference whether or not we ignore this
semiotic aspect, as many others have also hinted, this is merely to
bracket from consideration what really distinguishes physical transfer
of causal influence from communication. Remember that this was a
methodological strategy that even Shannon was quick to acknowledge in
the first lines of his classic paper. We should endeavor to always be
as careful.

— Terry___
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```

### Re: [Fis] some notes

```On communication:

"Communication" needs to be more carefully distinguished from mere
transfer of physical differences from location to location and time to
time. Indeed, any physical transfer of physical differences in this
respect can be utilized to communicate, and all communication requires
this physical foundation. But there is an important hierarchic
distinction that we need to consider. Simply collapsing our concept of
'communication' to its physical substrate (and ignoring the process of
interpretation) has the consequence of treating nearly all physical
processes as communication and failing to distinguish those that
additionally convey something we might call representational content.

Thus while internet communication and signals transferred between
computers do indeed play an essential role in human communication, we
only have to imagine a science fiction story in which all human
interpreters suddenly disappear but our computers nevertheless
continue to exchange signals, to realize that those signals are not
"communicating" anything. At that point they would only be physically
modifying one another, not communicating, except in a sort of
metaphoric sense. This sort of process would not be fundamentally
different from solar radiation modifying atoms in the upper atmosphere
or any other similar causal process. It would be odd to say that the
sun is thereby communicating anything to the atmosphere.

So, while I recognize that there are many methodological contexts in
which it makes little difference whether or not we ignore this
semiotic aspect, as many others have also hinted, this is merely to
bracket from consideration what really distinguishes physical transfer
of causal influence from communication. Remember that this was a
methodological strategy that even Shannon was quick to acknowledge in
the first lines of his classic paper. We should endeavor to always be
as careful.

— Terry

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### Re: [Fis] some notes

```Hi FISers,

I find it convenient to define communication as an irreducibly triadic process
(physical, chemical, biological, physiological, or mental).  I identify such a
triadic process with the Peircean semiosis (or the sign process) often
represented as the following diagram which is isomorphic with the commutative
triangle of the category theory.  Thus, to me, communication is a category:

fg

A -->  B  ---> C
|   ^
|   |
|__|
h

Figure 1.  A diagrammatic representation of semiosis, sign process, or
communication.  The names of the nodes and edges can vary depending on the
communication system under consideration, which can be chemical reaction
systems, gene expression mechanisms, human communication using symbols,
computer systems using electrical signals.  If applied to the Shannon
communication system, A = source, B = signals, C = receiver, f = encoding, g =
decoding, and h = information transfer/flow.  When applied to human symbolic
communicatioin, A = object, B = sign, C = interpretant, f = sign production, g
= interpretation, and h = information flow.

One usefulness of Figure 1 is its ability to distinguish between "interactions"
(see Steps f and g) and "communication" (see Steps f, g and h); the former is

All the best.

Sung

From: Fis <fis-boun...@listas.unizar.es> on behalf of Loet Leydesdorff
<l...@leydesdorff.net>
Sent: Friday, November 17, 2017 8:06 AM
To: Pedro C. Marijuan; fis
Subject: Re: [Fis] some notes

Dear Pedro and colleagues,

2. Eigenvectors of communication. Taking the motif from Loet, and continuing
with the above, could we say that the life cycle itself establishes the
eigenvectors of communication? It is intriguing that maintenance, persistence,
self-propagation are the essential motives of communication for whatever life
entities (from bacteria to ourselves). With the complexity increase there
appear new, more sophisticated directions, but the basic ones probably remain
intact. What could be these essential directions of communication?
I am not so convinced that there is an a priori relation between life and
communication. Communication is not alive. Non-living systems (e.g., computers,
robots) also communicate. Perhaps, it matters for the communication whether the
communicators are living systems; but this needs to be specified.

Communication studies is not biology. Perhaps, there is a specific biological
communication as Maturana claims: when molecules are exchanged, one can expect
life. Can one have life without communication? It seems to me that one can have
communication without life. Communication would then be the broader category
and life a special case.

Best,
Loet

3. About logics in the pre-science, Joseph is quite right demanding that
discussion to accompany principles or basic problems. Actually principles,
rules, theories, etc. are interconnected or should be by a logic (or several
logics?) in order to give validity and coherence to the different combinations
of elements. For instance, in the biomolecular realm there is a fascinating
interplay of activation and inhibition among the participating molecular
partners (enzymes and proteins) as active elements.  I am not aware that
classical ideas from Jacob (La Logique du vivant) have been sufficiently
continued; it is not about Crick's Central Dogma but about the logic of
pathways, circuits, modules, etc. Probably both Torday and Ji have their own
ideas about that-- I would be curious to hear from them.

4. I loved Michel's response to Arturo's challenge. I think that the two
"zeros" I mentioned days ago (the unsolved themes around the cycle and around
the observer) imply both multidisciplinary thinking and philosophical
speculation...

Best wishes--Pedro

-
Pedro C. Marijuán
Grupo de Bioinformación / Bioinformation Group
Instituto Aragonés de Ciencias de la Salud
Centro de Investigación Biomédica de Aragón (CIBA)
Avda. San Juan Bosco, 13, planta 0
50009 Zaragoza, Spain
Tfno. +34 976 71 3526 (& 6818)
pcmarijuan.i...@aragon.es<mailto:pcmarijuan.i...@aragon.es>
-

___
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### Re: [Fis] some notes

```
Dear Pedro and colleagues,

2. Eigenvectors of communication. Taking the motif from Loet, and
continuing with the above, could we say that the life cycle itself
establishes the eigenvectors of communication? It is intriguing that
maintenance, persistence, self-propagation are the essential motives of
communication for whatever life entities (from bacteria to ourselves).
With the complexity increase there appear new, more sophisticated
directions, but the basic ones probably remain intact. What could be
these essential directions of communication?
I am not so convinced that there is an a priori relation between life
and communication. Communication is not alive. Non-living systems (e.g.,
computers, robots) also communicate. Perhaps, it matters for the
communication whether the communicators are living systems; but this
needs to be specified.

Communication studies is not biology. Perhaps, there is a specific
biological communication as Maturana claims: when molecules are
exchanged, one can expect life. Can one have life without communication?
It seems to me that one can have communication without life.
Communication would then be the broader category and life a special
case.

Best,
Loet

3. About logics in the pre-science, Joseph is quite right demanding
that discussion to accompany principles or basic problems. Actually
principles, rules, theories, etc. are interconnected or should be by a
logic (or several logics?) in order to give validity and coherence to
the different combinations of elements. For instance, in the
biomolecular realm there is a fascinating interplay of activation and
inhibition among the participating molecular partners (enzymes and
proteins) as active elements.  I am not aware that classical ideas from
Jacob (La Logique du vivant) have been sufficiently continued; it is
circuits, modules, etc. Probably both Torday and Ji have their own
ideas about that-- I would be curious to hear from them.

4. I loved Michel's response to Arturo's challenge. I think that the
two "zeros" I mentioned days ago (the unsolved themes around the cycle
and around the observer) imply both multidisciplinary thinking and
philosophical speculation...

Best wishes--Pedro

-
Pedro C. Marijuán
Grupo de Bioinformación / Bioinformation Group
Instituto Aragonés de Ciencias de la Salud
Centro de Investigación Biomédica de Aragón (CIBA)
Avda. San Juan Bosco, 13, planta 0
50009 Zaragoza, Spain
Tfno. +34 976 71 3526 (& 6818)
pcmarijuan.i...@aragon.es
-

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http://listas.unizar.es/cgi-bin/mailman/listinfo/fis

```

### Re: [Fis] some notes

```Pedro -- Regarding:

could we say that the life cycle itself establishes the eigenvectors of
communication? It is intriguing that maintenance, persistence,
self-propagation are the essential motives of communication for whatever
life entities (from bacteria to ourselves). With the complexity increase
there appear new, more sophisticated directions, but the basic ones
probably remain intact. What could be these essential directions of
communication?

S: It is interesting on this point to note the studied avoidance of serious
discourses to include the "life cycle itself" (i.e.: immaturity
->maturity-> senescence) in any scientific study other than some areas of
biology (gerontology).  One can conclude that we have such a fear of aging
that it has blinded our discourses to this basic fact.

STAN

On Mon, Nov 13, 2017 at 8:30 AM, Pedro C. Marijuan <
pcmarijuan.i...@aragon.es> wrote:

> Dear All,
>
> Herewith some notes on the exchanges of past weeks (sorry, I was away in
>
> 1. Agents & Information. There were very good insights exchanged; probably
> both terms make a fertile marriage. Actually I have been writing about
> "informational entities" or "subjects" as receivers/builders of information
> but taking into account the other disciplines around, "agents" look as the
> most natural companion of information. The only thing I don't quite like is
> that they usually appear as abstract, disembodied communicative entities
> that do not need self-producing. Their communication is free from whatever
> life maintenance...
>
> 2. Eigenvectors of communication. Taking the motif from Loet, and
> continuing with the above, could we say that the life cycle itself
> establishes the eigenvectors of communication? It is intriguing that
> maintenance, persistence, self-propagation are the essential motives of
> communication for whatever life entities (from bacteria to ourselves). With
> the complexity increase there appear new, more sophisticated directions,
> but the basic ones probably remain intact. What could be these essential
> directions of communication?
>
> 3. About logics in the pre-science, Joseph is quite right demanding that
> discussion to accompany principles or basic problems. Actually principles,
> rules, theories, etc. are interconnected or should be by a logic (or
> several logics?) in order to give validity and coherence to the different
> combinations of elements. For instance, in the biomolecular realm there is
> a fascinating interplay of activation and inhibition among the
> participating molecular partners (enzymes and proteins) as active
> elements.  I am not aware that classical ideas from Jacob (La Logique du
> vivant) have been sufficiently continued; it is not about Crick's Central
> Dogma but about the logic of pathways, circuits, modules, etc. Probably
> both Torday and Ji have their own ideas about that-- I would be curious to
> hear from them.
>
> 4. I loved Michel's response to Arturo's challenge. I think that the two
> "zeros" I mentioned days ago (the unsolved themes around the cycle and
> around the observer) imply both multidisciplinary thinking and
> philosophical speculation...
>
> Best wishes--Pedro
>
> -
> Pedro C. Marijuán
> Grupo de Bioinformación / Bioinformation Group
> Instituto Aragonés de Ciencias de la Salud
> Centro de Investigación Biomédica de Aragón (CIBA)
> Avda. San Juan Bosco, 13, planta 0
> 50009 Zaragoza, Spain
> Tfno. +34 976 71 3526 (& 6818)
> pcmarijuan.i...@aragon.es
> -
>
> ___
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> Fis@listas.unizar.es
> http://listas.unizar.es/cgi-bin/mailman/listinfo/fis
>
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```