[Fis] _ Reply to Annette (A Priori Modeling)

Pedro C. Marijuan pcmarijuan.iacs at aragon.es
Fri Jun 24 13:38:57 CEST 2016

Dear Marcus and All,

As usual I find a crucial element missing in both your initial text and 
in the responses up to now. How can I express that abscence in two or 
three lines?
"Agency" is missing. It is factually minimized under the form of 
constraints and uncertainty. Communication occurs because some kind of 
"emitter" agent operates as a "source" and sends "messages" via an 
appropriate "channel" to some "receiver". I have put quotations to the 
standard Shannonian terms. My central question: could there be any form 
of non-living agency? And then, What different forms of life could 
receive the "agent" label? How being alive biases the non-at-all-free 
communication game?

These questions will be refined next days...

     respect El 23/06/2016 a las 8:37, Loet Leydesdorff escribió:
> Dear Bob, Stan and colleagues,
> The Shannon formula measures "capacity" for information, *not* 
> information itself. Consider the "snow" pattern on a TV without a 
> signal. Its Shannon measure is much higher than when a picture appears 
> onscreen, yet we know that the snow pattern carries no information.
> The expected information of a message that an event has taken place 
> can be measured precisely in terms of bits of information using the 
> Shannon formulas. As Weaver noted (and Shannon was aware), this 
> concept of information (uncertainty) is counter-intuitive. It enables 
> us among other things to distinguish between “information” and 
> “meaningful information”. A screen with noise carries maximal 
> information, but this information is not meaningful.
> Providing Shannon-type information with meaning presumes the 
> specification of a system of reference; for example, an observer. 
> Different from observed information, expected information is yet 
> dimensionless (“a priori”). The analytical distinction between 
> information processing and meaning processing enables us also to 
> specify (perhaps measure as redundancy) the different meanings that 
> can be provided to the same uncertainty by different systems of 
> reference. For example, the white noise on the screen may be 
> unexpected or not (since the antenna was not correctly plugged in).
> “The concept of information developed in this theory at first seems 
> disappointing and bizarre—disappointing because it has nothing to do 
> with meaning … I think, however, …  that this analysis has so 
> penetratingly cleared the air that one is now, perhaps for the first 
> time, ready for a real theory of meaning.” (Weaver, 1949, p. 27)
> In my opinion, a “real theory of meaning” should enable us to 
> specify/measure meaning as redundancy / reduction of uncertainty given 
> information as uncertainty. I took this further in: Loet Leydesdorff, 
> Alexander Petersen, and Inga A. Ivanova, The Self-Organization of 
> Meaning and the Reflexive Communication of Information. 
> <http://arxiv.org/abs/1507.05251>/Social Science Information /(in press).
> Best,
> Loet
> ------------------------------------------------------------------------
> Loet Leydesdorff
> Professor, University of Amsterdam
> Amsterdam School of Communication Research (ASCoR)
> loet at leydesdorff.net <mailto:loet at leydesdorff.net>; 
> http://www.leydesdorff.net/
> Associate Faculty, SPRU, <http://www.sussex.ac.uk/spru/>University of 
> Sussex;
> Guest Professor Zhejiang Univ. <http://www.zju.edu.cn/english/>, 
> Hangzhou; Visiting Professor, ISTIC, 
> <http://www.istic.ac.cn/Eng/brief_en.html>Beijing;
> Visiting Professor, Birkbeck <http://www.bbk.ac.uk/>, University of 
> London;
> http://scholar.google.com/citations?user=ych9gNYAAAAJ&hl=en

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 X
50009 Zaragoza, Spain
Tfno. +34 976 71 3526 (& 6818)
pcmarijuan.iacs at aragon.es

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