[Fis] Shannonian Mechanics?

Pedro C. Marijuan pcmarijuan.iacs at aragon.es
Wed Jun 29 12:58:37 CEST 2016

Dear Marcus, Loet, Bob... and All,

Again very briefly, your exchanges make clear the limits of the received 
Shannonian approach and the (narrow?) corridors left for advancement. I 
find this situation highly reminiscent of what happened with Mechanics 
long ago: an excellent theory (but of limited scope) was overstretched 
and used as a paradigm of what All science should be... it contributed 
well to technology and to some other natural science disciplines, but 
was far from useful --nefarious?-- for humanities and for the future of 
psychological and social science studies.

The figure from Weaver in Loet's excellent posting leaves a few aspects 
outside. The why, the what, the how long, the with whom, and other 
aspects of the information phenomenon do not enter. By doing that we 
have streamlined the phenomenon... and have left it ready for applying a 
highly successful theory, in the technological and in many other realms 
(linguistics, artif. intelligence, neurodynamics, molec. networks, ecol. 
networks, applied soc. metrics, etc). Pretty big and impressive, but is 
it enough? Shouldn't we try to go beyond?

I wonder whether a far wider "phenomenology of information" is needed 
(reminding what Maxine argued months ago about the whole contemplation 
of our own movement, or Plamen about the "war on cancer"?). If that 
inquiry is successful we could find for instance that:

1. There are UNIVERSALS of information. Not only in the transmission or 
in the encoding used, well captured by the present theory, but also in 
the generation, in the "purpose", the "meaning", the targeted subject/s, 
in the duration, the cost, the value, the fitness or adaptive 
"intelligence", etc.


3. Those UNIVERSALS would be organized, wrapped, around an ESSENTIAL 
CORE. It would consist in the tight ingraining of self-production and 
communication (almost inseparable, and both information based!). In the 
human special case, it is the whole advancement of our own lives what 
propels us to engage in endless communication --about the universals of 
our own species-- but with the terrific advantage of an open-ended 
communication system, language.

4. Those UNIVERSALS would have been streamlined in very different ways 
and taken as "principles" or starting points for a number of 
disciplines--remembering the discussion about the four Great Domains of 
Science. A renewed Information Science should nucleate one of those 

Best regards to all,
(and particular greetings to the new parties joined for this discussion)

El 27/06/2016 a las 12:43, Marcus Abundis escribió:
> Dear Loet,
>     I hoped to reply to your posts sooner as of all the voices on FIS 
> I often sense a general kinship with your views. But I also confess I 
> have difficulty in precisely grasping your views – the reason for my 
> delay.
> >[while Shannon’s] concept of information (uncertainty) <
> > is counter-intuitive. It enables us among other things <
> > to distinguish between "information" and "meaningful <
> > information". <
> • Easily agreed; *how* to distinguish a presumed meaning (or 
> meaningless-ness) then becomes the remaining issue.
> > Providing . . . meaning presumes the specification <
> > of a system of reference; for example, an observer.<
> • It is telling for me (in viewing our differences and likenesses) 
> that you suggest an observer. My “system of relating“ accommodates but 
> does not require an observer (okay – observer, defined how?), as shown 
> immediately below.
> >Different[ly] . . . expected information is dimensionless<
> > ("a priori"). <
> • I suggest the act of “expectation“ already infers minimal dimensions 
> – for example, who/what/how is doing the expecting? Thus, in my view, 
> this is not truly a priori. A “readiness“ or a compelling functional 
> need innate to any “system of relating“ has bearing. For example, a 
> single Oxygen atom has a compelling/innate need to react with other 
> elements, just as any agent is compelled to react to “nutrients.“ Both 
> imply dimensional expectations, no? (obviously – of different 
> orders/types).
> > In my opinion, a "real theory of meaning" should enable <
> > us to specify/measure meaning as redundancy / reduction <
> > of uncertainty given . . . I took this further in . . . <
> > The Self-Organization of Meaning and the Reflexive . . .<
> • My weak grasp of the concepts in this paper leads me to think you 
> are actually modeling the “processing of meaning,“ 
> related-to-but-distinct-from “generating meaning“ that I target. I 
> also vaguely recall(?) in an offline exchange I asked you if you saw 
> this paper as presenting a “theory of meaning“ and you answered “No.“
> • In your later response to Pedro, I found your citation matrix a 
> interesting example of your thinking, but still too “high-order“ for 
> my reductive-but-meaningful aim. Your matrix (for me) presents an 
> essential complexity of high-order views, but in itself it is too 
> simple to detail *how* a citation is *meaningfully used.* Still, an 
> intriguing concept that might be meaningfully expanded? Perhaps there 
> are more useful details in the additional papers you list, which I 
> have not had a chance to explore.
> • Your last post then reinforces my sense you are actually exploring 
> the processing of meaning, rather than the generation of meaning. 
> Diverse “systems of relating“ you name seem to be “on point“ and
> > can be considered as a semantic domain (Maturana,1978)<
> But I find this unsatisfying as exactly *what(s)* is being related, 
> and exactly *how* it is being related, does not seem to be covered. It 
> is in precisely naming those “whats“ and “hows“ that true a priori 
> models become possible. For example, a *system of relating* between “a 
> hominid and a rock“ affords certain types of meaning, equally a 
> *system of relating* between “the same rock and an ant“ affords wholly 
> different types of meaning – all in regards to an identical 
> (autonomous) rock.
> > the same information is delineated differently and <
> > considered from a different perspective <
> arguing for essential subjectivity? This seems to point to my use of 
> delta O and delta S in the video.
> • I am unsure if we are in: radical agreement, radical disagreement, 
> or if we just name subtle differences. . . but I thought I should at 
> least attempt a reply to your posts and see what ensues.
> > In my opinion, the task is to specify mechanisms which <
> > generate redundancy <
> This leads me to believe we essentially agree but focus on different 
> levels of operation and complexity. Any thoughts you have to share are 
> appreciated.
> Sincerely,
> Marcus

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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