[Fis] Anticipatory Systems--"Potential"

Loet Leydesdorff loet at leydesdorff.net
Sun Nov 25 05:10:10 CET 2018

Dear Pedro, Joseph, and colleagues,

Let me side with Joseph in this instance.

>memories? And, similarly, does not "potential" refer to 
>cognitive/anticipatory capabilities that somehow detect higher fitness 
>possibilities along some behavioral paths than others, and then conduce 
>to the long term realization and flourishing of a life cycle? The 
>potential belongs, say, to the "processual" not to the physical. In my 
>view, the general challenge is to re-explain narratives, the 
>fundamental commodity of social communication, in a more advanced 
>conceptualization, beyond the Jungian, the Shannonian, or the corrosive 
>fake-correctedness  of our times... It can be done. The neuroscientific 
>approach would be badly needed to recreate the terminology and the 
>fundamental ideas.
Perhaps, I miss the meaning of some of the wordings in this narrative 
:-), but it seems to me that there is something terribly wrong here. 
"The potential belongs ... to the "processual." We can consider this as 
"nom de gueux."

One always begins with the specification of expectations. I assume that 
these are then "processual"? Expectations (possible states) are tested 
against observations and can then sometimes be rejected.

For example: One can hypothesize that there are gender differences on 
this list. Then, one can cross-table those of us who on average publish 
0, 1, or 2 postings with the gender differences (M/F).  This generates a 
3 times 2  table.

Using the margin totals one can compute the expected values of each cell 
and test the observed values against the expectations. The expectations 
are "processual"? Indeed, they are possibilities which do not have to be 
realized. That is an empirical question.

Unfortunately, Logic-in-Reality works as a logic with only two values 
(T/F). This may lead to a poor design when one needs more grey shades.


Loet Leydesdorff

Professor emeritus, University of Amsterdam
Amsterdam School of Communication Research (ASCoR)

loet en leydesdorff.net <mailto:loet en leydesdorff.net>; 
Associate Faculty, SPRU, <http://www.sussex.ac.uk/spru/>University of 

Guest Professor Zhejiang Univ. <http://www.zju.edu.cn/english/>, 
Hangzhou; Visiting Professor, ISTIC, 

Visiting Fellow, Birkbeck <http://www.bbk.ac.uk/>, University of London;


>Best regards
>  El 21/11/2018 a las 9:31, Joseph Brenner escribió:
>>Dear Colleagues,
>>Pedro’s approach, solidly anchored in biology, allows for progress in 
>>understanding. Two comments on his ‘logic’: 1) I would not call the 
>>‘concoction’ within which we live imaginary. It is rather a set of 
>>real, dynamic mental processes, with actual and potential, effectively 
>>causal components. 2) ‘Complex life’ instantiates potential (and 
>>kinetic) energy not only in a ‘book keeping role’. Complex life is 
>>constituted by actual and potential energy evolving in cycles and 
>>stages. Some myths (Epimetheus and Prometheus) correctly express this 
>>duality and its evolution.
>>Unfortunately, there is another myth that I believe correctly models 
>>part of Jerry’s proposals. It is that of Procrustes, an innkeeper who 
>>stretched or cut the legs of his guests to make them fit the only 
>>available beds, until taken care of by Heracles. You write:   A lot 
>>more needs to be said about the intimate nature of relations among 
>>scientific narratives before one can bind the logic of the perplex 
>>number system to the grammars associated with mathematically 
>>structured anticipatory systems.
>>This sentence needs to be parsed, given the concatenation of terms: in 
>>my opinion, the purpose of understanding the relations among 
>>scientific narratives is to understand real anticipatory systems, 
>>whether or not mathematically structured. Perplex numbers are 
>>artificial numerological constructions with a corresponding logic that 
>>may or may not apply to other artificial constructions, such as 
>>abstract anticipatory systems, without dynamics. Narratives about real 
>>science could be applied in principle to such questions, but the 
>>implication must be avoided that such application would tell us 
>>anything about reality.
>>I cannot accept any manipulation of numbers as being more than a 
>>posteriori. This applies also to Karl’s approach. Also, the concept of 
>>an ‘in-formed’ number is an oxymoron, although I understand the 
>>attempt to ascribe ‘value-by-association’, so to speak. Numbers cannot 
>>accept ‘form’, or its meaning; they exist, eternally, outside the 
>>world of form and change.
>>I thus stress the importance of Pedro’s statement:  processes do not 
>>go smoothly upwards from the quantum level. As one proceeds to higher 
>>levels of reality, there are discontinuities and different laws apply. 
>>One only notes the presence of some isomorphisms, such as the failure 
>>of some macroscopic process equations to commute or distribute. 
>>Finally, I, at least, will resist any attempts to let in, through the 
>>back door, anti-scientific concepts of quantum processes in mind and 
>>Best wishes,
>>From: Fis [mailto:fis-bounces en listas.unizar.es] On Behalf Of Pedro C. 
>>Sent: mardi, 20 novembre 2018 21:15
>>To: fis
>>Cc: Jerry LR Chandler
>>Subject: Re: [Fis] Anticipatory Systems--"Potential"
>>Dear Jerry and FIS colleagues,
>>I wonder how big or how clever your Chemostat apparatus should be. 
>>There are thousands of metabolic intermediates in an organism, and 
>>there are another thousands of diversified signals. And we have in the 
>>order of 30 billion cells (trillions in the US system). Plus around 
>>100 trillion of bacterial cells in the microbiome. "We" are the 
>>emergence all of that molecular diversity. It does not mean that life 
>>exactly "controls" all the details of the mega-information of this 
>>whole system... How that control is organized, the principles of 
>>biological information, so to speak, become another great question, 
>>but probably very different from the idea of mass control in a 
>>chemostat. In any case, the way you have argued it, seemingly smoothly 
>>going upwards from the quantum level, is beyond of what I consider 
>>feasible. Scientific overstretching of a reasonable paradigm perhaps.
>>Socially, indeed, we do not try to communicate around by following a 
>>colossal strategy of reducing happenstances to their quantum 
>>description; neither to the kind of meta-languages you mention. In 
>>general, social communication revolves around narratives. They are not 
>>free-wheeling constructions (at least referring to the "great stories" 
>>of all epochs) but optimized tools to guide individuals in the 
>>advancement of their lives, in the achievement of their "potential". 
>>Looking at the historical evolution of those great stories, they are 
>>teaching us about which were the cardinal aspects of common life to be 
>>specifically grasped by the child, by the adolescent, by the maiden, 
>>the artisan, the warrior, the priest... And in this social 
>>communication endeavors, life cycles do not appear as homogeneous 
>>linearly "timed". Human lives are continuously looking ahead, 
>>anticipating ("Prometheus" style) but simultaneously looking at the 
>>past and pondering on it ("Epimetheus" style). Although "presentists", 
>>we live within an imaginary concoction built of mosaic pasts and 
>>futures, "multi-timed" so to speak. The way to harmonize past, 
>>present, and future (vital information) is one of the leit motifs of 
>>those great stories.
>>And about cycles, so many of them can be found. At the scale of the 
>>organism:  cellular & tissular cycles, metabolic cycles, behavioral 
>>cycles, ultradian cycles, circadian cycles, seasonal cycles, yearly 
>>cycles, secular cycles, and many others related to social mores. Some 
>>of them can be arranged in a sort of hierarchy or inclusivity, but 
>>there is a fundamental diversity. That most of this orchestration of 
>>cycles does not require a conscious effort does not mean that we 
>>should ignore them concerning the roots of social communication. The 
>>cycles and stages (and "passages") within a life cycle have an ominous 
>>presence. As i was saying, the "potential" of each young life in 
>>ascend requires the reception of wisdom (via social communication 
>>narratives) to integrate the own individual path within the social 
>>matrix of the time.
>>Thinking twice about the "potential" of life, it might be something 
>>important to consider regarding any form or manifestation of life. 
>>Perhaps better than the Principle of Conatus from Spinoza I was 
>>referring days ago (the effort to self-maintain and flourish). Complex 
>>life has "potential" to advance along some multi-time, multi-cycle 
>>developmental path in the most complex of all environments: the social 
>>matrix. Is there some deep similarity of this potential with the role 
>>that "potential" energy plays in our book-keeping of energy 
>>Thanking the comments,
>>Fis mailing list
>>Fis en listas.unizar.eshttp://listas.unizar.es/cgi-bin/mailman/listinfo/fis
>Pedro C. Marijuán
>Grupo de Bioinformación / Bioinformation Group
>pcmarijuan.iacs en aragon.eshttp://sites.google.com/site/pedrocmarijuan/
>Libre de virus. www.avast.com 
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