[Fis] FIS discussions. Units

Christophe Menant christophe.menant at hotmail.fr
Sat Nov 2 22:14:33 CET 2019

Dear Stan,

I agree with your answer to Q4 positioning meaning and information as paving the path from inanimate to animate.
Let me propose to complement your wording by saying that physical and chemical laws exist everywhere (to characterize the inanimate). And that “harnessing physical and chemical processes for the production of complex wholes” (for the animate) can be understood as submitting physical and chemical processes to the local constraints of the animate entity.
An important aspect is that physico-chemical laws apply everywhere, but local constraints apply only at the location of the animate entity (like a “stay alive” constraint). The difference is mostly in the locality of the constraint associated to information and meaning for the animate entity.
And focusing on local constraints allows to introduce agency and autonomy quite naturally:
We can define an agent as an entity submitted to an internal constraint and capable of action to satisfy the constraint.
Then, an autonomous agent is an agent that can satisfy its constraints by its own.
For Q5, I also agree with your answer and would just propose a rewording:
animate objects use inanimate objects to satisfy their constraints (animate objects can be animals, humans or artificial agents).
More can be said in an evolutionary background about information, meaning and constraint, starting at a pre-biotic level and looking at a possible post-human one. You may remember an IS4SI 2017 presentation on that subject (https://philpapers.org/rec/MENICA-2)

All the best


De : Fis <fis-bounces at listas.unizar.es> de la part de Stanley N Salthe <ssalthe at binghamton.edu>
Envoyé : jeudi 31 octobre 2019 20:47
À : fis <fis at listas.unizar.es>
Objet : Re: [Fis] FIS discussions. Units

Pedro -- my answers to your two questions:

Q4: Does an informed path exist which logically organizes the inanimate into the animate?

     Physics and chemistry are concerned with events that are ‘spontaneous’, requiring no ‘information’.

Biology, however, is based in information, which harnesses physical and chemical processes to the

production of complex wholes.  Biological systems and entities have, and are involved with, meanings.

Thus, the ‘path’ from the inanimate to the animate is ‘paved’ with information. Meaning and information

entail each other.

Q5: What are relationships between the inanimate objects and the animate objects?

     Animate objects(systems) manipulate inanimate objects(resources).


On Thu, Oct 31, 2019 at 9:06 AM Pedro C. Marijuan <pcmarijuan.iacs at aragon.es<mailto:pcmarijuan.iacs at aragon.es>> wrote:

Dear List,

Some brief responses to Jerry and Karl.

Q4: Does an informed path exist which logically organizes the inanimate into the animate?
Q5: What are relationships between the inanimate objects and the animate objects?

Hypothesis: If two independent forms (parts) are copulated (linked, conjoined, connected, bound) together, a novel interdependent informed whole is formed.
Hypothesis: A set of atomic numbers can be composed into an animate object by copulating the set of parts into a natural sort or kind (an organized whole).

Pedro: Do these assertions add any light  to you critical quation about possible relationships between units,  the animate and the inanimate?  Is any simpler scientific mathematics possible?

Thanks for the abstraction effort, Jerry. Your whole questions set is a very good discussion guide although enormously difficult to be answered, at least in the biological realm. Even for a very simple cell, eg the prokaryote (bacteria), the way its components are coupled and the relationship they keep with their environment has not been properly put in informational terms yet, as far as I know. A couple of years ago I made a pretty complete catalogue of the "signaling parts" of E. coli, and the result was surprising for me (see Marijuan et al., BioSystems, 2017). In a few words, "nothing was eaten that had not been previously recognized by some signaling apparatus". It is literal, for in the order of 200 'receptors' of all sort could check for 300 or more different types of 'food' molecules. Putting in another way, the "energy flow" and the "information flow" of the living cell are completely interrelated. And the result of their 'logical' coupling is the systematic emergence of a life cycle that includes reproduction --Spinoza's principle of conatus. What kind of elegant informational/logical synthesis could be made (beyond the ensuing Darwinian Dogma)?

Responding to Karl, I was surprised to find, some posts ago, a critique of the equality sign. His idea, well argued from his multidimensional partitions argument (equality hides from view the many possible variable distributions of qualities inside the number's sumands), has been coincidentally developed by other mathematicians in a different field: "infinite categories". See the abstract below, (courtesy of Malcolm Dean).

With Category Theory, Mathematics Escapes From Equality
Two monumental works have led many mathematicians to avoid the equal sign. Their goal: Rebuild the foundations of the discipline upon the looser relationship of “equivalence.” The process has not always gone smoothly.
Kevin Hartnett, Senior Writer
Quanta Magazine, 10 October 2019
The equal sign is the bedrock of mathematics. It seems to make an entirely fundamental and uncontroversial statement: These things are exactly the same.
But there is a growing community of mathematicians who regard the equal sign as math’s original error. They see it as a veneer that hides important complexities in the way quantities are related — complexities that could unlock solutions to an enormous number of problems. They want to reformulate mathematics in the looser language of equivalence. “We came up with this notion of equality,” said Jonathan Campbell<https://eur02.safelinks.protection.outlook.com/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.jonathanacampbell.com%2F&data=02%7C01%7C%7C1d3a8c6458334f21a76108d75e3b544b%7C84df9e7fe9f640afb435aaaaaaaaaaaa%7C1%7C0%7C637081481216183683&sdata=5FOOUwFI2G6gdePBHzJnrwyGgjX1kvDrGnQVfhHb5DQ%3D&reserved=0> of Duke University. “It should have been equivalence all along.” The most prominent figure in this community is Jacob Lurie<https://eur02.safelinks.protection.outlook.com/?url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.ias.edu%2Fscholars%2Flurie&data=02%7C01%7C%7C1d3a8c6458334f21a76108d75e3b544b%7C84df9e7fe9f640afb435aaaaaaaaaaaa%7C1%7C0%7C637081481216193706&sdata=6E3n8A9PiN3WlbCXMlUqZdtQah0zaZ6wkqUuVm6WCKc%3D&reserved=0>. In July, Lurie, 41, left his tenured post at Harvard University for a faculty position at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey, home to many of the most revered mathematicians in the world. Lurie’s ideas are sweeping on a scale rarely seen in any field. Through his books, which span thousands of dense, technical pages, he has constructed a strikingly different way to understand some of the most essential concepts in math by moving beyond the equal sign. “I just think he felt this was the correct way to think about mathematics,” said Michael Hopkins<https://eur02.safelinks.protection.outlook.com/?url=http:%2F%2Fwww.math.harvard.edu%2F~mjh%2F&data=02%7C01%7C%7C1d3a8c6458334f21a76108d75e3b544b%7C84df9e7fe9f640afb435aaaaaaaaaaaa%7C1%7C0%7C637081481216203717&sdata=hS4PFJhW%2BmhbPHedrjEW36WpAHcMxximwggdGVgS80U%3D&reserved=0>, a mathematician at Harvard and Lurie’s graduate school adviser. Lurie published his first book, Higher Topos Theory<https://eur02.safelinks.protection.outlook.com/?url=https%3A%2F%2Fpress.princeton.edu%2Fbooks%2Fpaperback%2F9780691140490%2Fhigher-topos-theory-am-170&data=02%7C01%7C%7C1d3a8c6458334f21a76108d75e3b544b%7C84df9e7fe9f640afb435aaaaaaaaaaaa%7C1%7C0%7C637081481216223721&sdata=Yq5%2Fb1ph%2BjWx%2Fc1evVvqcAk045dLS3%2BJ7Mp3VlApGdM%3D&reserved=0>, in 2009. The 944-page volume serves as a manual for how to interpret established areas of mathematics in the new language of “infinity categories.” In the years since, Lurie’s ideas have moved into an increasingly wide range of mathematical disciplines. Many mathematicians view them as indispensable to the future of the field. “No one goes back once they’ve learned infinity categories,” said John Francis<https://eur02.safelinks.protection.outlook.com/?url=https:%2F%2Fsites.math.northwestern.edu%2F~jnkf%2F&data=02%7C01%7C%7C1d3a8c6458334f21a76108d75e3b544b%7C84df9e7fe9f640afb435aaaaaaaaaaaa%7C1%7C0%7C637081481216233732&sdata=Ylo6jQ2Jl0kjfZ8enhUH%2Fjg%2FLP908SffeJ3zkGFH4Ng%3D&reserved=0> of Northwestern University.

So... very good point by Karl! Could new mathematical ideas provide the bio-mathematical (informational) synthesis needed?
Best wishes to all,

Pedro C. Marijuán
Grupo de Bioinformación / Bioinformation Group

pcmarijuan.iacs at aragon.es<mailto:pcmarijuan.iacs at aragon.es>

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