[Fis] FIS discussions. "constraints". Post-Machine

Joseph Brenner joe.brenner at bluewin.ch
Tue Nov 5 08:55:10 CET 2019

Dear All,


I will raise just my tiny voice to object to the term post-Human. It is
because Krassimir’s joke is underdetermined that Christophe’s answer is
problematic. The term could refer to the opposite of total anarchy, e.g.,
total (mind) control/constraint by an ‘unholy alliance’ of robots and
Republicans. I suggest – for discussion – that human anxiety (is there any
other?) could be reduced by using a term for the future in which the human
aspect is enhanced, say, post-Machine! I think it is along these lines that
the deeply insightful satires of Stanislaw Lem should be read.


Best wishes,





From: Fis [mailto:fis-bounces at listas.unizar.es] On Behalf Of Christophe
Sent: lundi, 4 novembre 2019 11:41
To: FIS; Krassimir Markov
Subject: Re: [Fis] FIS discussions. “constraints”


Dear Krassimir, 
Thanks for your comments, 
I’m not sure that your usage of “information expectation” is that similar to
my usage of “constraints” as a key component of meaning generation. A
constraint is for me a characteristic of the agent (like “stay alive” for an
animal, "limit anxiety for humans" or ”act as programmed” for a robot). Can
“information expectation” have the same function?  Perhaps you could tell us
a bit more.
Your joke is fine. A pre-biotic universe (no local constraint) as equal for
you to a post-human one => no constraint in a post-human universe => total
freedom & anarchy ..

As you can guess, the post-human I like to consider is different. It is
mostly about looking for a better mastering of our human anxiety limitation
constraints which have significant impacts on our mental lives. The
corresponding anxiety management processes are critical to our psychological
well-being. Their dis-functioning can be source of mental disorders and
illnesses. This looks to me as a needed aspect of a possible human future (
<https://philpapers.org/rec/MENPFA-4> https://philpapers.org/rec/MENPFA-4).


De : Krassimir Markov <markov at foibg.com>
Envoyé : dimanche 3 novembre 2019 15:37
À : Christophe Menant <christophe.menant at hotmail.fr>; FIS
<fis at listas.unizar.es>
Objet : Re: [Fis] FIS discussions. “constraints” 


Dear Christophe,

I remember your presentation.

What you call “constraints” I call “information expectation”.

I think they are similar.

As a joke:   

Pre-biotic universe is equal to Post-Humans one !


Dear Bruno,

To be specified one needs another one who can specify him/her/it.

Who can specify the “the most highly specified object there can be" ?


Friendly greetings







From: Christophe <mailto:christophe.menant at hotmail.fr>  Menant 

Sent: Saturday, November 02, 2019 11:14 PM

To: Stanley N <mailto:ssalthe at binghamton.edu>  Salthe ; fis
<mailto:fis at listas.unizar.es>  

Subject: Re: [Fis] FIS discussions. Units


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> 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

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



On Thu, Oct 31, 2019 at 9:06 AM Pedro C. Marijuan
<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


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


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

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
dePBHzJnrwyGgjX1kvDrGnQVfhHb5DQ%3D&reserved=0>  Campbell of Duke University.
“It should have been equivalence all along.” The most prominent figure in
this community is Jacob
N3WlbCXMlUqZdtQah0zaZ6wkqUuVm6WCKc%3D&reserved=0>  Lurie. 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
hbPHedrjEW36WpAHcMxximwggdGVgS80U%3D&reserved=0>  Hopkins, a mathematician
at Harvard and Lurie’s graduate school adviser. Lurie published his first
5dLS3%2BJ7Mp3VlApGdM%3D&reserved=0> Higher Topos Theory, 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
6jQ2Jl0kjfZ8enhUH%2Fjg%2FLP908SffeJ3zkGFH4Ng%3D&reserved=0>  Francis 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



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