Gordana Dodig-Crnkovic gordana.dodig-crnkovic at mdh.se
Tue Oct 15 09:52:44 CEST 2019

Dear colleagues,

For this community, recent posts by Terry, Anette and Josef show how central it is to continue learning and incorporating new knowledge into the existing one. We learn as we go, and occasionally even unlearn, i.e. leave behind beliefs not supported by the best existing scientific knowledge. Enormous amounts of new knowledge relevant for our endeavor are being produced as we speak, from physics of “active matter” and studying physical processes in living organisms, to chemistry including supramolecular chemistry, up to bioinformatics, neuroinformatics, neurocomputing, network science applied to all possible levels of organization of systems up to social and ecological, etc. etc. As Society for the Study of Information we need knowledge from all sorts of sciences, including social and humanities with philosophy, and from other knowledge fields as well, to organize it in a network of networks of mutually interacting knowledge nodes.

That means in practical terms that we should welcome people from other fields, both domain specialist and those with multidisciplinary/ cross-disciplinary/ interdisciplinary research to share knowledge and help us critically think and continuously learn. Especially young people can make a difference with their openness and readiness to go beyond the present state of the art.
In order to support learning across disciplinary borders, we can invite people from other communities to join our discussions and we should be willing to share knowledge from FIS/is4si with other communities/ conferences/ journals/ societies also consciously promoting, wherever we can, work of is4si/FIS.

Marcin’s proposal of ambassadors of is4si can help us in this broadening of the membership, and inclusiveness should be the leading principle.
Also the idea to follow the example of our colleagues in China and form specific is4si chapters in Europa the US and wherever we have members, would be highly beneficial to ensure the growth and diversity of the Society.

All the best

I would like to share with you information about the forthcoming conference:
Entropy 2020. The Scientific Tool of the 21st Century 06-08 May 2020 in Porto, Portugal https://sciforum.net/conference/Entropy2020

From: Fis <fis-bounces en listas.unizar.es> on behalf of Joseph Brenner <joe.brenner en bluewin.ch>
Date: Monday, 14 October 2019 at 09:24
To: "annette.grathoff en is4si.org" <annette.grathoff en is4si.org>, "fis en listas.unizar.es" <fis en listas.unizar.es>
Subject: Re: [Fis] FIS discussions. Units

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

This (rich) note of Annette’s, plus the previous one of Terry, constitutes practically a new ‘Charter’ for FIS. I will only mention one bit here. Annette writes: Entities respectively matter (fermionic-, mass carrying) assemblies which can be moved (or move by themselves) as independent, stable units give science a really tough challenge for definition;

In my paper in Philosophies with Andrei Igamberdiev earlier this year, we tried to identify what such ‘units’ might be in the case of information/knowledge. What we tentatively concluded, reframed here for discussion, is that two kinds existed, one primarily epistemic, the other ontological (or ontic, if you prefer). The latter carry energy, are not independent and are unstable, that is, change. The former do not carry energy as such, are independent and are stable. Different logics apply to the two types, as one might expect.

I suggest the nature of information cannot be discussed without the indicated differentiation, and an acknowledgement of the co-existence of epistemic with ontological entities (in our brains). Our units can be related to the Ding-an-sich and other entities that have been discussed in the past, such as holons.

Best wishes,


From: Fis [mailto:fis-bounces en listas.unizar.es] On Behalf Of annette.grathoff en is4si.org
Sent: dimanche, 13 octobre 2019 23:05
To: fis en listas.unizar.es
Subject: [Fis] FIS discussions

Dear FIS community,

always listening to/ reading information study related considerations outside and inside this forum leads me to realize:
(weak) Consensus on what was formulated as “(…) information is a difference which makes a difference.” (Gregory Bateson, Ecology of mind, p. 459) and
strong dissent about what a difference is and what making a difference is.
So I would like to inspire a start with what we have here:

Making a difference: Entities respectively matter (fermionic-, mass carrying) assemblies which can be moved (or move by themselves) as independent, stable units give science a really tough challenge for definition; for centuries. Maybe to make some progress in explaining what making a difference is, we need to live with (axiomic) assumptions about matter as long as e.g. gravitational wave science, quantum mechanics and condensed matter physics will get the breakthrough-result.

Matter obviously can be different and can react to influences making a difference on it. So the old idea that entities consist of (matter and matter and their relationship) dimension, possibly a fractal one can be used to describe what makes a difference to configurations of nested relationships. Concepts like property; transformation through absorption & emission; threshold levels; state; reflection or more generally: scattering of incoming impulses; topology and form depending on distribution; … are useful inside a broad variety of disciplines handling information study (being more or less aware) of it: Physics, Chemistry, Biology, Information Philosophy, Communication Theory,…
I see that we have theories building on this “axiom” in FIS.

The next huge difficulty (connected to the unclear status of matter) is to model the influence of what makes a difference on relationships which enable matter. Threshold levels are nice, but how can the quality of relationships be in-formed through the special quality (pattern) carried and transmitted by a difference which makes a difference? Philosophy helps us in understanding how meaningful communication can develop in contextual environments and Sociology hints to connections between meaningfulness and stability respectively cooperation and trust. But this both is observed in very highly developed systems and provides little help for understanding more basic dynamics. Regarding those, I bet on wave mechanics to promote our basic knowledge here (but you know that I got very involved in this in my project, so bias is not excluded).

A difference: Starting with inputs which surmount a threshold level of energy to trigger internal transformation of matter under dissipation and arriving at interference patterns in fields which can influence reflection (as in holography) as well as differential absorption and subsequent internal transformation, the field of existing research results concerning energy circulation and pattern transmission is really rich. I personally would not dare to think about patterns inside electromagnetic fields in context with complex frequencies in patterns read from brains, since this is very far from my field as chemical ecologist. But I share the experience that there is a lot of fascination in working on understanding memory formation and EEG (and similar) pattern interpretation! I have deep respect for science in that field. Nevertheless my feeling is that we need to understand the quantitative -and recently more important- qualitative generation of density field differences in radiation-matter interaction from a basic level. Is differentiation between similar and less-similar possibly involved in absorption, reflection and transmission of (electromagnetic) waves by matter? With this we can progress through understanding the (evolutionary nested) onion to reach the level of information processing on the (now) ultimate layer of communication and information technologies (connected to brain dynamics). Fortunately we have started to make a start on any of those layers already long times ago and created scientific subjects for any of them. In Communication Theory we made progress in understanding channels, noise and bandwidth and in Philosophy we made amazing progress understanding the concept of meaning and contextual environments, already arriving at the point of recognizing our own epistemic contexts; not to mention all the other more-exterior lying layers of research on the onion and their results. So what we have before us is mainly a deepening of knowledge plus communication and organization of knowledge.

Let us use our funds, to invest into a homepage which can attract more specialists in the different fields, which organizes and presents our Berkeley- (and further) research reports and let us connect this to the FIS forum to invite active discussion! This generates an environment where the study of information can flourish.

Let me know of any organizational work which the secretariat can do for you under Annette.grathoff en is4si.org<mailto:Annette.grathoff en is4si.org> (and if you wish to discuss evolution of information processing systems or any information study related topics with me, I would be very happy for a mail to this address, too! 😄).

Best wishes,

Annette Grathoff

Terrence W. DEACON wrote on 07.10.2019 19:41 (GMT +02:00):
Dear colleagues,

I am glad to see that there is interest in discussing the complex concept of information as it applies to living phenomena more fundamental than language (e.g. memory and molecular genetics). Language is a very late to evolve, highly idiosyncratic, species-specific mode of communicating between organisms (humans). It is useful to confine our discussions to this context so long as we recognize that it is both highly specialized and based upon many more basic levels of non-linguistic non-symbolic forms of information production and interpretation. Some of these are neurological and others are molecular. As a neuroscientist and evolutionary biologist these levels of analysis are of special interest to me. But to approach our subject with the recognition of this complexity, we need to be far more humble about having provided a complete "general theory of information" and carefully pre-specify the level of system that we are considering. For example, the concept of memory involves far more than the influence of RNA or protein effects on neurons and synapses, and the terms 'meaning' and 'semantics' are well-suited for discussing information-related functions in linguistic terms, but poorly suited for use in neurological and molecular informational contexts. We can best progress by recognizing these complexities, acknowledging the limitations of overgeneralization, and specifying the contexts in which our comments apply. And of course, a bit of humility in the face of this complexity will provide helpful lubrication.

— Terry

On Mon, Oct 7, 2019 at 6:23 AM Francesco Rizzo <13francesco.rizzo en gmail.com<mailto:13francesco.rizzo en gmail.com>> wrote:
Caro Pedro e Cari Tutti,
è comprensibile che un parto sia caratterizzato dal travaglio, ma non deve tardare a venire, proprio mentre i matematici
continuano a parlare con Dio e la fisica resta (non si arresta) quale regina della scienza. Pur essendo consapevole
 dell'informazione dell'economia o della economia dell'informazione, sento il timore di non aver, neanch'io, titolo per
 affrontare-dipanare la problematica e la problem(e)tica sollevate da questo inizio giovanile e infuocato della discussione Fis.
Quindi invito, coloro che sono più esperti di me, a porre la questione del "paradosso dell'informazione" nell'ambito
della letteratura sui "buchi neri", onde trarne qualche opportuno insegnamento. Infine, parlare con Dio significa,
come a Papa Francesco ed a me, forse prima, è capitato di fare, evidenziare l'economia del Vangelo o il Vangelo
 dell'economia. Beninteso, non v'ha nessun riferimento in questo mio scrivere pesante e leggero o leggero e pesante
 alcuna strumentale o finalistica intenzione di introdurre nel nostro-Vostro dibattito l'economia della fede o la fede
dell'economia, volgarmente intesa o scambiata come la coscienza-obbedienza religiosa o religiosa-obbedienza della coscienza.
Grazie e un abbraccio.

Il giorno lun 7 ott 2019 alle ore 13:58 Pedro C. Marijuan <pcmarijuan.iacs en aragon.es<mailto:pcmarijuan.iacs en aragon.es>> ha scritto:
Dear Emanuel and Colleagues,

You do not need to apologize, and you do not need to suppose that memory-synaptic themes are undiscussable in this list either. Conversely, it looks an intriguing matter that perhaps you can prepare yourself a little bit longer and we can have a discussion session on it (you are kindly invited to chair it, or to suggest a chair). I have often insisted in the necessity to maintain a high standard of scholarly discussion, particularly in this new time of tight cooperation with IS4SI. We must count to 10, to 100, or better wait to the next day in order to produce seasoned responses to themes or opinions we strongly disagree. But those "fast and furious" exchanges may also leave interesting points. In this case I gather three at least: the qualitative limits of reason, the quantitative limits of "acting" reason, and the informational approach to the religious phenomenon. In due time, we can have ad hoc discussion sessions, chaired ones, on that. Personally I find more productive the chaired format, although having periods like the present one of spontaneous free-wheeling is also OK.

And now to your substantive request. Looking at the board structure of IS4SI, I think that candidates to be IS4SI (& FIS) Ambassadors --or delegates or representatives-- could write to Tadashi Takenochi (in charge of regional Chapters) or Xueshan Yan (Institutional Membership) and of course to the current President (Marcin Schroeder) in order to receive the OK and start organization work. Or for more simplicity, I write here the address of the IS4SI Secretariat (Annette Grathoff <annette.grathoff en is4si.org><mailto:annette.grathoff en is4si.org>) for those willing more specific information on IS4SI potentialities (http://is4si.org/<https://eur01.safelinks.protection.outlook.com/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fis4si.org%2F&data=02%7C01%7Cgordana.dodig-crnkovic%40mdh.se%7C15e94aececff4df992cc08d750778492%7Ca1795b64dabd4758b988b309292316cf%7C0%7C1%7C637066346574493231&sdata=8AyUn9Qn9eiYsBSDLBRS%2BM80IYhVaIKOe8%2Bf0iwrAQY%3D&reserved=0>);  I can also help. Given the parties currently in the list, I venture we could have at least half dozen new Sections or Chapters. Why not to have them before the end of this year?

Best wishes

El 07/10/2019 a las 8:27, Emanuel Diamant escribió:
Dear FIS Colleagues,

As usually, I apologize for interfering with the ongoing discussion on the future chapters arrangement. The subject is important and great, but (as usual) the discussion quickly degrades to self-promoting advertisements and old ideas revitalization. This is a dead-ended passageway.

In the current (Oct 04, 2019) Science issue, Vol. 366, pp. 83-89, a paper of the UT Southwestern team is published, where the scientists describe how they have implanted memories into the birds brains to guide the learning of their songs. The guys do not ask “what is memory?” They even do not need an answer – they are busy with medical implementations of their findings. It is self-understood that answering such a question has to be our duty. But again, we are not ready to keep up with this challenge.

A similar case happened a year ago – In the ENEURO journal, published on May 14, 2018, an UCLA research group reported a successful memory transfer from one marine snail to another. I have immediately informed my FIS colleagues about this achievement, but the news left them indifferent.

(As usual, not to make my FIS colleagues angry, I had not mentioned that the UCLA experiment reliably confirms my assumption that Information (and all its derivatives – thoughts, feelings, memories) are material entities, that is, are strings of nucleotides comprising the text of an information message. As such, they can be processed, manipulated, and even relocated. Memories are not more arrangements of adjustable synapses, as the brain researchers traditionally view them. Memories are real linguistic descriptions of observed structures that we retain and recycle in our brains and our neuronal arrangements. As said, I did not mention the above details, and my note passed unnoticed).

Never mind, I am usual that from the heights of “Data and Information” masterpiece (Krassimir and the other FIS bessere Menschen) problems of memory (information) transposition and rearrangement are irrelevant and inappropriate. Never mind, I am usual that such subjects are undiscussable in FIS community.

So, what happens with the New Chapters proposal? Really, a good and a timely idea.

Best regards,


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Pedro C. Marijuán

Grupo de Bioinformación / Bioinformation Group

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Professor Terrence W. Deacon
University of California, Berkeley
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