[Fis] defining information

Christophe Menant christophe.menant at hotmail.fr
Fri Mar 27 11:55:50 CET 2020

Dear Krassimir and FIS Colleagues,

The proposed definition of “information” in my last post tells what “information” is: information is any energy variation that conveys meaning or participates to meaning generation. If you want to avoid the word “meaning” in the definition you can say “information is any energy variation that can participate to the constraint satisfaction of an agent”, and then introduce “meaning” in the constraint satisfaction process (we are close to “a difference that makes a difference”).
I’m a bit careful with the word “data” because it can introduce too strong a cut between with/without meaning, (with mental models as you say: “with meaning is information” and “without meaning is data”), a kind of difference in nature that may be source of new questions by itself. For me there is no clear cut between with/without meaning as there is always a potentiality for meaningfulness in information. “Meaning” is an agent creation, not an a priori given. A string of bits can be the coded sentence of “this is water”. If you know the code you will access the meaning, if not the string of bits is meaningless to you (but will have a meaning once you get the code). In both cases it is information as an energy variation that can participate to a constraint satisfaction. The difference is with the agent’s ability to interpret (decode) the received information. For these reasons I try to avoid the word “data” when talking about information and meaning.
Regarding mental models and subjectivity/objectivity, we agree that they are ok for humans, but I do not see very well how they can be used for artificial agents. A purpose of the system approach I favor is precisely to be usable for any agent. A system is a set of elements linked by a set of relations. And information and meaning can exist for any type of agent (plants, animals, humans and artificial agents.).
There is a lot to say on these interesting subjects.

Health and happiness to all

De : Krassimir Markov <markov at foibg.com>
Envoyé : jeudi 26 mars 2020 23:46
À : Christophe Menant <christophe.menant at hotmail.fr>; FIS <Objet : Re: [Fis] defining information

Dear Christophe and FIS Colleagues,

I wish you strong health and patience to avoid this very dangerous virus!

About meaning:

A meaning is meaningful information that is generated by a system submitted to a constraint when it receives an external information that has a connection with the constraint.

The meaning is formed of the connection existing between the received information and the constraint of the system. The function of the meaning is to participate to the determination of an action that will be implemented in order to satisfy the constraint of the system.

We still do not know what is information, so it is difficult to define meaning.

I think your idea is very near to what we need but I prefer another way to say the same.

INFOS reflects the surrounding environment via his/her sensors(receptors). Signals from sensors(receptors) via some transfer mechanism like neurons come to the brain or to the central memory of INFOS. Interconnected signals form interconnected active points in the memory. Such formation is called “mental model” of the reflected reality. The same is happen when one or more active memory formation(s) is(are) reflected in another such one. This is again “mental model” but of the subjective internal reality. So we have two types of mental models – “objective”and “subjective”, taking in account that the “objective” means the end of subjective reflection chain which starts from sensors and ends in the brain, i.e. it is subjective reflection of the objective reality, the second is subjective reflection of subjective reality.

Now, if INFOS can interconnect one mental model with another one(s) the first model receive meaning. If another interconnection is done, another meaning of the same model will exist.
The interconnections are mental models, too.

So, mental model with meaning is information.
Mental model without meaning is data.

Maybe in the next letter I shall explain this on the base of the test bed.
Many thanks to all who read my post (more than 180 reads).

Be healthy and happy!

Friendly greetings

From: Christophe Menant<mailto:christophe.menant at hotmail.fr>
Sent: Thursday, March 26, 2020 9:29 PM
To: fis at listas.unizar.es<mailto:fis at listas.unizar.es>
Subject: Re: [Fis] defining information

Dear FISers,
Going through hard times should not stop us from exchanging ideas.
My two cents:
When trying to define information we should keep in mind that information exists to carry meanings and is used for meaning management. If there is no need for meanings, information does not have to exist.
Assuming that we accept meaning as the core of information, we can reach some simple definitions like: information is any energy variation that conveys meaning or participates to meaning generation. (The former is about meaningful information, the latter includes meaningless Information). This definition can be used for humans, animals and artificial agents. But it needs to explicit what is a meaning and what is meaning generation.
As we have already talked about, this has been done by proposing a model for meaning generation (the MGS) which allows to:
- Define a meaning, a meaningful information, and tell what a meaning is for.
- Relate meaning to agency and to constraint satisfaction.
- Differentiate artificial agents from organic ones.
- Define agency and autonomy.
- Identify some limits of today AI .
- Introduce evolutionary scenarios for cognition, intentionality and self-consciousness.
- Highlight some possible sources of human mental health problems.
This is more than we need to consider that defining information as a meaning carrier (with a definition of meaning) can be a valid option.
(a short paper at https://philpapers.org/rec/MENITA-7 gives access to the above subjects).
Let’s again recall that the proposed approach is an evolutionary one. It does not take information as managed by humans as a starting point. This is deliberate, in order to avoid having to consider human consciousness and free will in our starting point. These human performances are complex and not clearly understood by science and philosophy. Taking them into account, even implicitly, would make our starting point unnecessarily complex. The choice made here is to start with a case as simple as possible (meaning generation in animals) and look at human performances as the result of an evolutionary approach.

Hoping that you and your families are all well in the difficult times we are going through, I wish you the best.

De : Fis <fis-bounces at listas.unizar.es> de la part de Francesco Rizzo <13francesco.rizzo at gmail.com>
Envoyé : lundi 23 mars 2020 07:49
À : Joseph Brenner <joe.brenner at bluewin.ch>
Cc : fis at listas.unizar.es >> fis at listas.unizar.es <fis at listas.unizar.es>; Pedro C. Marijuan <pcmarijuan.iacs at aragon.es>; Emanuel Diamant <emanl.245 at gmail.com>
Objet : Re: [Fis] defining information

Carissimo Joseph,
Ti ringrazio di cuore per il Tuo affettuoso augurio di buona salute alla mia famiglia. Grazie a Dio e anche agli uomini di buona
capacita e volontà stiamo bene.
Mi permetto di scriverTi che, non solo secondo me, ma anche per il giudizio-pensiero di altri studiosi, molto più autorevoli del
* l'equilibrio (che sarebbe bene o meglio cambiare con armonia, anche del dis-accordo)  può paragonarsi ad una tautologia
che al pari dell'ideologia è una falsa co-scienza; difatti  l'equilibrio entropico è mortale, il dis-equilibrio neg-enropico è vitale;
* per quanto riguarda il rapporto tra energia e informazione, bisogna dire che l'energia libera non è altro che una forma di in-
formazione (neg-entropica), mentre l'energia degradata (non più trasformabile in lavoro utile o meccanico) non è altro che
una forma di dis-in-formazione (entropica);
* è necessario ricordare  che v'ha un tempo per essere generalisti e un tempo per essere specialisti: quando si dà luogo ad
un'iniziativa pregevole, preziosa e profetica come la FIS, nata per merito di Pedro, prima bisogna. essere generalisti e poi
specialisti, sapendo che il prima serve il poi.
Carissimo Joseph, leggo sempre con molta attenzione i Tuoi autorevoli interventi-messaggi e sono sempre più convinto che solo
il rilancio della filosofia possa costituire la base onto-metodo-logica della definizione e della narrazione-processo della LEGGE
DELL'INFORMAZIONE, senza trascurare la scienza mediatrice dell'economia.
DateVi e diamoci da fare, perché molta strada ancora bisogna percorrere e sperimentare.
Un abbraccio affettuoso a Te ed ai Tuoi cari, estensibile a Tutti, con l'amore della fede, della perseveranza e del coraggio.
Grazie, grazie, grazie.

Il giorno ven 20 mar 2020 alle ore 11:21 Joseph Brenner <joe.brenner at bluewin.ch<mailto:joe.brenner at bluewin.ch>> ha scritto:

Dear Francesco,

Please let me first express the hope that you and your family are in good health and in a safe configuration.

As to the content of your note, however, there are a couple of things that I think need more discussion. I would not make the absolute cut made by Wheeler between energy and information, and I think that Prigogine did not pay enough attention to the complexity of processes close to equilibrium.

On the other hand, I think that your formulation of measure as a qualitative quantity or a quantitative quality implies exactly the kind of dialectical approach one should take to understanding information in its complexity.

Sta bene,



From: Fis [mailto:fis-bounces at listas.unizar.es<mailto:fis-bounces at listas.unizar.es>] On Behalf Of Francesco Rizzo
Sent: vendredi, 20 mars 2020 10:48
To: Krassimir Markov
Cc: fis at listas.unizar.es<mailto:fis at listas.unizar.es> >> fis at listas.unizar.es<mailto:fis at listas.unizar.es>; Pedro C. Marijuan; Emanuel Diamant
Subject: Re: [Fis] defining information

Cari Pedro, Joseph, Krassimir, Terry e Tutti gli altri,

tenendo presente quel che avete scritto in questi ultimi tempi, desidero dirVi alcune cose che potrebbero essere utili

per stabilire il quadro o scenario della discussione FIS, senza alcuna presunzione o pretesa.

*Ciò che mi spinge a partecipare al confronto-dibattito è la mia teoria del valore (economico) basata sulla combinazione

creativa di energia, informazione e materia, sapendo che sia l'energia sia la materia sono forme di informazione; quindi

posso in sintesi affermare che la mia teoria sia basata sul valore dell'informazione o della tras-informazione (di cui la FIS

nel passato s'è occupata): da quì il valore della forma o la forma del valore.

* Il grande fisico J. A. Wheeler, il guru della scienza dell'informazione che portò i buchi neri all'interno dell'analisi fisico-astronomica,

sostiene che l'unica legge fondamentale della scienza naturale sia quella dell'informazione, non dell'energia o della materia.

* Questo vale ancora di più per le scienze umane e sociali (di cui l'economia dovrebbe essere la regina).

* Allora bisogna concentrare l'attenzione sull'unità di ogni forma di sapere, rifacendoci alla Nuova Alleanza di Ilya Prigogine

che ha inventato-scoperto le "strutture dissipative che creano ordine dal disordine mediante fluttuazioni o instabilità"; questa è la fonte

di ogni informazione, sia delle scienze naturali che umane: il concetto di neg-entropia o informazione vitale di E. Schrodinger

la dice lunga in proposito.

* Esistono tante categorie o forme di informazione: naturale o termodinamica, genetica o genomica, matematica o cibernetica,

semiotico-semantica. Esse possono rifarsi tutte allo stesso quadro definitorio: l'informazione è un processo che tende a dare forma

a tutti e a tutto, dis-informazione è il contrario (cfr. Rizzo F., "Scienza dell'amore o amore della scienza", Aracne editrice, Roma 2019,

soprattutto i capitoli 2 e 3 dedicati a Socrate, Platone e Aristotele).

*Invece sono diverse le misure di queste tipologie di informazione che, tuttavia, possono supportare, grossomodo, la stessa definizione.

*Infine, ma potrei dire all'inizio, quel che non bisogna dimenticare è la lezione di scienza della logica che ci ha dato G:W. Hegel:

fra i tanti suoi triangoli,  consiglio quello che ai tre vertici porta qualità, quantità e misura: la misura è una quantità qualitativa o una

qualità quantitativa. Questo consente di dosare (dialetticamente, direbbe il nostro filosofo) il dosaggio delle misurazioni delle

diverse forme di informazione.

Sono stato più lungo di quanto prevedevo e Vi chiedo scusa anche per l'uso della mia lingua.

Un saluto affettuoso ed un augurio molto forte -- richiesto dai tempi in cui (la) corona (di un).virus ha un potere .demoniaco -- al fine di

non abbassare la guardia.


Il giorno mar 17 mar 2020 alle ore 20:56 Krassimir Markov <markov at foibg.com<mailto:markov at foibg.com>> ha scritto:

Dear Pedro, Emanuel and FIS Colleagues,

1.Thank you for your remarks and interesting ideas.

Especially those which are aimed to make our communication possible in such situation like this in the world now.

I have no information about plans and possibilities of our Brazilian colleagues. So, please write more details.

2. I agree with Emanuel that:

The proposed definition of information must be followed by a suggestion of assets that make it (the information) visible, tangible, palpable.

It was my goal when I had proposed to prepare one or more test beds.

3. According to this, now I want to invite you to see my preliminary proposal of a sample test bed and evaluation tips for testing information definitions and theories.

It is simple but, I hope, contains the main objects and their interactions, which participate in the (humans’!) information processes.

Of course, it is only one from many possible.

If given definition or theory is not applicable to this test bed, maybe it is possible another one to be proposed.

Please see


Already registered colleagues may write directly in the Forum, other may use FIS mailing list as usual.

I whish you to be HEALTHY, HEALTHY, HEALTHY, .... !!!

Friendly greetings


From: Emanuel Diamant<mailto:emanl.245 at gmail.com>

Sent: Tuesday, March 10, 2020 5:16 PM

To: 'Pedro C. Marijuan'<mailto:pcmarijuan.iacs at aragon.es>

Cc: fis at listas.unizar.es<mailto:fis at listas.unizar.es>

Subject: [Fis] defining information

Dear Pedro, Dear FIS colleagues,

I do not share the general excitement about the revitalization of the FIS discussion on information definition.

I am not sure that the principle of “three messages per week” or the ITHEA Cloud Forum, with an

unlimited number of posts and 1M-large attachments, is our main problem. I think that our discussion (again and again) violates the basic principle of any scientific discourse - the IF-THEN principle - according to which each hypothetical assumption is followed by a suggestion what stems from it, where, and how these expectations could be discerned and observed. If I remember right, Terence and Gordana on several previous occasions have addressed this issue, but their call has remained unanswered.

However, refreshing the definitions of information we cannot continue to ignore the IF-THEN rule requirement - How does the defined information look like, how it is represented, what is its real form? The proposed definition of information must be followed by a suggestion of assets that make it (the information) visible, tangible, palpable.

Only this kind of information definitions is being urgently needed in the worldwide Human Brain Research programme. Or in the overhyped global Artificial Intelligence race. In both, Artificial Neural Networks (which are data processing number crunching devices) are supposed to emulate human brain biological neurons (which are pure information processing devices). Both fail to fulfill their promises, but do not understand for what reason and why. The current FIS discussion certainly will not help them.

Regards, Emanuel.


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