[Fis] Informatic Principles (redux) – Reply to Christophe, Karl, and Francesco.

Christophe Menant christophe.menant at hotmail.fr
Mon Oct 5 12:36:40 CEST 2020

Dear Marcus,
Let me answer (lately and with more details) to some items of your post (in italics hereunder).

De : Fis <fis-bounces at listas.unizar.es> de la part de Marcus Abundis <55mrcs at gmail.com>
Envoyé : jeudi 17 septembre 2020 11:15
À : fis at listas.unizar.es <fis at listas.unizar.es>
Objet : [Fis] Informatic Principles (redux) – Reply to Christophe, Karl, and Francesco.


I found several interesting points in your 2020 brief. I note them here, using your own numbering system:

> 1 c) No general coverage is available for the notion of meaning.<
Of course, superficially, you are right to state this, about 'general coverage', but we can do better. The answer to this problem is that one must use 'logical primitives', applied to diverse domains, in contrast to more conventional 'material primitives' thinking. Indeed, it is Shannon's use of a *logarithmic* logical primitive that supports Signal Entropy, and accounts for the model's success. I use (S)ubject and (O)bject roles, and (V)ariability in S-O roles, as my logical primitives.

> 2 c) Management of local constraint introduces information and meaning.<
I absolutely agree with this view, it is *exactly* on point (superficially) – but I apply it in a different way than you do. You choose to limit this to Life, but I go to the level of Physics. Part of the problem is that Life (to me) seems imprecisely defined – are viruses 'alive' is Gaia 'alive', etc. – the answer to these issues depends on how losely/firmly one defines *underlying* (even lower-order) terms. So at what point do we say 'THIS is the correct level for beginning our analysis?' I ask you to consider a counter-question to your item '2 c)' – At what point/level is something truly non-informatic and meaning-less, and how do you (or science) define/present that level? This question is useful in developing an *a priori* analysis. For me, everything *berfore* a quantum/functional 'wave-form collapse' is meaningless and non-informatic (Wheeler's quantum foam). How do you answer this question for yourself? The view you offer above is a nice framing *for me* as it can be applied equally to inanimate Force and Energy, and elementary particles . . . in addition to applying to Life – which then begins to approach 'general coverage' for informatic meaning, thinking and modeling.
The level of life in the evolution of our universe looks to me as the one where meaning generation can be introduced because it is the level where an entity has to maintain a far from thermodynamic equilibrium nature.
It is true that life is not clearly understood or defined (we are not able to fabricate life). As you say a better understanding of underlying/lower terms is necessary.
But I would not go up to considering that everything before a quantum 'wave-form collapse' can be looked as meaningless and non-informatic. A far as I know the collapse takes place every time a quantum particle becomes part of a higher-level system (ex: photon absorbed by an atom). Not sure that this be related to meaning generation.
Also, a meaning does not exist by itself. It is always the result of an interpretation of information (that information can be meaningless like a thunderstorm noise, or meaningful like an alert signal). And interpretations exist only for some reason coming from the interpreting entity, for the satisfaction of some constraint related to the entity. Such approach brings to consider that information cannot be meaningful at a level where interpretations/constraints do not exist. If you agree that our pre-biotic universe was not submitted to any constraint (that the trend to increasing complexity is not a constraint), then life can be looked as the entry point of meaningful information in the evolution of our universe.

> 3 a) The word "meaning" is most of the time associated to human performances.<
You qualify this as 'most of the time' . . . leading me to wonder about 'other times' and how you address those other times? How/where is this matter of meaning *firmly* bounded for you? As I do not agree the notion of it being tied exclusively to Life, I find further discussion on this point in your 2020 document unsatisfying. Hence, I ask for a more-precise framing.
You may remember that the founding fathers of phenomenology and of analytic philosophy did not take evolution into account. Humans were considered as the starting point. As a result, most of the developments around the concept of meaning have been about human performances like language.
For meaningful information in animals there is von Uexkull with his Umwelt using meaning carrier. And of-course biosemiotics.
For artificial agents we can refer to Shannon writing that the semantic aspect of information in not part of his work on communication channel capacity. And to Turing with the TT as implicitly using meaning generation (https://philpapers.org/rec/MENTTC-2).

> 3 b) The unknown nature of human mind makes human meaning a complex subject.<
One could as easily say 'the unknown nature of Nature' which seems to me to be a more critical matter (in a simple to complex cosmos). In a *true* scientific sense we succeed in modeling only a very small fraction of what Nature presents us. Still, there is an unavoidable tendency to be fascinated with Human Consciousness as one's focus . . . but this is an anthropocentric approach, where there are much larger issues and dynamics to consider, and with much more likely accessible solutions – even beyond Life, and surely beyond humanity.
Human mind makes human meaning a complex subject because it adds complex performances to animal meaning management. Self-consciousness and free will are still to be clearly understood. I agree with you that there are much larger issues and dynamics to consider, probably from the big bang up to us humans and beyond (see my Sept 29 post).

All the best


Interesting twist on magnetics as proto-informatic . . . but which might equally be applied to all four fundamental forces, I think. At which point is the application of any Force informatic in itself, and at what point is it proto-informatic? The compass needle is an interesting analogy, but that needle requires interpretation (which I think is your point), where I would say the expression of *any* force is meaningful in itself (i.e., gravity enables planets, which enables a moon, which enables rotation and wobble, which enables cycles and seasons, which supports Life, etc.)

I found your note on DNA and viruses relevant and again pointing to (for me) the innate imprecision of how Life is defined. I understand that others may not accept Life is ambiguously defined – but for now, we will have to agree to disagree on this matter, while I continue to pay close attention to the matter. I hope I interpreted your note's meaning correctly.

This is my third post for the week, so I am 'out' until Sunday . . .
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