[Fis] Fwd: The 10 Principles

Pedro C. Marijuan pcmarijuan.iacs at aragon.es
Fri Sep 18 20:01:37 CEST 2020

Dear All,
Thanks to Jose Javier for his comments. Regarding the loop you mention 
about distinction, you are right, but this is a very characteristic of 
life (see that Maturana and Varela already said something pretty similar 
in their Tree of Knowledge). In the other biological principles that 
follow (below)  I try to clarify that notion in several directions, 
particularly concerning signaling systems, a concept which was 
completely ignored until well in the 1990s. Your second comment may be 
partially responded looking at those further principles dealing with the 
symbolic communication via language and the social narratives, not far 
from what you have pointed. Thus I include the whole principles herein.

1. Information is distinction on an /adjacent /difference.

2. Information processes consist in organized action upon differences 
collected onto structures, patterns, sequences, messages, or flows.

3. Information flows are essential organizers of life's self-production 
process –the life cycle– anticipating, shaping, and mixing up with the 
accompanying energy flows.

4. Proto-phenomena of meaning, knowledge, and cognition (& intelligence) 
emerge via signaling systems of living cells, fully developed in the 
action/perception cycle of central nervous systems.

5. Information/communication exchanges among adaptive life-cycles 
underlie the complexity of biological organization at all scales.

6. It is symbolic language what conveys the essential communication 
exchanges of individuals —and constitutes the core of human "social nature."

7. Human information can be transformed into efficient knowledge by 
following the "knowledge instinct", further enhanced and delimited by 
collectively applying rigorous methodologies.

8. Human cognitive limitations are partially overcome via "knowledge 
ecologies", where knowledge circulates and recombines socially in a 
continuous actualization that involves "creative destruction" of 
theories, practices, and disciplines.

9. Narratives become encapsulated forms of “natural intelligence”, 
tailored to capture collective attention and memory, and essential for 
the cohesion of social, political, and economic structures.

10. Information science proposes a new, radical vision on how 
information and knowledge surround individual lives, with profound 
consequences for scientific-philosophical practice and for social 

Briefly referring to the other discussion track (Christophe), I quite 
agree with situating the origins of (genuine) meaning with living 
beings, but have some trouble with "constraints" when generally applied 
to biological cognition. I think they may be more useful in other fields 
(originated in kinematics, they become more and more volatile as used in 
Dynamic Systems Theory, and similarly weakened when going from AI to 
biological cognition). For instance,  given 3,000 genes in Ecoli, 
organized in mixed clusters of fiendish complexity, how do you establish 
meaningful constraints? Or can even attribute separate "functions"? You 
may see in DOI:10.1016/j.pbiomolbio.2015.07.002 
very dimensions of this ontology problem.

Regarding Marcus' comment on life as imprecisely defined (and whether 
viruses or Gaia are 'alive'), the fundamental issue in natural sciences 
is "explaining" rather than defining. And fortunately the advancement in 
our explanations of life in last decades has been fantastic. Life can 
now be characterized in every basic aspect with amazing depth. One 
cannot give a precise definition of life, but one can provide a list of 
essential characteristics, and at the center are the informational ones. 
Empirically, the point is that information appears to be so ingrained in 
the molecular organization of life that scores of new bio-disciplines 
have been recently launched around it: bioinformatics, bioinformation, 
biocomputation, all the "omic" fields, signaling science, etc. 
Biosemiotics could be included too, but Hélas, most biosemioticians 
continue to "read" the DNA meaning via the genetic code, rather than 
exploring the "signals" abduced from the environment and 
"distinctionally worked out and transcribed in genes--from which 
ultimately "meaning" emerges. About viruses concretely, they have been 
essential in the origins of eukaryotic complexity and in the dynamic 
balance of marine and terrestrial ecosystems... irrespective on how we 
consider their degree of "aliveness". And finally "non comment" about 
some (baiting?) expressions in your previous reply.

I see right now the careful "review" by Loet: better for a next occasion!


PS. The Three Messages per Week are counted following the international 
business week (from Monday to Sunday included).

Pedro C. Marijuán
Grupo de Bioinformación / Bioinformation Group

pcmarijuan.iacs at aragon.es

El software de antivirus Avast ha analizado este correo electrónico en busca de virus.
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <http://listas.unizar.es/pipermail/fis/attachments/20200918/0479a023/attachment-0001.html>

More information about the Fis mailing list