[Fis] The 10 Principles--Replies

Dai Griffiths dai.griffiths.1 at gmail.com
Sun Sep 20 14:57:42 CEST 2020

I am entirely in agreement with Loet that

"As you know, I am against this program. Reducing society to a 
meta-biology reduces the social sciences to a commentary. They can be 
/sui generis. /The application of biological systems theory to society 
(sociobiology) to be resisted. ... The rule of law cannot be reduced to 

Nevertheless, I am still tempted to think that there are patterns that 
connect across different fields. For example, since the introduction of 
social media something has happened to patterns of communication, to 
shared meaning making, and to politics. I would think that, in addition 
to the social phenomena which lead people to behave in one way or 
another in a particular culture or society, there are also relevant 
rules that we can discover about the dynamics of communication which are 
applicable in a wider context. For example the ideas of variety 
management, amplification and attenuation help in understanding the 
control structures which different societies create (whether this is a 
team of Facebook moderators, or the Great Firewall of China). If this is 
not the case, then we are forced to believe that these social changes 
are unrelated to the development of mobile computing, which I don't find 

Mapping these kinds of connections was the ambition behind the 
development of those involved in cybernetics and their fellow travelers. 
To me, this is a more acceptable program than "Reducing society to a 


On 20/09/2020 09:41, Loet Leydesdorff wrote:
>>> /This may be the case for biological evolution, but communication 
>>> technologies enable us to include non-adjacent distinctions. /
>> --Nope. As said above, we may only imply that those media or techno 
>> info are non-local only AFTER THEIR CARRIERS HAVE "TOUCHED" OUR 
>> RECEPTORS and we have built thousands and thousands of 
>> micro-distinctions flowing bottom-up and top-down that produce a 
>> meaning and finally they make us say, "oh, yes, this is non-local 
>> info about the US politics". It may take barely an instant, and all 
>> of those processes are transparent for us.
> Dear Pedro,
> It seems to me that you reason most about information carriers, but 
> not about information. The carriers can also transform the 
> information. For example, the receptors can be expected to filter.
>> [...]
>>> By the way, curiously "channel" in the Shanonian scheme represents 
>>> also that which brings information to the adjacency of the receiver.
>>> The commonality exhibits, in my opinion, the mathematical character. 
>>> Once one abstracts from materiality, a mathematical definition 
>>> becomes unavoidable. Only math (and logic) can be used across 
>>> domains. Do you have such a definition, equivalent to the Shannon H?
>> --Interesting, but do you think the Shannonian metrics is the only 
>> thing in common?
> There is a number of these measures. Shannon-type is relatively simple 
> and elaborate. /Essentia non sint multiplicanda. /The alternatives are 
> not essentially different.
>> But my point revolves about a better understanding of sharing a 
>> life-cycle (& its experiential load--a culture for instance) as a 
>> powerful level-playing field in social and biological communication. 
>> It dissolves eons of complexity.
> As you know, I am against this program. Reducing society to a 
> meta-biology reduces the social sciences to a commentary. They can be 
> /sui generis. /The application of biological systems theory to society 
> (sociobiology) to be resisted. For example, we don't wish the 
> strongest to be the fittest. The rule of law cannot be reduced to biology.
> Best,
> Loet
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Professor David (Dai) Griffiths

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