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

Christophe Menant christophe.menant at hotmail.fr
Sun Sep 20 22:59:33 CEST 2020

Dear Marcus and dear Pedro,

We all agree, I guess, that life manages meaningful information. A drop of acid is meaningful for a paramecium who will get away to satisfy a « stay alive » constraint.  But at the core of the meaning generation we do not find life, we find the constraint. It is the constraint that justifies the reason of being of the meaning, that justifies the action that will satisfy the constraint. It is the constraint that justifies the fabricated difference by using the received difference. The constraint is related to the nature of the agent: stay alive (individual & species) for animals, look for happiness for humans, act as programmed for robots. Meaning generation is not limited to life. The Meaning Generator System is only a system (a set of elements linked by a set of relations). It can be used for any system submitted to an internal constraint.
And to perhaps answer your concern, Marcus, local constraints can be a starting point for an analysis of « meaning » in a pre-biotic universe, and also as source of agency, teleology, and autonomy (https://philpapers.org/archive/MENICA-2.pdf). Something truly meaningless could exist in a place where there is no constraint. Can a trend to increasing complexity be considered as a constraint for a post big-bang universe? I don’t know....
Regarding human performances and human nature, my interest is with an evolutionary scenario for self-consciousness where meaningful representations (networks of meanings) make a thread for an auto-representation leading to self-consciousness (https://philpapers.org/rec/MENCOI).
There is still a lot to do with these interesting subjects.

All the best

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.

> 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.

> 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.

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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