[Fis] We have principally opposite points of view. A Meta-theory of Information

Joseph Brenner joe.brenner at bluewin.ch
Wed Sep 23 12:18:46 CEST 2020

Dear All,

Without wanting to take any special credit for insight, I agree with Mark’s useful dualistic definition of information. If three additions could be made – well – I think they could be considered:

1)     another way to solve the problem is to see information in process terms, as a set of processes. An absolute definition of ‘information’ is thus not necessary;

2)     I much appreciate Mark’s formal association of information and energy. I simply go one step further and focus on the actual energy involved in a specific information process, and its changes;

3)     I have said, and I would not like it to be totally forgotten, is that Mark’s General Theory of Information is, rather and at the same time, a Theory of General Information. As I wrote on January 1, 2019, this is not to be taken negatively. It is an extension, with which I believe Mark agrees, of his General Theory of Information. I wrote:


I thus return to Mark’s presentation and reformulate somewhat his key concept: meaning is the foundation of all theories of information, including the General Theory of Information (GTI). My prior suggestion of the concept of a Theory of General Information (TGI) is not intended to diminish the value of the GTI; I consider that the GTI and the TGI coexist dialectically. But Mark’s further point is that “the General Theory of Information encompasses all existing information theories only potentially”, and that accordingly one must have it and “a variety of special information theories” also. If we accept this most interesting point as a basis for discussion, then a further modification to Mark’s concept suggests itself: the GTI he has defined is in fact a Meta-Theory of Information, a theory of Theories of Information. 

As I have frequently pointed out, however, there is not and does not have to be an absolute separation between a theory and its associated meta-theory, which coexist dialectically. There is an intriguing parallel here with the approach of Wu Kun and his definition of the Philosophy of Information as a Meta-Philosophy. Comments welcome.


To advance the discussion, just a little movement is required on the part of everyone . . . Thus, my statement that information emerged together with the universe is not quite correct. I accordingly rephrase this to acknowledge Krassimir’s point about the need for a conscious perceiver of the information. One should say that what emerged was information in potential form, capable of being understood as having been actualized once beings came into existence who were capable of such understanding, both of the information (growth rings in trees) and of the processes that led to their formation.  


Thank you and best wishes,





From: Fis [mailto:fis-bounces at listas.unizar.es] On Behalf Of Mark Burgin
Sent: mercredi, 23 septembre 2020 08:21
To: Krassimir Markov
Cc: fis at listas.unizar.es
Subject: Re: [Fis] We have principally opposite points of view.


Dear Krassimir and other participants of this discussion,

The problem you all encounter is caused by the attempts to elaborate an absolute definition of information. However, it is more efficient to use a different approach. The general theory of information gives a parametric definition of information. Taking one parameter, we obtain Krassimir's definition. Taking another parameter, we come to the definition suggested by Pedro and Joseph.

A similar situation exists in physics where there different types of energy.



Mark Burgin



From: "Krassimir Markov" <markov at foibg.com>
To: fis at listas.unizar.es
Sent: Tuesday, September 22, 2020 11:08:01 AM
Subject: [Fis] We have principally opposite points of view.


Dear Pedro and Joseph,

Thank you for the answers. 
They clear the situation.


We have principally opposite points of view.

Yours is that the information exists independently of live creatures. 
“In the real world, information is co-emergent with the universe.” 
This is the modern understanding of God as Creator ( information (0) )! 

My point of view is the opposite – without the live creatures, information does not exist.  
It exists only in the consciousness (personal or social)!
It is subjective reaction of the incoming (external and/or internal) reflections (data).

This way, we have different systems of principles, as already I had shown.

Friendly greetings






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

Sent: Tuesday, September 22, 2020 2:59 PM

To: fis at listas.unizar.es

Subject: Re: [Fis] a simple question. A simple (?) answer.


Dear List,


Responding to the last exchanges, first, it is always a pleasure reading Karl's texts, irrespective that one can agree, disagree or partially coincide with the conceptual edifice he is elegantly describing.

About Joseph's below, thanks for clarifying Krassimir's question--am glad you are upholding the 1st Principle. But following your thought, my mention to the life cycle as a complementary zeroth principle seems unnecessary, or even counterproductive--what would you think?


Regarding Stan's comment, on the basic characteristics of life, apart of their general interest, I tend to disagree with his " information must make a difference to the promotion of any dissipative structure. (Here we arrive in physics!)" Would you say the same when talking about the basic processing structure of a computer digital info? Do you need physics for the Turing Machine or for the von Neumann architecture? I connect the disagreement with a relatively similar statement from Bruno: "eventually Nature itself is a pattern emerging from the relation between universal numbers; some playing the role of environment for others." You take as (relatively?) solved one the biggest physical enigmas.


And to continue the disagreements, Loet's: "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." I think you misunderstood my comment and are shooting at a straw-man.

When I wrote "sharing a life-cycle (& its experiential load--a culture for instance) as a powerful level-playing field in social and biological communication" can be excellently clarified by a recent movie of Denis Villeneuve (2016) "ARRIVAL".  An enormous spacial ship arrives, the occupants of which are finally visualized as enormous octopus within a gigantic tank. How could humans communicate with them when everything about their respective forms of life (my "life cycle & experiential load")  is completely unknown for each other??? The development of the movie is great from the communication point of view... It is a problem not so distant from the frequent uncommunication between human cultures and even between practitioners of different scientific disciplines (ehem).  In any case, anyone reading the 10 info principles could hardly raise the shibboleth of reductionism. These principles visit a succession of the main  information halls and just try to open a few strategic doors between them.     


Putting it differently: the 10 info principles would minimally describe the foundations of the bizarre difference between our planet and the other known planets. The inner workings of the incredible biosphere & sociosphere herein, which seem to be grounded on multiple new kinds of communicative relationships. Whether the common "physical stuff" on which all existence depends is also involved in playing info games appears beyond my personal expertise (but am not against this kind of quest!). 


All the best



El 21/09/2020 a las 17:48, Joseph Brenner escribió:

Dear Krassimir, Dear All,


1. Perhaps somewhat unexpectedly, I have concluded that this is a very good question, to which I propose the following tentative answer. In the real world, information is co-emergent with the universe. Today, no real informational event, that is, no event, takes place without reference to an earlier state. For those who, like me, do not believe that our current universe is expanding from a singularity, the problem of the apparent disparity in the size of the universe at the end of an expansion cycle and the start of a contraction cycle is solved in the Cyclic Conformal Cosmology of Penrose. Even if the simplistic ‘Big Bang’ model of the universe is retained, which, I repeat, I think it should not be, the start of Krassimir’s series is not information (0) but information (n), where n is an obviously very large but transfinite, not infinite, number.


In other words, the concept of an information (0) is, to all intents and purposes, a completely idealized construction. It has the value, for the purposes of this discussion, of being a further demonstration of the failure of classical arguments, scientific or philosophical, based on an infinite logical regress to a limit, 0, 1, or ‘infinity’, as the case may be.


Therefore, we may retain Pedro’s First Principle with the understanding that the movement is always between n and n+1, since n (0) is inaccessible. 


2. The second point I would like to raise relates to the requirement, which I have accepted without thinking about it that information refers to a distinction on an adjacent difference.

Why adjacent? Any difference of which I become conscious has become ‘adjacent’, otherwise I could not make a distinction on it. In other words, any relations I may have to non-adjacent differences are purely epistemological. Is this correct? Is there a direct relation between information (n) and information (n+2)? I conclude there is not, and Pedro’s Principle stands as written. QED.


Thank you and best wishes,






I still do not agree with the first principle.

Joseph had written and Pedro had confirmed that :

“information (2) is produced in MAKING a distinction on an adjacent difference = information (1)

In other words, information (n) is created from information (n-1).

This is simple series which we may write as follow:

information (0) –> information (1) –> ... –> information (n-1) –> information (n) –> ....

A Simple Question:


Who creates information (0) ?


Friendly greetings








From: Joseph <mailto:joe.brenner at bluewin.ch>  Brenner 

Sent: Friday, September 18, 2020 11:19 PM

To: 'Krassimir <mailto:markov at foibg.com>  Markov' 

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

Subject: RE: [Fis] Fwd: The 10 Principles. Information as Process


Dear Pedro, Dear Krassimir,

For me, the problem is clearly a result of using a common noun, information, to describe a complex process rather than a participle form – informationing. Then, “information IS a distinction” should be replaced by “information (2) is produced in MAKING a distinction on an adjacent difference = information (1). Then, of course the 1st principle is recursive, but correctly so! 






Pedro C. Marijuán
Grupo de Bioinformación / Bioinformation Group
pcmarijuan.iacs at aragon.es


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