[Fis] "How Molecules Became Signs": Models, Signs and Reality

Loet Leydesdorff loet at leydesdorff.net
Sat Feb 26 21:03:43 CET 2022

Dear Joe and colleagues,
>If you will allow my view at least for discussion, you will see that it 
>has the dynamics necessary to handle more complex cognitive phenomena 
>in human and social systems. These would include not only recursion but 
>stasis and regression. Identification from an informational standpoint 
>of the “molecules” undergoing change in the corresponding processes 
>could follow a model very similar to yours.
"very similar" is not sufficient for making an inference. The 
dissimilarities may also be important.

It seems to me that one can use the similarities as heuristics. The 
formal (non-substantive) models enable us to move from one domain to 
another, such as from biology to chemistry or even economics. For 
example, bifurcations can be expected to occur in the various domains. 
The reaction-diffusion mechanism can be considered as a common framework 
  for understanding this, because this mechanism is mathematically 
framed. The substantive differences can also be studied.

For information theory itself, this means that we can distinguish 
between special theories--e.g., economics or biology--of information and 
one or more formal theories. The latter abstract from the substance and 
are dimensionless (bits). The former are dimensionalized: for example, 
Joule/Kelvin for the case of classical physics. One can distinguish 
between domains in terms of what is communicated: for example, molecules 
in the case of biology or atoms in the case of chemistry. But these 
remain special theories.  The notion of a general theory (Bertalanffy) 
is no longer considered possible since the center is empty. Instead of 
"meta" one could use the Greek "epi": the formal theory matches to some 
extent the special theories. But puzzles remain; fortunately!

>  Thank you again and best wishes,
>  Joseph
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