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[C005] The Generation and Self-organization of Meaning in the Communication of Information and Redundancy

1 Amsterdam School of Communication Research (ASCoR), University of Amsterdam, PO Box 15793, 1001 NG Amsterdam, The Netherlands
2 Laboratory for the Analysis of Complex Economic Systems, IMT Institute for Advanced Studies Lucca, 55100 Lucca, Italy
3 Institute for Statistical Studies and Economics of Knowledge, National Research University, Higher School of Economics (NRU HSE), 20 Myasnitskaya St., Moscow, 101000, Russia
* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
13 November 2015
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Following a suggestion of Warren Weaver, we extend Shannon’s linear model of communication piecemeal into a complex systems model. First, we distinguish between communication relations and correlations between patterns of relations. The correlations span a vector space in which relations are positioned and are thus provided with meaning. Second, positions provide perspectives to reflexive receivers. Whereas the different meanings can be integrated locally, each such instantiation opens horizons of meaning that can be codified along eigenvectors of the communication matrix. The interactions among three (or more) codes of communication may generate redundancies (as feedback on the forward arrow of entropy production). Increases in redundancy can be measured as a net reduction of prevailing uncertainty (measurable in bits). This generation of redundancy (options) can be considered as a hallmark of a knowledge-based system (e.g., an economy): new knowledge provides more options than can be realized. Both the communication-theoretical and the operational (information-theoretical) perspectives are further elaborated in the full paper—provisionally entitled “The Self-Organization of Meaning and the Reflexive Communication of Information”—which was in the meantime submitted (preprint version available at


redundancy; differentiation; codification; meaning; reflection

Cite this article as

Leydesdorff, L.; Petersen, A.; Ivanova, I. The Generation and Self-organization of Meaning in the Communication of Information and Redundancy. In Proceedings of the 2nd Int. Electron. Conf. Entropy Appl., 15–30 November 2015; Sciforum Electronic Conference Series, Vol. 2, 2015 , C005; doi:10.3390/ecea-2-C005

Author biographies

Loet Leydesdorff
Loet Leydesdorff (Ph.D. Sociology, M.A. Philosophy, and M.Sc. Biochemistry) is Professor at the Amsterdam School of Communications Research (ASCoR) of the University of Amsterdam. He is Honorary Professor of the Science and Technology Policy Research Unit (SPRU) of the University of Sussex, Visiting Professor of the Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (ISTIC) in Beijing, Guest Professor at Zhejiang University in Hangzhou, and Visiting Professor at the School of Management, Birkbeck, University of London. He has published extensively in systems theory, social network analysis, scientometrics, and the sociology of innovation (see at ). With Henry Etzkowitz, he initiated a series of workshops, conferences, and special issues about the Triple Helix of University-Industry-Government Relations. He received the Derek de Solla Price Award for Scientometrics and Informetrics in 2003 and held “The City of Lausanne” Honor Chair at the School of Economics, Université de Lausanne, in 2005. In 2007, he was Vice-President of the 8th International Conference on Computing Anticipatory Systems (CASYS’07, Liège). In 2014, Thomson Reuters listed him as a highly-cited author (

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