ISIS Summit Vienna 2015—The Information Society at the Crossroads
S2: Conference Stream ICPI 2015
Chair of the stream: Joseph Brenner. Please see the Instructions for Authors for a template, instructions for preparation and information on the submission of extended abstracts.
Brenner  has published a logical characterization of Nature in which ‘A’ and ‘non-A’ are non-separable, where 'A' and 'non-A' are not the terms of standard bivalent logics but refer to elements of evolving processes or systems, and where a third ‘T-state’ can or will emerge from their interaction in terms of actual and potential. This leads also to the non-separability of ontology and epistemology. We accept that Brenner’s characterization is valid, and have previously addressed  its relationship to the representation of hierarchical structure, following the insistence of Havel  that scale should be presumed to be a necessary constituent of all theory. In this paper we extend our treatment to the domain of information, which we picture as a coupling between structure and process. Hierarchy is naturally partially birational, between entity and context, and we find that this duality matches Brenner’s characterization.
The directly-inaccessible duality of scaled data and its scaled context presents itself as the precursor of a partial hyperscalar duality which is ‘the real contextual nature’  of the entity in its temporal and spatial context. These two partial hyperscales self-re-integrate resulting in a singular metascalar T-state which is information. Representation is then the abductive metascalar interpretation of the unification of the dual partial hyperscales which constitutes information.
Metascalar information is both objective and subjective, in indivision. The first, entity partial hierarchy is of individual subjective scales of data, while the second is of individual subjective scales of context; a scaled form of von Uexküll’s  umwelts. Havel  has presented the notion that scientific ‘objectivity’ is in fact societal group subjectivity. The two partial hyperscales are ‘objective’ in Havel’s group-subjective sense. We hypothesize that this duality is at the roots of the real and imaginary parts of evolved complex algebra, in a manner similar to the way that inter-scale data-loss is at the roots of the evolved hierarchical nature of mathematical equations.
This assembly of ideas is at this level of description purely abstract: if we now look at an embodied form we find that intelligence is the tool which enables inter-scalar transitions; that sapience permits conclusions from complete scale-assemblies (the construction of hyperscale); and that embodied metascalar information is metamorphosed into the high-level informational construct of wisdom. We have described in  how inter-viewing between the two hyperscales generates the unified high level awareness of consciousness. This phenomenon is concurrent with the development of wisdom: the one (wisdom) is a simplistic integration of the characters and contents of the two hyperscales ; the other (consciousness) is a less direct integration  whose character depends on the interpretation of observation as a mutual measurement  and whose content is restricted to rapidly-changing effects by stasis neglect  and habituation . The one is not possible without the other, and their intertwining depends on the metascalar integration of information.
- Brenner, J.E. Logic in Reality; Berlin: Springer: Berlin, Germany, 2008.
- Cottam R.; Ranson W.; Vounckx R. A framework for computing like Nature. In Computing Nature; Dodig-Crnkovic, G., Giovagnoli, R., Eds.; Springer SAPERE series: Berlin, Germany, 2013; pp. 23-60.
- Havel, I.M. Scale dimensions in nature. International Journal of General Systems 1995, 23, 303-332.
- Cottam, R.; Ranson, W.; Vounckx, R. Autocreative hierarchy II: dynamics - self-organization, emergence and level-changing. In International Conference on Integration of Knowledge Intensive Multi-Agent Systems; Hexmoor, H., Ed.; IEEE: Piscataway, NJ, USA, 2003, pp. 766-773.
- von Uexküll, T. Introduction: The sign theory of Jakob von Uexküll. Semiotica 1992, 89, 279-315.
- Cottam, R. and Ranson, W. A biosemiotic view on consciousness derived from system hierarchy. In The Unity of Mind, Brain and World: Current Perspectives on a Science of Consciousness; Pereira Jr., A.; Lehmann, D., Eds.; Cambridge University Press: Cambridge, UK, 2013, pp. 77-112.
- Matsuno, K. The internalist stance: a linguistic practice enclosing dynamics. Proc NY Acad Sci 2000, 901, 322-349.
- Sokolov, Y.N. Higher nervous functions: the orienting reflex. Annu Rev Physiol 1963, 25, 545-580.
The quantum information theory began to rise in the end of 20th century. The EPR (relation)really is quantum entanglement, Consequently, it makes the concept of information in science expand from classical information theory to quantum information theory, and a new concept of quantum information formed. The primary concept of information faced to new challenges and produced some important philosophical questions. For example, can we set up the concept of quantum information? What is the nature of quantum information? The past common concept of information (the information is the elimination of uncertainty) could be used in quantum information? Whether does the emergence of quantum computation mean to eliminate no-boundaries between the quantum and the classical? My aim in this paper is to discuss these questions. My philosophical analysis focuses, however, on the basic quantum information theory.
The research method is analytical philosophy and logic that make quantum conception more clear and accurate.
Results and Discussion
The concept of information could be set up. fundamentally speaking, it did be supported by the Shannon information theory and further philosophical reflections.
According of information theory, (classical) information concept could be set up, and there are two necessary preconditions: (a) the premise is a set of possible events, and they can be described by the probability. (b) the information is the elimination of uncertainty.
Fundamentally, quantum information is also satisfied with the family-resemblance two preconditions:
(1) Quantum information describes the possibility of microscopic things, and quantum information is the expression of wave function. The wave function describes the state of microscopic particles, and presentation of the possibility of microscopic objects.
(2) On the aspect of eliminating the uncertainty, the quantum communication is same as classical communication. The signal receiver once received quantum signals transmitted, and the receiver eliminates the corresponding uncertainty of quantum. Therefore, the quantum information is the elimination of quantum uncertainty, and which is called quantum information I.
From two point of views, the possible events and eliminate uncertainty, the quantum information and classical information have family resemblance. Quantum information like Classical information way of transmission, it is delivered by the information source, and is received by recipient through the information channel.
Quantum Information is similar to classical information, but more essential difference between them, specifically in the following three aspects: (1) The probability directly describe the possibility of classic events, while wave function (or probability amplitude) describes quantum events in the quantum world, and the absolute square of wave function is corresponded to classical probability. (2)There have the essential difference between qubits (quantum qits) and classical bits. (3) Classical information can be completely cloned or deleted. nevertheless, quantum information is neither cloned (no-cloning), nor removed completely.
To my point of view, through the analysis of the process of quantum teleportation, a quantum uncertainty can be divided into three categories: the first is the external uncertainties of microscopic particles; the second the uncertainty of the superposition state; the third the inherent uncertainty of microscopic particles. These three uncertainties can be eliminated by three different ways that are transmission of quantum information, accurate quantum transformations and the creations of quantum entanglement. Therefore we can give the general definition of certainty: a situation (the state of events, things) is of certainty, if they are satisfied with the following conditions: (a) a situation is entirely determined by n events parameters; (b) n parameters of events has an accurate values simultaneously.
The existences of quantum states form quantum facts. Quantum states show themselves, and therefore it releases the information to the outside world. For this reason, there have two aspects of quantum state which need to express: existence of quantum state is the quantum fact, here we emphasize "existence"; and quantum state can show to the external world, which is the quantum information, here we emphasize "Show". Hence, quantum information is the show(Zeigt) of quantum state, which is called quantum information II.
The nature of quantum information is the show of quantum events and their correlated ways. Quantum information is a kind of certainty and order. Quantum information can be divided into quantum informationⅠand quantum informationⅡ.. Quantum InformationⅠjust only a phenomenonal definition, it does not go deeply into the nature of the information. Therefore, the elimination of uncertainty can not be seen as the nature of quantum information itself .
In the process of quantum teleportation, the source of quantum information (such as quantum state , a and b are coefficients) is delivered to the receiver, what is the essence of quantum information? From the point of view of quantum information theory, quantum state represents quantum information, quantum state is the state of quantum system (or microscopic particles) or quantum events. in the quantum state , what quantum states disclose the quantum information does not be the absolute size of quantum information, but the relationship, since the coefficients a and b satisfy the condition , and it do not be important numerical a and b, but between their relative size and relationship, which reflects the correlated ways between a and b.
The connotation of quantum InformationⅠand quantum information Ⅱ offers support for the common view of classical information concept. Which is more deeply to disclose the nature of quantum information for both of them? Obviously, quantum information Ⅱ reflects the nature of quantum information.
Quantum reality and quantum information are unified. What the wave function expresses is quantum reality. The wave function is unified of quantum information and quantum reality. There is no quantum reality, there is no quantum information. Because of the information and reality are unified, and quantum information different from classical information, so we can deduce that quantum reality is different from classical reality, and quantum computing differs from classical computing. In the classical parallel computing, the value calculated in different circuits respectively, but in parallel quantum computing the value calculated in one circuit, which is the essential difference between classical and quantum parallel computing.
Many worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics does not mean that the difference between quantum and classical disappears: (1) Superposition in the microscopic world is very different from classical macroscopic physical world, so it is impossible that the superposition principle is fit for quantum world used for the classical world; (2) "To perform a quantum measurement, quantum world can be split up numerous classical world" is not supported by any experience and evidence; (3) Each branches of quantum computing are in quantum states, and quantum states are coherent, holistic, and some even entangled. Nevertheless, it is impossible for classical computing to achieve the quantum computing’s specific features; (4) The essential differences between quantum and the classical are decided by the development history of quantum mechanics and quantum information theory. The differences between quantum and the classical is really established by the quantum theory, concepts and their experiments that include Heisenberg’s matrix mechanics of Schrodinger’s wave equation, uncertainty principle of quantum mechanics and quantum entanglement phenomena and so on. They are completely different from the classical physical theories, concepts and experiments.
Figure 1. Quantum information processing
(see PDF version for the Figure).
This fruitful work gives an discussion of quantum concept that is the quantum information is the elimination of quantum uncertainty, which is called quantum information I and quantum information is the show (Zeigt) of quantum state, which is called quantum information II. Quantum information II reflects the nature of quantum information. The nature of quantum information is the show of quantum events and their correlated ways.
This research work of this paper is supported by 2011 the Philosophy and Social Sciences Foundation of the Ministry of Education of P. R. China (Project Number: 11JZD007) " Studies of the development trend of contemporary technological philosophy" .
References and Notes
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- Shannon, C. E., The Mathematical Theory of Communication. The Bell System Technical Journal. 1948, Vol.27, pp.379-423, 623-656.
- Kornwachs K., Jacoby K., Introduction: What’s new about information? In Kornwachs K., Jacoby K.eds. Information. Berlin: Akademic Verlag GmbH. 1996.
- Bouwmeester, D. Pan, J.-W.，et al. Experimental Quantum Teleportation. Nature. 1997. 390.
- Bennett C. H. and Di Vinecenzo D. P. quantum information and computation, Nature, 2000, 404.
- Einstein, A. Podolsky B., and Rosen, N. Can Quantum-Mechanical Description of Physical Reality Be Considered Complete? Physical Review. 1935,47.
- Nielsen, M. A. Chuang, I. L., Quantum Computation and Quantum Information. Cambridge University Press, 2000.
- Duwell, A. Quantum information does not exist. Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics，2003, (34).
- Berta, M. Christandl, M. Colbeck, R., et al. The uncertainty principle in the presence of quantum memory. Nat. Phys., 2010, (6).
- Caves， M. and Fuchs，C. A. 1996. Quantum information：how much information in a state vector?. preprint quant-ph/9601025.
- Barrow, J., et al, Science and Ultimate Reality: Quantum Theory, Cosmology and Complexity. Cambridge University Press. 2004.
- Yongde Zhang, Principles of Quantum Information Physics. Beijing: Science Press. 2006.
- Wheeler, J. A., At Home in the Universe. New York: Springer-Verlag. 1996.
- Guolin Wu, Quantum Entanglement And Its Philosophical Meaning, Studies in Dialectics of Nature, 2005, (7).
- Guolin Wu, A Detailed Philosophical Inquiry of the Quantum Information, Philosophical Researches. 2014, (8).
- Guolin Wu, Philosophical Connotation of quantum information Technology. Philosophical Trend. 2013, (8).
In this paper three closely related philosophical problems are discussed. Each of them can be considered as source of difficulties in understanding the very nature of information. First we focus on the ontological character of signs. Then a simple hermeneutic concept of information will be proposed. Finally an important dimension of the sign-information relationship will be introduced.
On the ontological character of signs
Considering the huge number of approaches to the concept of information and the numerous philosophical debates on it (see e.g. Capurro – Hjørland , Floridi , Hofkirchner ), it is not really surprising to entertain some confidence on a philosophical analysis of the ontological character of information.
In our view one of the most important ontological issues is the recognition that it is better to conceptualize the information as a relation instead of a thing. (If we are dialectical thinkers it is easy to see that every being is a thing, and at the same time it is a bunch of coexisting relations and at the same time it is a historical process.) Another fundamental philosophical issue is taking into seriously the sign-information differences and the sign-information relationship.
Even at first sight it is clear that the condition of the existence of information is the coexistence of two “different levels” of beings. One of the levels consists of beings/events, but at the same time, we can also identify beings/events existing on a different level which can correspond to the beings/events of the “first level”. As a result of the correspondence, the beings/events of the “second level” become the signs of the beings/events of the first level (or of the relations between them). Signs have a crucial ontological character: they necessarily include and hold a relation, the relation between the beings/events of the above mentioned two different “levels of beings”, or in a more general sense a relation between two (arbitrary) beings. A sign is an existing relation or relating existences (beings/events).
The constituents of an existing relation represent each other. A sign stands here and now instead of something else, refers to something else, “substituting” or representing that. A further understanding of the nature of representation has a fundamental role in the philosophy of information.
There is no representation without using signs. In other words: there is no representation without two kinds of beings, or two contexts for the beings. The sign has a specific, double nature: the sign is an actual being, but at the same time, potentially something else. We can identify something as a sign if and only if these two faculties of its nature (actually something and potentially something else) are simultaneously present.
In the above mentioned context: every kinds of “re-presentation” presupposes two kinds of beings (the beings what are represented and the beings what is representing that) or two different contexts for the beings (to consider the same thing in two different ways). It is the crucial that there is a necessary interrelationship between these two kinds of beings or contexts to create re-presentations. The re-presentation based on the existence of this relation. The (free) creation of this relation sometimes called coding or signifying. Any kind of relation is a source of the “actually something, but potentially something else” nature of a thing. Representations produce necessarily - such - virtual beings. On the language of philosophy it can be stated that representations have a specific ontological characters: the ontology of relations, or interrelationships, which is the ontology of virtual beings. All beings produced by representational technologies are necessarily virtual.
Hermeneutic concept of information – form and content
In the history of culture a well known and widely accepted methodology can be found on the treatment and utilization of two interrelating beings (or two interrelating contexts for a being): hermeneutics. In hermeneutics the interpretation through which the correspondence of beings/events on different levels (or the correspondence of different contexts) can be established.
In this way it has a meaning to conceptualize signs as hermeneutical products, which are created through a direct mediation between two beings/events/contexts, shortly two “worlds”.
However, if we want to conceptualize the information in a hermeneutic approach it is needed to repeat almost all again what was told above on the sign. Let us say in this way: in the process of the creation of information a mental act, interpretation, is needed, the active agent is without any doubt the interpreting man. His activity of interpretation consists in considering an event as a sign of another, that is, on the one hand he assumes that the chosen event includes the possibility of a sign, on the other, he interprets the realization of this possibility by developing a system of signs, for example. After a successful interpretation, he can infer the processes of the signified world, just “as if” he were trying to find out about them directly on their level. If we did not regard a sign as something which can be a sign of something, it would not be a sign. Furthermore, if we did not regard this possibility as something which is actually realized, it would not give us any information. It is obviously not enough to consider an abstract possibility, since that can be a sign of anything; that does not provide us with any knowledge. Thus, a sign used in the production of information is virtually the signified.
From the earlier train of thoughts it can be clear that in hermeneutic approach signs and information are also created by interpretation. However, it would be necessary to make a clear distinction between the existence of an interpretation and the content of it. The existence of an interpretation is completely enough to identify something as a sign. A working interpretation, however, using the different contexts and interrelating to each other different beings/events produces also definite meanings for the signs. Signs in themselves have no meanings. Information is a meaningful sign. Summarily: information is an “interpreted being” – also the existence and the meaning of the interpretation. Based on meanings we can have acquaintance, knowledge, cognition, etc.
Based on these differences the sign-information relationship can be described using a form-content relationship. Sign is the form of the information, while meaning is the content of it. Information is a meaningful sign or a signified meaning – created by interpretation
The sign-information relationship has a close similarity with the relationship between formal and “dialectical” logic. Considering only the formal aspects of propositions we can build up more or less complete formal logical systems – but in many practical cases we are interested in the contents of propositions too, so we can try to create content-dependent logics as it was proposed several times by dialectical thinkers. Similarly, the formal aspects of information is extensively studied in numerous versions of information theories (it would probably be better to call them theories of signs), where the meanings are disregarded. In fact, the creation of some kind of content-dependent information science is not so popular and not so easy – similarly again to an effective dialectical logic.
- Capurro, R.; Hjørland, B. The concept of information. In Annual Review of Information Science and Technology, Cronin, B., Eds.; American Society for Information Science and Technology: Bethesda, MD USA, 2003, Volume 37, pp. 343-411.
- Floridi, L. The Philosophy of Information, OUP: Oxford, England, 2011.
- Hofkirchner, W. ed.. The Quest for a Unified Theory of Information, Routledge: London, England, 1999.
My goal in this talk is to further develop the informational conception of logic proposed in  by motivating and exploring a methodology for logical practices (using, developing and thinking about logic) that is inspired by the methodology from the philosophy of information, with particular emphasis on its constructionist metaphilosophy . Against this background, I’m interested in the following phenomenon: If a formalisation-process leads to the refinement of one or more concepts we are interested in (either because we are explicitly formalising them, or because we use them to talk about the concepts we are actually formalising), this often leads to a “splitting of notions”. In that case, the uncareful use of the original notions in combination with their refinements often leads to fallacies of equivocation. As suggested in , the development of a design-perspective on logic is meant to show that this phenomenon is a reason to abandon the original concepts, and not a reason to cast doubt on the proposed refinement. As a corollary, constructionism is logic contributes to the motivation of a pluralist perspective on logical practices.
The proposed view has affinities with several contemporary and historical perspectives on logic.
- The emphasis on design is akin to Carnap’s own “logic first” approach, which he contrasted with a “philosophy first” approach to logical theorising, as well as to his views about explication and conceptual engineering .
- The proposed view also resembles the suggestion that our logical practice of formulating a logic should be seen as an entirely standard form of theory-building about a given subject- matter (Logic), rather than as the manipulation of Logic itself .
- The application of insights from the method of abstraction (the methodological recommendation and formal tool to make explicit the interface we use to access the system we study) to the use and development of logic is entirely in line with the logic-as-model view proposed by Shapiro and Cook, and especially with its emphasis on the need to negotiate tradeoffs .
Even though the main lines of my proposal can be described in terms of the above views, I will develop it from first principles and focus explicitly on poietic aspects of actual logical practices.
The basic tenet of constructionism as an epistemological thesis is that we can only know what we make. Our only knowledge is a maker’s knowledge; a knowledge of the artefacts we built and thus can examine from within (white box) rather than a user’s knowledge we acquire by observing what is given from without (black box). As Floridi puts it: “Knowledge is not about getting the message from the world; it is first and foremost about negotiating the right sort of communication with it. (…) [C]onstructionism is neither realism nor constructivism, because knowledge neither describes nor prescribes how the world is but inscribes it with semantic artefacts.” . As a methodological recommendation, constructionism is less radical, and only calls for the complementation of conceptual analysis with conceptual engineering. This is the sense in which I’ll employ the term.
When treated as a core ingredient of the philosophy of information, constructionism works hand in hand with the method of abstraction . Whereas constructionism emphasises the need to engineer our access to the world, the method of abstraction provides the concepts that allow us to think about different ways of accessing the world, but also draws attention to the fact that since we can only know our models of the world, we cannot directly compare a model with the world (our only knowledge is by proxy), but only compare different models. This does not only imply that we can only compare levels of abstraction, but also that there is no most general, maximally precise or otherwise epistemically or ontologically fundamental level of abstraction that could play the role of final arbiter (for all means and purposes a direct access).
As I shall argue, we can think about logics as semantic artefacts that allow us to access the world for descriptive as well as for deductive or inferential purposes. This is already a pluralist assumption, for if a logic acts as an interface or a communication-channel, we have no reason to assume that there is a single best all-purpose logic. Indeed, pluralism about levels of abstraction can naturally be associated with two important theoretical virtues of logical pluralism, namely:
- The freedom to make certain distinctions and/or fudge some other distinctions, and
- The freedom to outlaw certain expressions.
One of the most visible tasks of the development of a formal logic is the design of a formal language. Since such formal languages are almost by definition artificial languages, the description of the rules that govern that language (formation-rules, truth-conditions, formal inference-patters) is much closer to conceptual engineering than it is to conceptual analysis. Narrowly conceived, language design is an uncontroversial example of process that has to result in an artefact that has to meet certain specifications (a perspicuous notation system or well-behaved language), but what would it mean to consider logical theorising as a whole as a design task? Highly simplified, such a view on logic would mark clear departure from traditional logical analysis, for where successful logical analysis results in a formal account that agrees with the data (something that is given), successful logical construction results in a formal account that meets a set of self-imposed specifications, which includes but is not limited to agreement with the data.
An understanding of logical theorising as a whole in terms of meeting certain specifications gives a more radical pragmatic slant to the question of logic choice. It’s the pragmatics behind what Shapiro calls the negotiation of tradeoffs within his logic-as-model perspective, or what I call the balancing the logical virtues of deductive strength and discriminatory power (the ability to tell formulae apart).
Putting this on the table raises the further question of what a specification for a problem in logical theorising might look like. If we understand a specification as a criterion for correctness and malfunction relative to a given level of abstraction , it is clear that in such a context success does not merely depend on general theoretical virtues, but also on context and/or application specific norms. By further developing this suggestion, we should arrive at an account of “logic-specification” that guides our design decisions in the sense that it tells us how to deal with tradeoffs between different desirable formal features. As a corollary, it also further embeds a logical pluralism within the methodology of the philosophy of information, since it is consistent with the view that some logics are more general than others, but also recognises that wider applicability always comes at a cost.
References and Notes
- Allo and E. Mares, "Informational Semantics as a Third Alternative?", Erkenntnis, 77, no. 2, p. . 167-185, 2012.
- Floridi, "A defence of constructionism: philosophy as conceptual engineering", Metaphilosophy, 42, no. 3, p. . 282-304, 2011.
- Allo, "Synonymy and intra-theoretical pluralism", Australasian Journal of Philosophy, 93, no. 1, p. . 77-91, 2015.
- Carus, Carnap and Twentieth-Century Thought, no. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2008.
- Priest, Doubt Truth to be a Liar, no. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2006.
- Shapiro, Varieties of logic, no. Corby: Oxford University Press, 2014.
- Floridi, "The Method of Levels of Abstraction", Minds and Machines, 18, no. 3, p. 303-329, 2008.
- Turner, "Specification", Minds and Machines, 21, no. 2, p. 135-152, 2011.
The purpose of any social discipline is to understand the society through their theoretical perspectives. Human communication as a social science is also without exception, its purpose is to explain the society by means of inspecting the social information as well as the contents and extensions during the operation of social information system. Social together with its system are complex and comprehensive by nature, which determines human communication existing itself as a comprehensive science with multiple theories, aspects and perspectives. It is reasonable to study with the help of related theories of other subjects in facing concrete research issues and when the existing theories lack enough power to give an explanation.
Interpersonal human communication is an important part in human life, the human communication study about is rather few, however. This paper is about to solve this problem, for current human communication cannot explain the barriers occurred in the interpersonal human communication. To deal with such issue that often happens in social life, the author is appeal to information system theories to explain that the trajectory of information changes in the course of human communication could cause barriers.
Origin of the issue: difficulty in explaining life cases
The author has found a worthy pondering case in daily life. A friend of mine just describes the rules and her feelings after playing it when she is trying to introduce a game for me, though her description is quite vivid, I’m even no fond of it and have no desire to know it more. Then she tries again to introduce its content, which still cannot attract me to understand its essence. Finally I even have a feeling of contradicting when she repeats it a third time.
Human communication possesses reverent explanations upon communicating issues. Human communication has a necessary premise which refers to the mutual meaning space possessed by both disseminator and recipient. Spreading and communicating is such a process that disseminator and recipient are signifying and interpreting the semantic information with symbols. In the process of symbolization, the disseminator transforms his expressions into languages, words and behaviors, etc.; and the recipient collects them into his information processing system, then interprets them with symbols by recognizing, understanding, interpreting and reflecting, etc. Signifying or interpreting these information in process of spreading with symbols must have a necessary condition that both the two sides should share a mutual meaning space, which means both of them must gain a shared understanding about senses of those symbols.
Whether the concept “common meaning space” could solve the issue referred at the beginning of the text? What can be confirmed is that the example at the beginning conforms to all hypothesis of this theory: my friend and I compose the subject and object in the process of spreading and what we are communicating with each other is the rule of the game, she transforms me her senses by means of language and body, and I indeed hear my friend’s voice and the content she tries to tell me no matter how the result is, what’s more important, my friends and I share similar surroundings and a common language system, therefore “common meaning space” does exist between us. According to the logic of this theory, I have interpreted them when receiving the symbols of my friend, so the spreading effect of understanding the game rule is achieved. However, it is strangely that even though mutual meaning space exists between my friend and I, why impassable interaction still happens?
Rationality of explaining human communication barriers with information system theory
Several premises need to be confirmed before solving the above question: Firstly, it is no doubt that human communication is such an activity which relates to information transfer. Secondly, human communication is a kind of human interaction behavior on the microscopic level; and if being extended a little, it can be regarded as a process of spreading information; seen from a more macro perspective, it is considered as a system in which interaction occurs between information and many elements of the environment. human communication, as a behavior, is an activity that considers man as the main part; as a process, it is the interaction and interrelation of a series of links and elements carried by information from its source to destination; and as a system, it is a complicated “process aggregation”, which refers to the overall changes caused by interaction of various communicating processes. What can be confirmed is that the core of human communication is always the information no matter being explained from any aspects. Human communication, on a more macro level, could exists as a procedural activity as well as a systemic activity, therefore, it is an activity of both procedural and systemic by nature.
On account of the marketing tendency of media operation, main current human communication studies focus on areas of mass media and new media, but few pay their research attention to exploring its information level. These theory studies about human communication that develop roughly around the five modules of mass human communication put forward by Wilbur Schramm, that are control study, medium study, content study, audience study and effect study. Nevertheless, human communication research, especially Chinese human communication theory, is facing the problem of scientize, hence the empirical research of audience and effect studies among the above five aspects becomes the tendency of human communication research in recent years. In addition, lots of social problems caused by emerge of various forms of medias also promote the study of media culture and issues about the ethic. However, human communication studies much more than this, throughout the history, human beings never cease to communicate with each other since their origin, all of which construct the current mankind history. View the world far away, we find that though we are living in an age of fast developing media, except for media, human communication also exists in man, between man and man, man and group, group and group as well as country and country, all of these human communication activities and phenomena which occur among time-space relationship should be included into the area of human communication study. Besides, empirical study, as a method of studying from individual case, still has inevitable abuse. Though this method could explain and resolve concrete issues, yet due to the contingency of individual case as study object, its result would lack universality. For the value of a theory lies in its explanatory power, and the way to get which is to explore the core concept whereby the discipline develops. Obviously, the core of human communication is information whose production and spreading derive from the need of human beings’material production and contact. As an information activity associated with material production, the core of human communication transformation between information, taken in this sense, human communication also exists in, except for mass media, all levels of social life such as man himself, human beings, groups and organizations, therefore it is necessary and worthy trying to discuss issues of human communication from the aspect of information.
Evolution process of information in system
Now that “common meaning space” cannot explain the issue raised at the beginning, we might as well return to the core of human communication, the information, from which we could explore the unfinished and endless knowledge in human communication theories. To be clear that what the disseminator and the recipient actually do in their signifying and symbolizing is to exchange the senses that attach to the symbols. Sense in human communication theory refers to men’s understanding about the natural and social issues, the meaning men give to their objects is just the essence they communicate and exchange by means of symbols. In the theory of information system, exchanging of sense means creation of information, which refers to create a new information by recombining and reconstructing them, the information after recreating is the sense after exchanging. Therefore, it is absolutely possible to understand in virtue of information creation system when analyzing the individual case.
Information creation system is used to create new information by processing the existing ones. Information creation is realized through recombing and reconstructing the information, in this process, the system creatively breaks down and regroups those existing information, and then gives them new choice, matching and constructing. For it concerns graphical analysis, it is necessary to stipulate the case elements ahead: first, what is exchanged or spread in the case is the game rule, it is stipulated as existing information set X; second, signifying and interpreting with symbols are actually the process of creating new information, it involves the information processing steps which possesses two types, that are determinism type and indeterminism type, then the below study needs to discuss the symbolic activities by regarding them as determinism type and indeterminism type respectively. Figure 1 shows the operating model of information system of determinism type:
Figure 1. Operating mode of determinism type. (see PDF version for the image)
In model of determinism type, when game rule X comes into my friend’s information processing system and transforms as languages, what I receive must be the information Y that exists as language information. This kind of processing model is as the saying “You reap what you sow”, which means my friends says out what she wants to say, and I, however, as another information processing system, understand all what she “expresses”. If man is regarded as an information processing facility that operates according to the principles of mechanical determinism type, thus as information recipient in the case, “I” should get all information she conveys as well as resonate with them instead of occurring such phenomenon as “impassable interaction” .
Obviously, it is impossible to do a reasonable explanation if man is regarded as an information processing system that operates followed by determinism type. Before exploring the reason, man’s physiological structure that needed in the process of receiving information should be considered. In physical sense, men have roughly similar physiological structures, and seen from the hardware elements, each human body is composed of elements as skin, blood, muscle and bone. In addition, human body also consists of software elements, which refers to the covert differences such as individual looks and thinking modes caused by different ways of DNA information coding. Next, view from the psychological level, man as an individual with independence sense, his receiving and processing information is carrying under interaction of the existing cognitive structure that formed by removing his thinking mode, past experience and value judgment, in which all elements are operating together. Man belongs to be complicated no matter viewed from physiological or psychological level, therefore, it is far enough to fully understand the complexity of cognitive process if man is just considered as a simple information processing object.
Then, what if man as information processing system operate according to the mode of indeterminism type? As shown in figure 2.
Figure 2. Operating mode of indeterminism type. (see PDF version for the image)
In this information processing system of indeterminism type, seen from the angle of my friend who spreads the game rule, when transmitting information X to “me”, she should firstly collect the game content into her information processing system, which also means filtrating, that is to say, the information she filtrates is considered to be enough to fully describe the game. After that, she should remove her thinking mode, life experience and language performance to process those that filtrated and then transform them into languages to output. All that experience such a series of processing will no more be the original information X, instead, it may be any information set in Y1-----Yn. In other words, the information X in several Y1-----Yn sets is resulted from the output program of various information recombination and reconstruction, it is any possible information produced inevitably during the information processing after distortion, and it is also the created information after the game decomposites, composites, chooses, matches and constructs its rule again. Seen from me as a recipient, what I receive is might any information set in Y1-----Yn set, which will not coincide completely with information set X no matter which of them I receive. Likewise, I also follow the information processing system that operates according to mode of indeterminism type, and the information I receive and output will still gradually distort and change. Hence though I receive a confirmed information in Y1-----Yn set, I can certainly output Z1----Zn information set.
The issue of “obstacle in interaction” just lies here. If the disseminator is considered as information processing system A, the recipient is considered as information processing system B, the result is as following in figure 3.
Figure 3. Diagram of information matching in human communication barriers. (see PDF version for the image)
It can be seen from the figure that the recipient B, as an information processing system, after receiving some information（Yi）in Y1-----Yn set, cures it and then outputs “Z1-----Zn” possible created information, this part of information is neither equal to its original one nor equal to any information in Y1-----Yn set that outputted by the disseminator, here, “impassable interaction” results from the fact that the created information outputted by system of the disseminator mismatches the one that outputted by the system of the recipient.
Discussion about the explanation power of information creation system to human communication issues
Let us return back to discussion about human communication, now that distortion happens inevitably in the process of information transfer, then whether signifying and interpreting with symbols can realize? Signifying and interpreting with symbols share a theory hypothesis, that is between the two human communication sides lying a mutual meaning space, otherwise the interpreting activity will be meaningless. This is equal to the information processing mode of determinism, which interprets human communication content with symbols, naturally hopes that the recipient could understand the meaning carried by the symbol after receiving it, for example, if the disseminator symbolizes the content of “human communication” as X, the effect he wants to achieve is that the recipient could associate “human communication” when he sees the symbol X. Of course this belongs to an ideal state, the fact is, however, if the recipient does not know the relation between X and “human communication”, his understanding would stay just on the letter X; if the recipient knows the relation between X and “human communication” but has little knowledge about “human communication” except for its literal meaning, then he would take for granted that X equals to “human communication”; if luckily enough to meet a recipient who is familiar with the science of human communication, he would enlarge his understanding about X to every schools and areas of human communication, this is just what “common meaning space” is about to express, while this kind of profound understanding is one of those many different versions. Therefore, due to the complexity of human nature and the inner randomness of information processing system, complete signifying and interpreting with symbols belong to a probability event which occurs in an ideal state only.
In our daily life, in turn, there also exist lots of human communication barriers, among which the most typical one is misunderstanding. Just as its name implies that “understanding” refers to some errors or mistakes appear in the interaction between two sides of human communication. What should be clear firstly is that a necessary premise lies in misunderstanding, that is both the two sides sharing a subjective will of understanding each other by means of meaning interaction, which meanwhile is the starting point of human communication. But why the misunderstanding till happens though the activity sets out based on human communication will? In terms of information system, both the two sides of human communication are all systems that process the information according to the mode of indeterminism type, the one who outputs information should transform his viewpoints and attitudes that being expressed into language information and then organize them as language symbols within his expressing ability range, the expression of these languages may vary its senses accompanied the voice, intonation, expression and bodies of the exporter, for instance, stressing any letter in “I love you” would cause different emphasis of its senses; and if it is respectively expressed with mood of declarative, question or exclamatory, the result is also entirely different; when saying out the sentence, man’s corresponding facial expression still produces different understandings about it to the other side; likewise, body changes accompanied also affect understanding of this sentence. What’s more complicated is that the output of a language information set includes elements such as sense, voice, intonation, mood and bodies, as the results of total information transfer, they are formed after a complex permutation and combination which is determined by the usage of various elements in the exporter’s system, the randomness of such information processing determines that the outputted information no longer has its original full meaning it wants to express before, added that the recipient would dislocate the information when he receives it, thus it is natural and inevitable to produce some misunderstandings.
Conclusion: analysis and definition about “common meaning space” in human communication
Having viewed real case of human communication barriers in daily life, the author found the defect and inability of “common meaning space” in explaining human communication issues. After resorting to information system theory, the author then observes human communication activity by regarding it as an information processing system, thus discovers that from its origin to destination, information gradually experiences steps like filtration, matching, recombination, reconstruction and output, during which original information varies inevitably and information that has arrived at destination is no longer the one as its original. Information after varying will experience a new round varying as a new origin, and this new varying would be aggravated by any chance element in information processing system. Thus, as the disseminator and recipient of information processing system, their exporting information sets do not match under the action of contingency and randomness, which causes the human communication barrier that one only hears the voice, but get little meaning.
The mismatching of information sets can also be used to interpret barriers within human communication area. And in human communication, the exchange of meaning is realized through signifying interpreting with symbols. However, due to the structural complexity of man both physically and mentally and the randomness of information system of indeterminism type, information distortion cannot be avoided no matter in the process of signifying the content or interpreting it with symbols, the same symbol would result different understandings on account of different cognitive backgrounds of the readers. Therefore, it is impossible to realize a complete interaction which is just an ideal state.
In man’s daily interpersonal activities, embarrassing human communication like misunderstanding happens often even if the disseminator and recipient are on very intimate terms with each other. If explaining this phenomenon with “common meaning space”, such result would occur that though the two sides share same language systems and similar life experiences which can meet the hypothetical condition of “common meaning space”, it is still impossible to realize an effective human communication. What causes this is not because the two sides have no subjective will to communicate successfully, it is because they all have different viewpoints and attitudes upon things, objects and people due to their distinctive physical and mental structures, life experiences and value judgments that caused by the complexity of their own information system, which results in their viewpoints and attitudes producing no resonance.
In a word, the failure of “common meaning space” results from its regarding the disseminator and recipient as a kind of mechanical and isolated device that outputs and receives information, it neglects the randomness of information processing caused by the individual’s inner mental-physical structure, life experience and thinking mode, and also neglects the fact that the information delivered in interpersonal interaction and human communication is not its original form, but the created one after processing instead. It is just this randomness and complexity determines that man, as an information processing system, follows the operation principles of indeterminism. Therefore, the “common meaning space” in human communication is worthy analyzing and defining. Objectively speaking, what can be confirmed is “common meaning space” does exists, otherwise we are unable to attend normal interpersonal human communication and social life. Nevertheless, man’s inner complexity and randomness of information processing confine that true “meaning space” is impossible to have complete “mutual commonness” of meaning, in general, “meaning space” only appoints within “roughly similar” scope, some are rather different or even run in the opposite directions. In this sense, man’s human communication is quite a rough activity.
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Many scholars researched social informatization from different perspectives, including profession, economy and technology. In this thesis, the author will studied on social informatization from the perspective of basic characteristics of information. Firstly, the author will describe other scholars’ social informationization theories. Secondly, the definition of information and basic characteristics of information will be given. Then, the production mode informatization and life-style informatization from the perspective of basic characteristics of information will be studied on in this paper. Lastly, the conclusion will be drawn.
In this paper, the author has used literature research method to list some kinds of theories of social informatization. The history and current status of theories of social informatization could be found by researching different kinds of literatures. Besides, the descriptive study method has been used in this paper. The author stood on the point of view of basic characteristics of information to describe and explain the social informatization.
3. Results and Discussion
3.1. The Social Informatization
The earliest theory of social informatization can be traced back to the 1950s. In 1959, Daniel Bell, an American sociologist, used the word "post-industrial society" to describe a new social stage for the first time in an academic conference. Daniel Bell stated that information was the core competitive factors in the "post-industrial society" and named the "post-industrial society" in which information workers were the main professional group "information society".1 It can be seen that Daniel Bell discusses social informationization from the perspective of career mobility. After Daniel Bell, another American sociologist, John Naisbitt, studied on social informationization from the perspective of career mobility, too. In his Megatrends: Ten New Directions Transforming Our Lives (1984), John Naisbitt claimed that most of people were processing information rather than producing the products in American in 1956 and believed that the year of 1956 was the starting point of the United States entering into the "information society".2
Besides, some scholars researched social informationization from the perspective of economy. For example, Fritz Machlup (1962), an American economist, presented the concept of “knowledge industry” in his The Production and Distribution of Knowledge in the United States (1962).3 After that, Marc Porat (1977), another American economist, presented and described “information industry” in detail in his The Information Economy: Definition and Measurement (1977).4
Some scholars measured the society on the basis of the development of science and technology. For instance, Alvin Toffler, a futurologist, divided the history of development of human society into three "waves" according to the development of science and technology in his The Third Wave (1984) and he stated that the electronic information technology contributed to “the third wave” that led to the information society.5 Moreover, Manuel Castells, a sociologist, claimed that “a new society” that was named as “the network society” came into being with the development of network technology.6
Seeing from what has been discussed above, scholars studied on social informatization with adequate grounds from the perspective of profession, economy and science and technology. Nevertheless, the author thinks that the increase of amount of information, the formation and development of information industry, the increase of workers engaging in information industry and the wide application of information technology just make the social informatization to be possible. Society is made up of people. With the development and wide application of information technology, the characteristics of information have changed people's production mode and life-style. Only if production mode and life-style have realized the informatization, the social informatization will truly be realized. So, in order to completely study on social informatization, the production mode informatization and life-style informatization should be analyzed from the perspective of the characteristics of information.
3.2. The Definition of Information and Basic Characteristics of Information
In 1948, Shannon, an American scientist, published his famous paper A Mathematical Theory of Communication and had deduced the information entropy formula: by the knowledge of mathematical statistics and stated that the information entropy formula “played an important role in the information theory as a measurement of information, selecting, and uncertainty”.7 This kind of “uncertainty” exactly is the “uncertainty” of information sink and the information source can eliminate the “uncertainty” of information sink by sending a message. So, generally, the information given by Shannon is considered to the elimination of “uncertainty”. Though Shannon’s information theory is based on the rigorous mathematical statistics, his information theory is limited to the specific communication. Comparing with Shannon’s information theory, Wiener’s information theory has more extensive adaptability. Wiener stated that “information was neither a matter, nor energy, and information was the information, and if you did not know it, you would not know the materialism”.8 It was observed that, Wiener considered information as an independent existence that differed from matter and energy, however, did not explain information in detail. In contrast, Wu Kun, a Chinese philosopher, carried on the thorough thinking on the nature of information from the philosophy level. Professor Wu Kun stated that “information was the philosophical category marking indirect existence and self-display of existing way and status of matter (direct existence).”9 Professor Wu Kun defined information based on redistricting the field of existence and regarded information as “indirect existence” and pointed out the relationship between information and matter. It can be seen that Professor Wu Kun’s information definition is more abstract and precise than Wiener’s.
The author thinks that some scholars cannot stand on the point of view of characteristics of information to study on social informatization and mistake the wide application of information technology or the rapid development of information industry for the social informatization, because these scholars cannot grasp the nature of information from the philosophical level and just consider information as a technology. In order to study on social informatization from the perspective of characteristics of information, the author will analyze the characteristics of information based on Professor Wu Kun’s information definition from the philosophical level rather than the technology level. Though there are many kinds of characteristics of information, this paper will only choose a few basic characteristics to be analyzed. The virtuality of information, the creativity of information and the display attribute of information will be referred to in this paper.
3.3 The Production Mode Informatization
From the perspective of producers, the creativity is the core competitiveness between producers in nowadays society and that will be producers who have the creative ability indeed rather than processors who only repeat mechanical labor. The core of brainwork is the memory, processing, storage and recombination of information in the brain and is creative activities of information. So, the creativity of information gets the most centralized embodiment in producers.
From the perspective of the subject of production, nowadays, producers produce new products mainly by means of recombining the information of the subject of production and remolding the subject of production in the information level. The process of information recombination of the subject of production is precisely the creative process of information.
From the perspective of the instrument of production, with the development of technology, instruments of production become more and more intelligent. The intellectualization is exactly a kind of simulation of specific function of intelligent creatures. The simulation means the virtualization of real things or process. So, the instrument of production intellectualization embodies the virtuality.
From the perspective of the product, as products are more and more rich, people do not focus more attention on the product itself but want to express themselves by the product. People can display production capacity by the product. The product not only can be used by human, but also can display human production capacity, which is the important embodiment of display attribute of the product information.
The basic characteristics of information have penetrated into all aspects of human producing activities and human producing activities have been changed by the basic characteristics of information, which is the production mode informatization.
3.4. The Life-style Informatization
The life-style informatization is mainly embodied in basic necessities of life intellectualization, communication virtualization and consumption symbolization
The intellectualization of basic necessities of life is a trend in today's world. The intellectualization of basic necessities of life is based on virtualizing sensor and controller of intelligent creatures. So, the virtuality is changing our basic necessities of life.
Meanwhile, the virtuality is changing our communication. With the development of technology, especially the development of network technology, the face-to-face communication is less and less. For one thing, subjects of communication hide in the network and subjects of communication are virtualized by network. For another, both the language and the character of subjects of communication are converted to digital codes and are passed through the network. Therefore, ways of communication are virtualized by network, too.
With the improvement of human productivity, material products become very rich. When people consume material products, they more and more focus on symbolic consumption. Material products are displayed by symbol. People adore the symbol, not only just because the symbol display the material product itself, but also because people can display themselves and achieve self-identity by means of occupying the symbol. The display attribute of information is the real magic power of the symbol and this magic power is changing the society and human.
The life-style is permeated with the virtuality, the creativity and the display attribute that information gives us, which is the most fundamental impact on the life-style. So, the life-style has been informationized.
This paper used a unique perspective that was the perspective of basic characteristics of information to study on social informatization. This perspective was broader and more fundamental than the perspective of profession, economy and technology and the study on social informatization was deeper from the perspective of basic characteristics of information, because the perspective of basic characteristics of information was based on Professor Wu Kun definition of information in philosophical level.
I would like to express my sincere thanks to all those who have helped me in the course of my writing this paper. Thank Professor Wu Kun to give me a lot of useful advices on my writing. Besides, I would like to thank the editor of ICPI 2015 to provide me some rational suggestions. Their useful advices helped me improve my paper.
- Bell, D. The Coming of Post-Industrial Society: A Venture in Social Forecasting; Penguin: Harmondsworth, England, 1976; 127-467.
- Naisbitt, J. Megatrends: Ten New Directions Transforming Our Lives (Y. Mei, Trans.); China Social Sciences Press: Beijing, China, 1984; 10. (Original work published 1982).
- Machlup, F. The Production and Distribution of Knowledge in the United States; Princeton University Press: Princeton, NJ, America,
- Porat, M. U. The Information Economy: Definition and Measurement; United States Department of Commerce: Washington, DC, America,
- Toffler, A. The Third Wave (Z. Y. Zhu, Q. Pan & Y. Zhang, Trans.); SDX Joint Publishing Company: Beijing, China, 1984; 3-43. (Original work published 1980).
- Castells, M. Toward a Sociology of the Network Society. Contemporary Sociology 2000, 29 (5), 693-699.
- Li, J. H. & Pang, Y. Z. Classical Selected Academic Works in System Theory, Control Theory and Information Theory; Realistic Approach Press: Beijing, China,1989; 510-525.
- Wiener, N. Control Theory (J. R. Hao, Trans.); Science Press: Beijing, China, 1962; 481. (Original work published 1948).
- Wu, K. Basis of Complex Information System Theory; Xi'an Jiaotong University Press: Xi 'an, China, 2010; 109-110.
Unlike Shannon-type information—that is, the uncertainty in a probability distribution (Shannon, 1948, p. 10)—meaning can only be provided with reference to a system for which “the differences make a difference” at a place (MacKay, 1969; Bateson, 1973, p. 315). I argue that systems can be considered as densities in distributions of relations. However, the sets relate at the systems level not in terms of relations, but also in terms of correlations. Because of potentially spurious correlations among two distributions of relations given a third one, uncertainty can also be reduced in the case of interactions among three (or more) sources of variation (Garner & McGill, 1956). In the case of a third agent, each position is cor-relationally defined in terms of the vector space that is spanned—as an architecture—by the set(s) of relations. This communication at the systems level can be expressed as mutual information in the overlap among the sets—or with the opposite sign of reduction of uncertainty as mutual redundancy (Leydesdorff & Ivanova, 2014).
On top of the information exchanges and the correlations among the meanings, discursive knowledge develops by relating meanings reflexively on the basis of cognitive codes that remain mentally and socially constructed. Positions first make it possible to develop perspectives; translations among perspectives provide a third layer of the exchange on top of information processing in relations and the redundancy potentially generated when meanings are shared. The third layer develops as horizons of meaning that can be entertained reflexively, and that enable us to translate among meanings.
For example, a perspective can be used to develop discursively a rationalized system of expectations, and thus to generate knowledge at each individual level by codifying specific meanings. The codification, however, provides an additional selection mechanism: the translation among perspectives thus adds a third layer by potentially codifying communication at the supra-individual level on top of the information and meaning processing. In this context, the notion of “double contingency” (Parsons, 1968, p. 436; Parsons & Shills, 1951, p. 16) can be extended to a “triple contingency” (Strydom, 1999, p. 12). Meaningful information can first be selected from the Shannon-type information fluxes on the basis of codes that are further developed in the reflexive communications among us about expectations. This third layer enables us to develop models of possibly future states.
The three layers operate in parallel. The construction of this triple-layered system is bottom-up, but—using a cybernetic principle—control can increasingly be top-down as the feedback layers are further developed (Ashby, 1958). Whereas the three contingencies can be expected to develop in parallel, this assumption of inversion enables us to hypothesize a hierarchy among the layers that can be expected for analytical reasons. Let me stepwise extend the single-layered and linear Shannon-model (Figure 1 below) into such a triple-layered model in Figure 2.
Extensions of the Shannon-Weaver Model
As is well known, Shannon (1948, p. 3) first focused on information that was not (yet) meaningful: “Frequently the messages have meaning; that is they refer to or are correlated to some system with certain physical or conceptual entities.” According to Shannon (1948, p. 3), however, “(t)hese semantic aspects of communication are irrelevant to the engineering problem.” It is less well known that Shannon’s co-author Warren Weaver argued that Shannon’s distinction between information and meaning “has so penetratingly cleared the air that one is now, for the first time, ready for a real theory of meaning” (Shannon & Weaver, 1949, p. 27). Weaver (1949, p. 26) proposed to insert thereto another box with the label “semantic noise” into the Shannon model between the information source and the transmitter, as follows (Figure 1):
Figure 1. Schematic diagram of a general communication system. Source: Shannon (1948, p. 380); with Weaver’s box of “semantic noise” first added (to the left) and then further extended with a second source of “semantic noise” between the receiver and the destination (to the right).
(see PDF version for the Figure).
What if one adds a similar box to the right side of this figure between the receiver and the destination of the message (added in grey to Figure 1)? The two sources of semantic noise may be correlated; for example, when the sender and receiver of the message share a language or, more generally, a code of communication. I propose to distinguish between “language” as the natural—that is, undifferentiated—code of communication versus codes of communication which can be symbolically generalized and then no longer require the use of language (Luhmann, 2002 and 2012, pp. 120 ff.; Parsons, 1968). For example, instead of negotiating about the price of a commodity, one can simply pay the market price using money as a symbolically generalized medium of communication. One is able to translate reflexively among codes of communication by elaborating upon the different meanings of the information in language (Bernstein, 1971).
Thus, one arrives at the following model (Figure 2):
Figure 2. Three mutual contingencies in the dynamics of codified knowledge.
(see PDF version for the Figure).
In other words, one can distinguish between “meaningful information”—potentially reducing uncertainty—and Shannon-type information that is by definition equal to uncertainty (Hayles, 1990, p. 59). Shannon (1948) chose his formulas so that uncertainty could be measured as probabilistic entropy in bits of information. The mathematical theory of communication provides us with entropy statistics that can be used in different domains (Bar-Hillel, 1955; Krippendorff, 1986; Theil, 1972). Meaning is provided to the information from the perspective of hindsight (of the “later event”—that is, as a system of reference). However, the measurement of “meaningful information” in bits or otherwise had remained hitherto without an operationalization (cf. Dretske, 1981).
In my presentation, I explore two venues for the generation and measurement of negative entropy:
(1) Dubois’ (1998) proposal to distinguish between recursive routines with the arrow of time—necessarily generating entropy—and incursive ones against the arrow of time and thus reducing uncertainty in terms of: (i) in the case of recursion: xt = f(xt-1); (ii) in the case of incursion: xt = f(xt); or (iii) hyper-incursion: xt = f(xt+1). The codes as mental constructs operate in terms of structures of expectations and thus hyper-incursively on the ongoing trajectories of instantiations. The instantiations operate in the present (that is, incursively), whereas the trajectories develop historically along the arrow of time (that is, recursively).
(2) Mutual redundancy in three or more dimensions provides us with a measure of the resulting potential for options in a configuration of expectations other than the ones historically realized: Kauffman’s (2000) “adjacent others.” Mutual redundancies can be generated when the uncertainty is appreciated from three or more different perspectives in a static design or among the three layers of communication distinguished in Figure 2 dynamically, that is, in terms of recursion, incursion, and hyper-incursion. The latter dynamic requires human intelligence since one has to be able to entertain expectations with respect to the expectations of the other in a “double contingency” (Parsons, 1968, p. 436; Parsons & Shills, 1951, p. 16). The communication among perspectives (at the supra-individual level) can then be expected to provide a third contingency (Strydom, 1999, p. 12).
References and Notes
- Ashby, W. R. (1958). Requisite variety and its implications for the control of complex systems. Cybernetica, 1(2), 1-17.
- Bar-Hillel, Y. (1955). An Examination of Information Theory. Philosophy of Science, 22, 86-105.
- Bateson, G. (1972). Steps to an Ecology of Mind. New York: Ballantine.
- Bernstein, B. (1971). Class, Codes and Control, Vol. 1: Theoretical studies in the sociology of language. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul.
- Dretske, F. I. (1981). Knowledge and the flow of information. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press Mass.
- Dubois, D. M. (1998). Computing Anticipatory Systems with Incursion and Hyperincursion. In D. M. Dubois (Ed.), Computing Anticipatory Systems, CASYS-First International Conference (Vol. 437, pp. 3-29). Woodbury, NY: American Institute of Physics.
- Garner, W. R., & McGill, W. J. (1956). The relation between information and variance analyses. Psychometrika, 21(3), 219-228.
- Krippendorff, K. (1986). Information Theory. Structural Models for Qualitative Data. Beverly Hills, etc.: Sage).
- Leydesdorff, L., & Ivanova, I. A. (2014). Mutual Redundancies in Inter-human Communication Systems: Steps Towards a Calculus of Processing Meaning. Journal of the Association for Information Science and Technology, 65(2), 386-399.
- Luhmann, N. (2002). How Can the Mind Participate in Communication? In W. Rasch (Ed.), Theories of Distinction: Redescribing the Descriptions of Modernity (pp. 169–184). Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.
- Luhmann, N. (2012). Theory of Society, Vol. 1. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.
- MacKay, D. M. (1969). Information, Mechanism and Meaning. Cambridge and London: MIT Press.
- Parsons, T. (1968). Interaction: I. Social Interaction. In D. L. Sills (Ed.), The International Encyclopedia of the Social Sciences (Vol. 7, pp. 429-441). New York: McGraw-Hill.
- Parsons, T., & Shils, E. A. (1951). Toward a General Theory of Action. New York: Harper and Row.
- Shannon, C. E. (1948). A Mathematical Theory of Communication. Bell System Technical Journal, 27, 379-423 and 623-656.
- Strydom, P. (1999). Triple Contingency: The theoretical problem of the public in communication societies. Philosophy & Social Criticism, 25(2), 1-25.
- Theil, H. (1972). Statistical Decomposition Analysis. Amsterdam/ London: North-Holland.
- Weaver, W. (1949). Some Recent Contributions to the Mathematical Theory of Communication. In C. E. Shannon & W. Weaver (Eds.), The Mathematical Theory of Communication (pp. 93-117.). Urbana: University of Illinois Press.
 I deviate here from Luhmann’s theory. In his theory, the sub-systems of communication are operationally closed and communications cannot be transmitted reflexively from one system into another (cf. Callon, 1998; Leydesdorff, 2006 and 2010a).
The question what is the essence of information must be answered for philosophy of information and information science and technology research. However, views on this issue are still divergent. This paper has made the analysis and argumentation about the essence of information by the method of dialectical materialism, and points out that the essence of information are the relations between things and internal things, and this relationship formed information. Due to the connection between the protean and endless things, thus produce the endless, dazzling and variant information. To grasp the essence of information, much attention should be paid to the specific form of information and information processing, the reorganization, transmission, storage, utilization.
Civilization is always developing with the accurate cognition of human being about world and life, we can say the development of human civilization is the development of accuracy pursued by human being. However, along with the coming of the age of big data, the crisis of pursue of accuracy which come from scientific rationalism in modern times is more and more highlighted in front of us. The cognition of pursue of accuracy take the value and meaning of our life into a transparent dimensional society, it is destroying our nature of freedom. If the nature of freedom is based on the representation of the value and meaning of life, it is a deviation for us to walking on the road of pursuing accuracy by scientific rationalism. Now that the full digital memory is the pink of this deviation, we need to keep some kind of oblivion intentionally, and this kind of oblivion will leave us the last space for the variety of possible life in an irreversible possible Ubiquitous Age.
In the processes of adaptation, development and evolution, living systems interpret themselves in the environment resulting in changes of both. This leads to the growth of information via rescaling of internal time (heterochrony) followed by spatial reconstructions of morphology (heterotopy). The growth of information is based on perpetual changes in its interpretation in the changing world. Biological evolution involves the anticipatory epigenetic changes in interpretation of the genetic information which cannot be generally forecasted but can provide canalization of structural changes defined by the existing organization leading to predictable patterns of form generation. Social evolution is accompanied by unprecedented growth of the informational field that leads to progressive development of human society.
In modern theoretical biology, the internal measurement concept was suggested as a background for explanation of the phenomenon of life (Matsuno, 1995). The quantum measurement represents the action of a measuring device on the measured system. The quantum measurement is an irreversible phenomenon exhibiting itself as a reduction of the potential field. It has also a relation to the irreversibility of time (Igamberdiev, 1993). The collapse of wave function is not equivalent to time until it does not generate a measurable duration, but when its pattern is repeated consistently, the clock can be set, and the system becomes organized in time. When the measuring device is a part of measured system, the measurement proceeds internally in relation to the whole system and the latter becomes more complex as a result of measurement itself. The aim of this study is to discuss the role of internal measurement in the growth of information in evolving systems. This can refer to biological evolution, social evolution, and as well to the cosmic evolution, which is represented in the phenomenon of expansion of the Universe.
Internal Measurement and the Generation of New Information
The internal measurement leads to an iterative recursive process which appears as the development and evolution of the combined system containing the measuring device and the measured object. The quantum measuring device can be organized in such way that it “encodes” the system in the course of interaction with the measured object, and makes it possible for the measurement to proceed in a regular way. In this case, such system can memorize the evolutionary complication of organization in a digital information-bearing subsystem and evolve further; in other words it contains an internal description memorizing the result of measurement. The logical precondition of the growth of information in this evolving process is the incompleteness of biosystem’s internal description, while the physical precondition is the uncertainty of quantum measurement. The evolutionary increase of complexity becomes possible when genotype appears as a system distinct from phenotype and is embedded into it, which separates energy-degenerate rate-independent genetic symbols from the rate-dependent dynamics of construction that they control (Pattee, 2001). Evolutionary growth of information becomes its own cause, a universal property of our world.
The growth of information accompanies the appearance of measurable time that occurs in the systems performing quantum measurements in a regular way, with low dissipation of energy (Igamberdiev, 1993, 2004). These systems are modelled as hypercycles and can be defined as structures in which the subset of a substrate set of the catalytic system happens to be the matrix for generating and reproducing the set of catalysts itself (Igamberdiev, 1999). This definition keeps the main features of the original notion of hypercycle given by Eigen and Schuster (1979). The hypercyclic system is closed in the way that all of the catalysts needed for an organism to stay alive (representing an efficient causation according to Aristotle and forming organism’s spatiotemporal structure) must be produced by the organism itself, only relying on matter and energy from the outside (Letelier et al., 2011). When hypercycles appear in evolution, time becomes an independent measurable variable due to the internal reproducible changes. Hypercycle organizes irreversibility of quantum measurement into a measurable duration.
Eigen’s hypercycle is a formalized representation of the autopoietic system of Maturana and Varela or Rosen’s (M,R) system (Leteiler et al., 2011). The system becomes an internal autonomous clock that distinguishes the past (memory), the present (life), and the future (anticipation based on the reproducible model), so the modeling, logic and digital information growth become possible within the system (Rosen, 1985). The hypercycle having own embedded description, becomes a structure that realizes computation in accordance with its internal logic defined by the embedded description. The latter has the property of incompleteness which is reflected in the fact that quantum correlations of the states of the system are associated with undecidable logic theories, i.e., they can potentially generate the statements not defined within the system. The undecidability can be interpreted in the sense similar to the Gödel’s incompleteness theorem, meaning that there exist propositions, expressible in the formal logic, which cannot be proven or disproven (Briegel et al., 2009). These propositions become the grounds of expansion of the system and its informational growth.
From the quantum mechanical point of view, the emergence of a new statement results in acquiring a new error-correction meaning to support the internal quantum state (IQS) (Igamberdiev, 2004, 2007). The IQS keeps the system organizationally invariant. It is supported by the set of error-correcting commands that aim to keep IQS free from external demolitions. The error-correction information becomes an important part of the whole informational field. A new statement makes the system more complex (it leads to an increase of its informational content), with its all spatiotemporal organizational invariance be rescaled. In the course of evolution, an available element of a formal system (similarly to a word when used as a metaphor) can acquire another (in addition to already existing) value that contributes to formation of a new level of organization in the system. The logical basis of this action is the incompleteness of the existing formal system that allows assigning arbitrary values to the statements non-provable within that system, while the physical basis is the quantum uncertainty arising in quantum measurement. A new statement can arise from existing elements by acquiring the double function, however, for fixation of this new statement via expansion of existing formal system, some informational redundancy of the system is needed, which can be achieved by multiplication of some of its elements.
Genome is a system which possesses an internal complementarity between the linear texts and their superposition. Relevantly to this, complementarity means that text and hypertext cannot be viewed at the same moment: they should be separated by a time interval. It is an example of uncertainty between the system and its embedding. Overlapping genes, alternatively splicing sequences, RNA and DNA editing, introns, and recombination according to molecular addresses are the features of this hypertext generating a potentially infinite number of language games. Genome as a complete language exists as a complementary set of its alternative combinations resulting in logical paradoxes which determine its temporal dynamics (Isalan, 2009). This superposition is a basis for ontogenesis, adaptation and evolution. Thus, the total “true” genome is a superposition of contradictory arrangements, which generate one single arrangement at a concrete moment of time. The pool of mobile genetic elements expands the combinatorial capacity of the genome by many times. An ambiguity in meaning is analogous to the quantum uncertainty principle in which it is impossible to define strictly the position and impulse of a particle simultaneously, or to fix certain energy in a very short period of time necessary for its registration.
The question of a minimal size of the autocatalytic self-reproducing system and its composition has been discussed in several works (Sharov, 2009; Steel et al., 2013). Self-reproduction itself is a creative process of placing text in text with following self-growing of this joint structure. Any evolutionary change also begins from the placing of “text into text”. This is possible because genome is structurally adapted for realization of such a non-trivial function. Moreover, even a point mutation or deletion may be considered as generative if it is placed in the repeated (e.g., diploid) structure. The doubling is a premise of metasystem transition, which includes duplication of the original system and the establishment of control over multiple copies (Turchin, 1977). The evolutionary significance of gene duplication was considered by Ohno (1970) as a premise of neofunctionalization. The advantage of sexual reproduction is in the casual combinatorial generating of new statements from two separate texts that can acquire meanings, thus it resists evolutionary degradation. It becomes a prerequisite for growing of information and complexity (Igamberdiev, 2014). The combinatorial interaction of heterochronic texts generates a new system in which the internal time is rescaled in a new way that generally cannot be forecasted. The heterochronic duplication (via hybridization of temporally different organisms) generates more possibilities for the metasystem transition. Thus, the incompleteness of embedded set of symbols is the formal cause of evolution. The physical representation of this incompleteness is a quantum uncertainty in the course of measurement (Matsuno, 1992). It spans from the level of elementary particles to biological evolution and to the phenomenon of free will and consciousness.
Growth of Information in the Expanding Universe
The growth of information that we discuss here mainly in relation to biological evolution is relevant also to the physical space-time scales. The self-growing principle of quantum measurement has a property of intrinsic expansion of the informational field. The relationship between observable nature and a hidden “potential” nature is modeled, according to Kineman (2010), as an imaginary space-time domain geometrically represented as radial “Minkowski-space”. Despite of the fact that local space and time are normally represented as real numbers, the general relationship in this geometry is hyperbolic in accordance with the special theory of relativity. When mapped as a radial geometry, the space-time is seen to be intrinsically dynamic (expanding) and self-similar across all scales. The geometry has the properties of early and present acceleration. This representation eliminates the “light cone” and thus all regions in this model are the domains of existence and are observable over time. Nevertheless a domain of general, non-local reality is represented in the imaginary axes that exist simultaneously with measurable, local domains.
The Universe in the concept of Kineman (2010) consists of the units called “holons”, which vaguely correspond to Leibniz’s monads. They possess simultaneous properties of location and non-location, as a point of non-differentiated whole appearing in a subject-object relation. The Everett’s interpretation of quantum mechanics works in these isolated domains but not between the domains, the same idea has been suggested by Matsuno (2012) for the individual biological systems taken as separate domains. The reality of superposition of the wave function is limited by the single monad and does not expand outside it, and in this sense monads do not have windows as originally proposed by Leibniz.
The growth of information is the basic property of evolving systems and it follows from the interaction between non-local and local domains in the course of internal quantum measurements. The internal measurement leads to an iterative recursive process which appears as evolution of the combined system containing the measuring device and the measured object. The system through measurement acquires the property of expansion, which is seen in biological evolution, social development, and at cosmic scales as expansion of the Universe.
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The research approach to space-time in western tradition is more of a metaphysical way, which is attached to explore the nature of space-time. The representative school of the study of experience of space-time in modern is phenomenology. In ancient china, the issue of space-time is always related to the “Between heaven and man”, which is one of the most basic problem of chinese philosophy.
Since ancient times, discussion on the issue of space-time is mainly focused on such aspects: What is the nature and attribute of the space-time? What is the relationship between space-time and material or it’s movement? What is the relationship between space-time and consiousness? And what is the relationship between space and time?
While, different from the ancient metaphysical research approach,the phenomenological reduction method was applied by Husserl to pursuing an original experience of space-time, which he called the “Intrinsic time consciousness”. In addition to, the other two representatives of phenomenology, Heidegger and merleau-ponty are also studied the problem of space-time.However, no matter husserl’s intrinsic time or Heidegger’s survival time or merleau-ponty’s embodied time, were all paid attention to only one aspect of the genesis and occurance of experience of space-time, and ignored the other aspects.
There are also lots of studies about the issue of space-time in chinese philosophy. From the pre-qin period to the end of the Han dynasty, from Wei-jin period to song dynasty and dynasties of ming and qing, a large number of philosophers had expounded the issue, including Lao-zi, Zhuang-zi, Mo-zi, Wang-bi, Zhu-xi, Zhang-zai, Fang-yizhi, Wang-fuzhi and so on ,they all have different understandings about space-time. The grasp to experience of space-time is more intuitive and fuzzy in chinese philosophy.
Based on the thinking of globalization, informatization, networking, as well as the current situation of human existence, The study found that all of these changes in a certain sense, is the change of space-time form of human existence, and at the same time, such a change is also points to the change of the whole human society. Therefore, the exploration to the most fundamental phenomenon that reflect the change of human society, namely space-time phenomenon, become particularly important.
Through the introduction of the concept of information, the study to the formation of experience of space-time should be dual dimensions. From the prospective of the process and mechanism of the occurrence of current congnition, individual present experience of space-time is emerges from interaction of various phenomena including physical phenomenon, information phenomenon,and phenomena of consciousness. From the perspective of historical genetic mechanisms of congnition, the emergence and development of human experience in space-time is accompanied by its own evolution of structural pattern of physical, mental and behavior. This kind of physiological, psychological, behavioral evolution is a holographic process.
This research project regards the generation of experience of space-time as a continuous and generative process, study with a comprehensive, multi-dimensional perspective rather than a single, one-dimensional perspective, which could deepen the study of temporal and spatial issues, at the same time, rethinking it’s impact on the way of human existence.
References and Notes
- WU Kun: Philosophy of information—Theory, system and method. The commercial press. 2005.
- Husserl, E. Zur Phanomenologie des inneren Zeitbewuβtseins [1893-1917]. Hsg. von R. Boehm, 1966.
- Heidegger, M. Being and Time. London: SCM Press LTD, 1962.
- Merleau-Ponty. Phenomenology of Perception. Routledge; 2nd Revised Edition [2002-05-03].
Fact judgment and value allocation are the two fundamental elements of contemporary public policy making, while knowledge, especially scientific and technological knowledge, is the basis of the former. In public policy making, the fact, which has multiple dimensions and is twinned with value, often arouses several different knowledge claims; however, only the ‘public knowledge’ should be taken as the fundaments of fact judgment in a rational public policy making [1-3]. As multiply consensual understandings of public decision relevant fact, public knowledge is scientifically rational, communally owned and politically legitimate . Public knowledge, through the procedures of proposing, arguing, merging and legitimating, public knowledge is also the outcome of gaming among multiple social actors with certain ways of knowing and inclinations of value . Therefore, it is a showing of knowledge democracy.
Knowledge democracy requires all the actors in a policy making have equal right to access, transmit, and use the relevant information of all the factors in the policy topic for proposing and arguing a knowledge claim. As the representation of the nature and existing state of a matter, information is the same to everyone, who is accessing, transmitting, and using it. Therefore, democracy is the natural requirement of information. To eliminate the technical and social privilege in the information acquisition, dissemination and utilization by perfect political system, is a guarantee of promoting knowledge democracy.
The production of public knowledge is a kind of social behavior highly institutionalized and organized, and has formed system in each functional society with respective characteristics. The Basis for the production of public knowledge is called by some scholars ‘the civic epistemology’. There are five factors shaping the democracy in the public knowledge production at least. They are the followings:
(1) The actors and their roles. Producers of public knowledge is not limited to natural and social scientists and technical experts, humanity scholars, businessmen, media workers, government officials and the ordinary citizens may become participants, played a variety of roles. Among them, the government officials play the core role, as the main demander and producer of public knowledge, and event organizer and arbiter of legitimacy of the public knowledge. Other actors could influence government officials’ decisions.
(2) The production process. Public knowledge production generally includes the following four basic stages: identifying knowledge needs, expressing knowledge claims, arguing and legitimating. Public knowledge production process and public decision-making process are closely intertwined. Knowledge needs are put forward in the public policy agenda-setting stage. Expressing knowledge claims takes place in the stage of programme development. Arguing of different claims is in decision-making stage. Actors exchange their ideas, defend their claims by debating others. As most of the actors reached a certain degree of consensus, public authority decides which knowledge claim is needed as the intellectual basis for decision-making, the decision process is advocated legalization of public knowledge.
(3) The production space. Being different from scientific and technological knowledge, which is produced within the scientific community, public knowledge is produced in the wider public domain. These public areas include a formal political space provided by the system, such as Parliament, the courts and administrative bodies, as well as squares, streets, citizens’ forum and other places for spontaneous public expression of knowledge. Public media and virtual network are very important platforms for public knowledge production.
(4) The production organization. Public knowledge production is a highly organized social activity. The organizations involved in the production and their organizational level are various. Governments, universities, research institutions, industrial organizations, civic societies and the public media are main organization types. Any one of the organizations takes its own part and cooperates with others in the public knowledge production. Usually the government plays the core role, others should focus their parts on the government.
(5) The public accountability. Accountability is united with authority, based on the logic of the corresponding responsibility must be held by power. As long as there is some kind of power accident, someone must take responsibility. Public knowledge production is a side of public policy making, a kind of political activity. If any technical mistake due to wrong fact judgment occurs, someone of the actors must bear the responsibility, because they hold the power in the public knowledge production. The accountability system of public knowledge production is similar to the accountability system of public administration. Government officials exercise the main public power, so there is no doubt that they must bear the responsibility, including moral responsibility, political responsibility, administrative responsibility and legal liability. Besides the government officials, the other actors, especially the knowledge experts shall assume the responsibilities also, whether how to hold them accountable, there is still considerable controversy, pending further study.
Information about the above five factors must be open to every actor in the public knowledge production, without any privilege and limit, so as to improve the knowledge democracy.
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Through the study of the relationship between the evolution of architectural styles and that of the science, this dissertation discovered that, by the way of modifying architects' view of the world and then their "artistic volition" based on their view of the world, the science could have an effect on the styles of architecture resulted from their "artistic volition". This may be a historic rule of the evaluations of architecture: new science leads to new architecture. Today the science is on the way of changing itself from linear to nonlinear, which means that some complex phenomenon that was invisible to the science comes into its view now, and consequently, people's view of the world become to change. Accordingly, nonlinear architecture, a kind of new architecture, is seemly suggested the new science, nonlinear science. Currently, works by the avant-courier architects are verifying the rule. The new architecture is booming.
Overview of the key problem or question:
- What is the basic connotation of applied non-linear science and theory? What is the theoretical basis of non-linear ideology and architectural development integration?
- What is the historical background of non-linear architectural initiation and the development status of self-organisation?
- What are the characteristics of non-linear involvement in the architectural creation process?
- What is the basis of non-linear architectural concept and content, Logistic form and aesthetic?
- What is the practical meaning of the non-linear theory in the increasingly sophisticated?
This paper focuses on the topic of architectural design throughout, exploring its unique characteristic as the existence and development in an independent and unbalanced system. First, under the systematic theory guideline, this paper discusses about repositioning the nature of architectural existence, systems exchanges and information and energy transmitting. Second, this paper analyses the genesis of architectural system structure and logic, searching for the typical mode and examples presents that they are not only the result of system optimization, but also they continue to promote the architectural system transforming into a more advanced and complex form. Last, the paper discusses about re-thinking the old aesthetics basics, overseeing the aesthetics in architectural system with technology, humanity and nature advancement via a broader view, to explore the new aesthetics value.
This paper follows the principle of combining theoretical discussion with case study, absorbing the care perspective and thoughts of non-linear theory, to replace and restore the architectural formal language, looking for the new opportunity and pattern in creating progress. This paper wishes to broad our mind and view, to inspire more creative and active architectural design in this fast changing world.
The topic of this paper is based on today's confusing situation in architectural space and its combined design, under the influence of various forms and value concepts, by attempting to combine scientific methodology and philosophy, to build a concept of non-linear architectural existence. From the complexity of the world point of view, actively reflect the cause and mechanism of the architectural initiation and development. By working on non-linear science openly and actively, re-examine the evolution of architectural system's self-organisation and creation diversely. And eventually place the architecture system in a universal world stage, discovering the development progression and aesthetic of its complexity, and make the creation of architectural design become broader. It gives us a new visage in the city and gets out of the predicament of monotony and vapidity of modern architectural creation .It is a kind of grope for thoughts and methods of architectural creation .Non-linear architecture is embodiment of the pursuing of diversification，the breaking up of routine，the challenging of fancy，the developing of methods，the embodiment of pluralism .They are very important to explore the practice of Non-linear architecture and to research the theories and methods of Non-linear architectural creation .
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The being concept has been the ultimate concept of Western philosophy. The famous philosopher in history are inevitably put forward their own understanding of the concept of the being. Philosophy of information as a new philosophy form in this era, the philosophy of information and information science should common progress. Information ontology of WuKun starts from partition of the existential field, this way for a new classification and interpretation of the existence fundamentally changed the scope and connotation of existence, the subsequent will change the scope and connotation of the existence.
1. Being concept and partition of the existential field in the Philosophy of information
The concept of being has been the ultimate concept of west philosophy. The development of information science and philosophy of information provides us with the new view of the being field constitution and the complexity of the way of understanding. First reality not equal to being, And objective things are not all reality. Objective unreality is the general terms of the content of the reaction (similar to reflect) between the objective things. So “objective unreality” has essential difference With the “objective reality” that logo being way of the material world. If the “objective reality” logo exist way of the material world. Then we can accordingly use indirect existence to logo exist way of the information world. To establish a new concept of existence: the world is unified on the basis of material, and material and information (direct existence and indirect existence) dual existence in the world.
2. The hierarchy of being
Discuss the problems of being and non-being have to from the being level classification. Accordance with the new classified methods of being, being areas are simply classified into three: direct being, objective indirect being and subjective being. If from the nature of subjective being is subjective information, we can subdivide the subjective being into for-itself information (the information intuitive grasp of subject) and regeneration information (the information create by subject thoughts). we can put the two categories called "subjective for-itself being" and "subjective regeneration being". We can be summarized as four level of being: A. Objective directly being, B. objective indirectly being, C. subjective for-itself being, D. subjective regeneration being. A complete object, in the case of subjective involvement should be has the four being layers.
3. Being and non-being
The being of pure should include the entities in the whole world, and non-being should be a pure emptiness. Parmenides mentioned "beings exist, non-being does not exist", " non-being is cannot be know", "non-being ", of course cannot be know, also can't speak. But when he proposed the word " non-being " can given a clear definition, that something no exist in this world. So at least " non-being " in the case of as a concept can be understood, can speak. Because in terms of the concept of "nonbeing" is exists. Now that is "non-being", all of there is no difference between, also is not content, but it as the opposite of being is also can be recognized, even classification, but there is no content under the classification, the concept of the non-being classification of these categories is belong to the being category of information level.
Being is only a mobile node in the time axis, the timeline pass through and will pass through part all belongs to the non-being, of course all the other parts out of timeline are all belongs to the non-being. The real being is just a point on the timeline, and evolve with the moving of the timeline. being is endless changing over time, there is no eternal being. So non-being divided into three kinds: front nonbeing, rear non-being and absolute non-being.
Past time and being are all front non-being, of course, also including those passing possibilities of the being evolution. But some levels of the material being that was loss can be preserved, these may reserved due to some properties of the mutual conversion of being and non-being. While rear nonbeing that behind the being on the timeline are not a sure path, rear non-being should be a possibility space that has not yet launched, represents the all possible development of being. Being in the process of evolution will have a possibility space more than one line, this theory was first put forward by the self-organizing theory. The transformation of being and non-being also like this, the evolution direction of being is gegenwart being. Absolutely non-being is refers to the possibility that absolutely impossible on the timeline.
4. Several properties of the Exchange of being and non-being
The exchange of being and non-being have several properties:
As a reality concrete has three kinds of forms of activities, that is: the basic physiological activities, people's psychological activity and behavior activity, respectively specified nature and behavior, psychological physiological essence the essence of human 1. This paper want to apply the philosophy of information related to the principle of "to discuss the psychological pressure" concept, and compared with the traditional concept of psychology.
1、psychologist Hans Sayles (Han Selye) was the first to use the term "Stress (pressure)" people. Pressure (stress) is a foreign word, derived from the Latin "stringere", original intention is painful. Traditional psychology that stress is a kind of cognitive and behavioral psychological stressors and psychological stress reaction together constitute the process of experience. Now write the word is "Distress (the abbreviation of grief, poor)". "The tension, pressure, emphasize" and other means, the pressure is the process of experiencing a cognitive and behavioral psychological stressors and psychological stress reaction constitute.
The pressure source (stressor) refers to the factors that cause stress reaction, including biological stressor, mental pressure source, social environmental stressor. Biological stressors directly impede and destroy the survival and continuation of racial individual events, including trauma and disease, hunger, deprivation, sleep deprivation, infection, noise, temperature change etc.. Internal and external event source pressure spirit directly impede and destroy individual normal mental needs, including cognitive structure of the error, the individual adverse experience, moral conflict as well as the long-term life experience the characteristics of the adverse psychological personality caused (suggestible, suspicious, jealous, responsibility, regret, resentment and etc.). Social stressors directly impede and destruction of individual social demand events, including pure social nature (great social change and important interpersonal relationship rupture) and interpersonal problems caused by their own conditions (such as poor social interaction). The pressure source causes psychological problems is the most comprehensive, must take the three pressure source as a whole to consider. Often behind biological or social pressure source, also hidden deep spiritual pressure source2.
2、Professor Wu Kun re division of existing in the field, the information is regarded as a kind of existence and not a method, proposed the world we face is a dual existence, our naked eye can see the material world in fact take another display of the material world multi gauge qualitative information world. All beings are unified body of direct and indirect existence, are not only the material body, is the body of information3. Three kinds of forms of activities will also include the human. These three kinds of forms of activities is one of the activities of a hologram element, the relationship between the holographic unity with the essential characteristics of them, made them all can be respectively used as a man is different from other animal. People's psychological activity refers to people's spiritual life activities in the field, is the subjective reflection of the relationship between man and nature itself, people and people, people, is also based on this reflection on creation, subjective freedom of information, independent of man's. It is a high-level, complex of external and objective information in vivo and identification, storage, processing, evaluation, selection of transformation of construction, and create the new subjective information4. Physiological activities, people's psychological activity, activity three is holographic, people's psychological activities include the creation of objective information and program information, and in the human mind, the objective of information is required to achieve this objective, the plan is to make information and objective information to as to the objective to achieve design, it also requires the implementation of. And the implementation of the realization of this objective, information planning information can only be accomplished by human behavior. It is this holographic properties lead to psychological pressure everywhere. For example, the physiological activities of pain, cold, hungry, and so lead to disorders, such disorders will inevitably lead to the destruction of healthy balance, and let the inside our nervous system showing "uncomfortable, not pleasure", resulting in psychological pressure. Break the failing the exam, work hard to complete, family financial burden is too heavy and so on social factors are more likely to make people feel the direct homeostasis, the so-called ambition.
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- Wu Kun. The existence of field segmentation. "Science, dialectics, modern" 1986 second.
- Wu Kun. Information philosophy. Beijing: the Commercial Press, 2005.
In information age the “information+ism” is a necessary result of word formation, and appear many relevant now words such as informationalism， informatism，informationism and informatilism, they have different meaning and are applied in the fields of sociology, philosophy, art and literature. In general, the “informationalism” comes from the information sociology, its appeal is a kind of social (historical) view of informationalism; “informatism” mainly comes from the art and poetry circles, with an advocating of information art expression; “informationism” and “infornatilism” comes mainly from the philosophy, and they pursuit of an information world outlook. Due to the complicated implication of “information+ism”, we need to perform specific investigation to clarify the different meaning of them, and then find which doctrine is acceptable or unacceptable especially from philosophy.
2. Four words about information+ism
From print publications and cyber source we can find at least four words about “information+ism”: informationalism， informatism，informationism and informatilism. They are formed and popular in different subject areas and show the complexity of information doctrine.
1. Informationalism as a sociological concept was proposed most early by the Canadian scholar David Lyon (D. Lyon, 1988) and USA scholar Maunel Castells(M. Castells, 1996). In his Information Society published in 1988，David Lyon took the informationalism as a similar theory with the post- industrialism, and use it to describe the emergence of a new social structure. He said that we take the “informationalism” to understand the technological and social organization of production and management, among them the application of new information technology constitutes the intellectual potential and the productivity based by information. In this view, the development and diffusion of information technology lead to the changes of social community structure pattern.
This meaning of informationalism was inherited and expanded the influence by Castells. Since 1990’s he published his Information Ages Trilogy (The rise of the network society, The end of Millennium and The Power of Identity ) and constantly used the concept of informationalism to describe the paradigm of the new technology with the information technology as its foundation and the network technology as its core. He think it is speeding up remodeling the material basis of society, and has exerted a profound and significant influence to the economy, politics and culture of contemporary society and the whole social life as well as the corresponding system, and also led to the change of social structure, therefore it was regarded as “the historical most decisive factors of the whole world”.( Manuel Castells, 1996)
For Castells the informationalism is a new technological paradigm, which emphasized the overall impact of information technology on society and its fundamental role for changing the age, and reflected a proposition of "information technology determinism", so it also can be called as “informationizationism”. In this field its synonyms are information age，network society and so on ,and its Contrast word is industrialism.
As you can see, Castells’ "information" in the "informationalism" is the short term of "information technology", and even referred to "modern information technology". Therefore, the informationalism on this context is essentially the "information technology doctrine ", more precisely the "modern information technology doctrine ", and even can be said to be "the doctrine of the network", its expression is the decisive influence of information technology such as computer and network to contemporary society. In a sense, it also is an effort to seek the technology roots of the changes in contemporary society, So the term "informationalism" is properly expressed his Worship on information technology in the view of social development, and then he took it as a perspective to puts forward the concept of "informational capitalism", also in China some scholars proposed the "informational socialism" and "information of communism". Because of this "first application" for “informationalism”, which makes it became the proper noun referencing the theory of Castells, or synonymous with "information society" or “informationization”.
In a recent paper Zhou Liqian and Søren Brier (Zhou Liqian and Søren Brier, 2015) use “Pan- informationalism” to reference the philosophical proposition, especially classify the view of Wu Kun to this camp, which marks the meaning of “informationalism” going beyond the sociology and expanding to philosophy field.
2. Informatism appeared earlier than informationalism, it is with complicated usage at least in three disciplines: art and literature, politics and philosophy.
(1) The informatism from art and literature (first from the 1970’ art) is a kind of ways for art expression. The Wikipedia describes it as information art, data art or electronic art, which is a form of art that makes use of electronic media and it synthesizes computer science, information technology, and more classical forms of art, including performance art, visual art, new media art and conceptual art, it often includes interaction with computers that generate artistic content based on the processing of large amounts of data. Information art data can be manifested using photographs, census data, micropayments, personal profiles and expressions, video clips, search engine results, digital painting, network signals, and prose. In China the dominant usage of informatism is to reference a new school of poetry: the network poetry（or informatism poetry）, Some network poets named their style and characteristics of poetry as "informatism", and then they created a web site for http://informatism.org.，it born in 1993 or 1994 and becomes very active 10 years later in early 21st century, so it also is called contemporary art movement mainly in poetry.
Informatism poetry explained the general relationship between poetry and information. In the new age, information goes into our spirit, into our poetry entity, our poetry environment full of omnipresent information, and our poetry are always surrounded by information, the whole meaning of information movement subsumes the spirit phenomenon of poetry. Our practice of poetry creation can be understood as information movement reducing to the native state of the process of poetry, we even can’t confirm thoroughly the reliability of the information source in the process of poetry creation. The informational transmission, feedback, alienation and exhaustion form of unlimited survival practice, and poetry can be saw as the aesthetic simulation of this kind of process. (Shi Yang)
(2) The informatism from politics is used as “bureaucratic informatism”. David T. Johnson defined it as the bureaucracy has the information, but other people do not have. As a privilege, the right to information becomes a confidential legal system, forms the social divide between people, and also becomes the means for "elites" to keep control of social conflict and changes.
(3) The informatism from philosophy is mainly in the phrase “dialectical informatism” (DIAINF). Rafael Capurro thinks Wolfgang Hofkirchner’s method as “dialectical informatism” —a deferent new version of dialectical materialism(DIAMAT) when Wolfgang takes an evolutionary perspective to see information as a feature of emergence and goes back to the etymological roots (information as "giving form") in his establishment of a unified information theory. (Rafael Capurro)
Both the usage (2) and (3) are sporadic, and mainly the informatism express a general view of art doctrine, or a new idea and expression of literary and artistic creation.
3. Informationism has two usages, one is the term first used by Richard Price in 1991 in the magazine Interference to describe common trends in the work of a group of Scottish poets. Their work was later collected in the anthology Contraflow on the Super Highway (1994). Inside it there is an introduction: Approaching the Informationists.
Another one is considered as a new philosophical trend, it is the focal point in this paper and will be introduced soon afterwards.
4. Informatilism is a word used only by a Chinese scholar Shen Xinxi(沈新曦) and only take it as a philosophy category. In Shen Xinxi's view, information includes two kinds: "original information" and “derived information”. In its own deductive history the “original information" shows as rule, relation, structure of N order’s（0≤N≤7） things of universe including the derived information since C．E．Shannon. (Shen Xinxi, 2007)
3. Multiple dimensions of philosophical informationism
From above we can see that all four words (informationalism, informatism, informationism and informatilism) have the philosophical meaning. Due to the informationism is used by more scholars in philosophy circle, so we can mainly take it as a philosophical theory.
Based on the research in China as I know, there are multiple dimensions for philosophical informationism:
1. Axiological informationism views that information (resource) is more important than material (resource)，it is a prevalent values while the information age is coming, and it also becomes the dominant ideology of contemporary economic philosophy, political philosophy and so on. But it is not involved in the ontological issue such as whether or not the information is dependent on the matter.
2. Epistemological informationism claims that information decide the matter, or information guide material items, this is actually another way of saying concept guiding artificial object, or man’s intent leading the creation (building). The information here indicates knowledge, idea, purpose, and so on.
3. Ontological informationism is the most important philosophical informationism. In China the ontological informationism match a kind of definitions of “information”, which is based on the disciplines tripartite division into material, energy and information and take them as three major elements of the world(also from Wiener’s “information was neither a matter, nor energy, and information was the information”). If a philosophical point of view take one of them as the most basic elements, which can be respectively formed the "materialism", " energetism" and "informationism". Miao Dong-sheng, a Chinese scholar, uses explicitly the "only-informationism" to sum up physicist Wheeler’s point of view. John Archibald Wheeler divided his life in physics research and the evolution of world view into three periods: the first period he believed everything is particle, the second the field, and the third the information. In the third perspective, one will think the information is the only reality, or more real than material; the material is the derivative item of information, there is information first in the world , and then the material. Due to above Professor Miao thinks that " Wheeler is advocating an ontology of informational monism, so it should be called only-informationism. There have been idealism and materialism in the human cognitive history, and now there is another ontology : only-informationism .” (Miao, 2008)
Wheeler’s famous point is “It from bit” and “Everything is information”. In his view the information is not only an independent existence that differed from matter and mind, but also the most basic existence, because whole universe was initiated from information, it is why we call informationism not materialism. In China there also are some similar viewpoints, such as “information is the fundamental factor of the universe”, “The material is an aggregate of information”(Wang Jiang-huo), “Information generate world, the universe is a deductive process of information”(Shen Xin-xi), and so on.
We can call the ontology informationism as "strong informationism" or “radical informationism”, and the others as "weak informationism" or “mild informationism”.
4. How to evaluate the philosophical informationism?
Which kind of philosophical informationism can we accept?
Axiological and epistemological informationism is certainly acceptable, and ontological informationism is difficult to be accepted.
“Ontology” is a very complex concept, if it is interpreted as the theory of the essence of “being” or the foundation of the world (what initiates another one between physical and mental phenomena), then the ontological doctrine can be differentiated into materialism and idealism, so we will face the problems of relationship between informationism with materialism and idealism.
Some axiological and epistemological informationists are not ontological informationists even if they claim the existence of ontology information. The key problem is how to understand the relationship between the information and material. If one asserts that information is a property of matter and its existence depends on the material, then we can say that his assertion of informationism is a new form of materialism but not an ontological informationism. If one asserts that information belongs to mental phenomenon similar to news, message (telling something to somebody), knowledge, data and further think such information can’t rely on the material, we should classified it as a new form of idealism. If one asserts that information is a “third” phenomenon beyond both material and mental phenomenon, then it is also beyond materialism and idealism and belongs to the “third form” of ontology theory.
So far there are three different ontological positions about infromationism can be found: The first one thinks of it as a new form of materialism (Rafael Capurro , maybe including Wu Kun); The second one takes it as a new form of idealism (Miao Dongsheng thinks Wheeler’s opinion); The third one asserts that it is beyond materialism and idealism and belongs to the third form of ontology theory (Shen Xinxi). The first one is not but the second and third ones are access to the ontological informationism.
The difficulty of ontological informationism is how to understand the information without the material carrier, or how bare-information
“bare-information” can existence? If there is no reasonable explanation for how information initially produces material, we should think the ontological informationism is unreasonable. bare-information
How to understand information philosophically decided how to evaluate ontological informationism for us. In my opinion, because the information is not equal to the material or any physical items, so the ontological informationism as a form of materialism is not reasonable. And due to the existence of information is inseparable not only from material but also from person's consciousness, namely the information is not the third being beyond the physical and mental phenomena, so the ontological informationism as third kinds of ontological doctrine transcending materialism and idealism is also untenable.
Furthermore, how to understand information philosophically is determined by ho to understand philosophy. When Claude Shannon and Warren Weaver develop their mathematical theory of communication, they intend to eliminate the "psychological factors" involved in the concept of information, in order to establish a "measure of information in terms of purely physical quantities." (C. E. Shannon and W. Weaver, 1949) They intend to forget the specific common meaning of information, i.e., the semantic and pragmatic levels of the concept.( Rafael Capurro) Philosophy is different from science. If we see philosophy as the studies of the relation between Men and world (so philosophy is not a research only about matter or only about Man, but about Man-matter), then the information as a philosophical concept should be understood involving human being rather than a phenomenon unrelated to people, i.e. it indicates a major human characteristic and so there is no “nature information”, all information is “human information”. More immediately, information can be regarded as the virtual form of material reality, it belongs to the mental world —— a mental phenomenon emphasizing communication and semantic function. With this understanding of information and philosophy, we can say that the ontological informationism is a new form of idealism. If you are a materialist, you certainly will not agree with it.
References and Notes
- David Lyon , The information society. Issues and illusions,Cambridge, Polity Press, 1988.
- Manuel Castells, The Rise of the Network Society，Blackwell Publishing Ltd. 1996.
- From Wikipedia, Information art, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Information_art.
- Shi Yang, Informatism，http://shiyang.net/?cat=6.
- John A. Wheeler, At Home in the Universe, New York, Spring-Verlag Inc., 1996.
- Rafael Capurro, etc., Is a Unified Theory of Information Feasible? http://www.capurro.de/trialog.htm.
- Richard Price, Informationism, http://www.hydrohotel.net/informationist1.htm.
- Miao Dongsheng: A review of Wheeler's information view, Journal of Huazhong University of Science and Technology (Social Science Edition), Wuhan, China, 2008(2).
- Wu Kun, Philosophy of information, The Commercial Press, Beijing, 2005.
- Shen Xinxi, informatilism, Cozy House Publisher, New York, 2007.
- Wang Jiang-huo, Unified theory of information, China University of Political Science and Law Press, Beijing, 2012.
- Zhou Liqian and Søren Brier, Is There a Philosophy of Information in Chinese Style? Philosophical Analysis, 2015,Vol 6. No.1
- E. Shannon and W. Weaver: The Mathematical Theory of Communication. Urbana, University of Illinois Press ,1949.
- Rafael Capurro,EPISTEMOLOGY AND INFORMATION SCIENCE, http://www.capurro.de/trita.htm
At the 4th International Conference on the Foundations of Information Science 5 years ago, Professor Wu Kun of the Xi’An Jiaotong University in Xi’An, China published the first compendium in English of his work on the science and philosophy of information . In particular, he indicated the central role of the Philosophy of Information (PI) and its impact on science and the Philosophy of Science (PS). This theory can now be usefully compared to the Philosophy of Information developed independently by Luciano Floridi in Europe .
At the 1st International Conference on the Philosophy of Information held in Xi’An in October, 2013, Wu presented further work on the mutual impact of the PI on science and philosophy, which he describes as the scientification of philosophy and the philosophization of science. His view is echoed by the Dutch logician Pieter Adriaans who also has observed the major impact of information on philosophy itself. You have heard Professor Wu’s presentation of his major themes in his opening talk for this 2nd International Conference on PI. I will refer to them briefly below.
2. Positioning the Philosophies of Science and Information
There are today several attitudes, negative as well as positive, that be taken toward the statement that the Philosophy of Information is the locus of a revolution in philosophy and science. I accept it as a challenge to give ontological status to the changes in philosophy and the Philosophy of Science that might result from the incorporation of concepts from Information Science. However, major revisions in what philosophy and some parts of science are and how they evolve may have to become accepted.
2.1 What is Science?
The impact of information on science, via the Information and Communications Technologies (ICTs), is a complex process in which ‘science’ should not be viewed as a single discipline, and any impact will depend on what sciences are involved. I characterize two aspects of science: 1) its rough segmentation along the lines of ‘hard’ and ‘soft’, experimental and conceptual; and 2) the relative independence of different scientific disciplines of both types. It is a statement within the Philosophy of Science and of Information that what links the process, the pattern and the content of the sciences, including that of information itself, is their informational characteristics.
The concept of scientific method is only one of those meaningful in the contemporary practice of science.
Computational methods can be and are applied routinely in all the sciences. In the human domain, it is the application of operative or organizational principles to an individual or social cognitive process to determine its dynamics, what ‘forces are at work’, that is essential for the determination of an informational commons.
2.2 What is Information?
Information is an entity or process, or set of entities and processes, that is unique in both science and philosophy. It requires acceptance as a concept that cannot be defined as an identity, but only as a dynamic interactive dualism of matter-energy (ontological properties) and meaning (epistemological properties). Cognitive processes, as well as their corresponding analyses and theories, instantiate similar dualities, of which the prime example is that of self and other.
Information is somehow associated with or constitutive of existence, but it has proven notoriously difficult to define and characterize, due to its multiple duality: it has both physical and apparently non-physical components, both a real dynamic and algorithmic descriptions. I note that both science and philosophy involve the observation of regularities in nature which only differ in the degree of certainty to which can be ascribed to them. Greater rigor in philosophy does not come easily; however, the properties of information common to both science and philosophy can be used to reconcile the physical, scientific properties of information with its epistemological, philosophical characteristics as a carrier of meaning. Both a physics (science) and mutually consistent philosophy of information are required and that both the philosophy and science of information must inform one another.
Semiotics, the study of signs as categorizing linguistic entities and processes in the representation of meaning, has a position intermediate between the philosophy and science of information. It therefore has a role to play as a system of classification which complements the general things about the universe that we learn from some scientific facts about it. (The relation between Semiotics and Information Science will be discussed in detail at a separate Roundtable in this Conference stream).
Sören Brier argues  for a transdisciplinary framework where signs, meaning and interpretation are the foundational concepts within which information concepts have to function, and that C. S. Peirce’s concept of semiosis creates such a new paradigmatic transdisciplinary framework. This semiotic doctrine, however, can be criticized as giving a more central role to signs as representations of reality than to the dynamic properties of reality itself.
Standard semiotic theory is particularly concerned with explicating higher-order concepts such as meaning, sign use, representation, language, intersubjectivity, etc., along with their interrelations. Cognitive Semiotics, as developed by Jordan Zlatev and others brings in empirical research which can both contribute to their explication and, at the same time, produce new insights. Cognitive Semiotics is thus less dependent on any particular semiotic theory. Its language remains more that of phenomenology than science, but it can be developed together with the transdisciplinary theories outlined below.
4. The Convergence of Science and Philosophy
4.1 Transdisciplinarity. Some New Theories
In recent papers, Pedro Marijuan  has called for the transdisciplinary incorporation of insights from several sciences, an ‘intertwining’ of disciplines to enable further understanding of information and the foundations of information science. I argue that the Philosophy of Information can be included in this process as a consequence of the convergence of science and philosophy under the influence of information science, due to the properties of information itself.
From a philosophical perspective, what I consider the major recent advances in the philosophy of science, almost all are realist. Information processes are described as involving qualitative and quantitative changes in the amount and value of something irreducibly real in information.
Terrence Deacon [5, 6]: information as ‘absence’; from dynamics to teleodynamics; Luhn : the causal-computational theory of information; embedding of the individual human being in an informational reality with a dual structure; Hofkirchner : the re-ontologization involved in the different aspects of the informational revolution in progress; Brenner : an extension of logic to real phenomena (Logic in Reality; LIR) that allows inferences about the energetic-ontological properties of information rather than truth-conditions.
A trend or tendency, e.g., toward the greater acceptance of non-standard logic in science, is not something that can be proven in ‘hard’ science. Nevertheless, if it is stated rigorously, a dialogue may be possible between the proponents and deniers of the trend. It is a corollary of LIR that both realist and anti-realist positions will always exist.
4.2 Wu Kun and the Informational Turn
Wu Kun has clearly brought out the ontological impact of information on philosophy. In his recent papers, Wu Kun presents detailed arguments for a new perspective on philosophy and science and the changes which they are undergoing under the influence of the informational activities of the society. I indicate here five position statements that constitute the ‘backbone’ of Wu’s metaphilosophical theory :
Mind – Matter Dichotomy
With some notable exceptions, the bulk of philosophical doctrine is still based on the categorial separability of mind and matter. Despite advances in neurobiology and related sciences, the laws of reasoning and logic remain isolated from physical science, a part of semiotics as discussed above. Wu’s first contribution to the discussion is to show that the existence of information requires a resegmentation of the existential field, making the mind-matter dichotomy on which much current thinking is still based untenable.
The Science – Philosophy Dichotomy
The concomitant acceptance of the philosophical duality of information and the recognition of its physical duality abrogate any absolute separation between science and philosophy. This principle, within the Philosophy of Information (PI), is becoming applicable to science and consequently the Philosophy of Science (PS), as well as philosophy itself.
The Position of Information in Reality. Properties
Any complex real entity, e.g., a person, can be considered as constituted by the totality of the informational processes, past, present and potential in which he is involved. The intermediate stages which bridge the gap between external and internal reality are all informational. This approach is consistent with Deacon’s approach to the hierarchy of dynamics and second-order constraints necessary for the emergence of life.
Implications for the Information Society
Wu sees the multi-dimensional informational structures and processes in the society as reducing domination by central governmental control. They thus support an increase in principle in democracy, including information as a commons. Further work is needed, however, to determine if there is a direct correlation between the operative principles of Wu’s Philosophy of Information and the political change necessary to implement them.
The Informational Turn
As a discipline, Information Science has a unity by virtue of its spanning human knowledge from philosophy to science and engineering, with both vertical and horizontal relations between its component sub-disciplines. The further integration of Information Science and the Philosophy of Information implies a major Informational Turn in the current practice of both science and philosophy.
5. Conclusion and Outlook
In this paper, I have suggested that the unique dualism of information has ipso facto major implications for science and philosophy as a new form cognitive object that tends toward their mutual integration. In the conception of Wu Kun, this perspective of the ‘scientification of philosophy’ and the ‘philosophization of science’ is not intended to eliminate the specificity of both disciplines nor their individual development at a theoretical level, but requires the acceptance of the non- separability of certain kinds of science and philosophy. The consequence may be an improved understanding the ethical and social level of a more logical approach, in the sense of relation to reality, to eventual resolution of on-going conflicts in the information society.
An urgent task, then, is to find new ways of correlating and organizing the insights obtained from the corresponding different perspectives, directed not toward some impossible unity but a new functional form of knowledge. The output of this Summit should be exemplary in combining method and content to begin to fulfill the promise of information.
- Wu, K. 2010. The Basic Theory of the Philosophy of Information. Paper, 4th International Conference on the Foundations of Information Science, August, Beijing.
- Floridi, L. 2010. The Philosophy of Information. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
- Brier, S. Cybersemiotics: Why Information is not Enough; University of Toronto Press: Toronto, Canada, 2008
- Marijuan, P.C. The Uprising of the Informational: A New Way of Thinking in InformationScience. Presented at 1st International Conference in China on the Philosophy of Information, Xi’an, China, 18 October 2013.
- Brenner, J.E. 2012. The Logical Dynamics of Information; Deacon’s “Incomplete Nature”. Information 2012, 3, 676-714
- Deacon, T. W. 2012. Incomplete Nature. How Mind Evolved from Matter. New York: W. W. Norton & Co.
- Luhn, G. The Causal-Compositional Concept of Information Part I. Elementary Theory: From Decompositional Physics to Compositional Information. Information 2012, 3, 151-174
- Hofkirchner, W. Emergent Information: A Unified Theory of Information Framework; World Scientific: Singapore, Singapore, 2013.
- Brenner, J. E. 2013. Information: A Personal Synthesis. Information 2014, 5, 134-170.
- Wu, K. 2013. The Development of Philosophy and its Fundamental Turn. Presented at 1stInternational Conference in China on the Philosophy of Information, Xi’an, China, 18 October 2013. (Originally published in Journal of Humanity 5:1-6).
- Wu, K. and Brenner, J. E. 2014. The Informational Stance: Philosophy and Logic. Part II From Physics to Society. Logic and Logical Philosophy 23: 81–108.
Noted physicist Sir Arthur Stanley Eddington’s famous argument states reasoning suffices entropy to be comparable with beauty and melody. Entropy is the level of disorder in a system and in information theory, it refers to the measurement of uncertainty. Significance of music originates from expected uncertainties of time and musical characteristics in consequent situation resulted from estimation and evaluation of musical inheritance method possibilities by antecedent situation.
With the developments of school songs in the first half of 20th century, musical notations, both stave and numerical score, quickly spread all over and gained popularity in China. Traditional musical notations of Chinese music, because they only record pitch and either roughly or do not reflect pace, were conceptualized to be obsolete. This is the very reason traditional Chinese musical notations were abandoned. However, a traditional Chinese musical book (纳书楹曲谱), translated as Nashu Studio Theatrical Music, writes 1 very detailed notation of pace is beneficial for beginners, however it restricts people with profound understanding of music and excellent performing techniques from developing their own performing characteristics. For instance, in upper Gong Chi of Gong Chi Score (工尺谱), a form of traditional Chinese musical notation, if three Yin translate to one Ban, there can be as many as over 5 possible combinations of pace and this allows flexibility for performers to recreate the music. Jian Zi Score (减字谱) of Gu Qin, a seven-stringed plucked instrument, indirectly records pitch and even detailed playing techniques but recording of pace is nowhere to be found in such score. Pace of these scores are determined by the playing technique of different schools of performers. The same ancient score, when played by different performers, shows distinct styles. The traditional Chinese inheritance method of oral instruction and rote memory also has many uncertainties. The background, life experience, personality, a aesthetic taste and mode of teachers and learners all contribute to forming different styles and characteristics during inheritance, creating uncertainties.
Significance and information are both associated with uncertainties through probability. In any communication of information, the lower probability of a subsequent event, the more uncertainties (and information) are contained in antecedent-consequent relationship. Information is the measurement of degree of freedom in message selection. The greater this degree of freedom and volume of information are, the more uncertain that message is. Thus, the chosen degree of freedom, uncertainty and volume of information are positively correlated. If information theory is applied to the discussion of significance of traditional Chinese music score inheritance, what conclusion will it lead us to?
The value of information itself is based on representation, expressing, externalization revealing objects and their characteristics and significance. This paper combines algorithm music2 and information theory and discusses the value and significance of traditional Chinese music scores and inheritance method of oral instruction and rote memory for the purpose of discovering new methods for traditional Chinese music inheritance..
References and Notes
- Original text: 板眼中另有小眼原为初学者而设，在善歌者自能生巧，若细细注明转觉束缚
- Algorithm music expresses music using algorithm instead of music notations. It is a more abstract visualization of music scores. Algorithm music records the internal structure of music. Style andcharacteristics of performers can be recorded and analyzed with probability computation using computers.
Science and philosophy parted their ways much earlier than it is usually considered. The sources of the divergence were in their foundations set in the works of Aristotle. His division of inquiry made the explicit double distinction between theoretical disciplines and “other disciplines”, and within the theoretical disciplines tripartite division into physics, mathematics and first philosophy (i.e. ontology). Even more important was the implicit distinction between what now we call epistemology and ontology. Every attempt to converge science and philosophy has to transcend the conceptual framework introduced by Aristotle reflecting those divisions. The concept of information defined by the author with the use of the categorical opposition of one and many satisfies this requirement. This new conceptual framework has application to scientific analysis and philosophical reflection. Moreover, language itself which is the means of inquiry can be considered a special instance of the use of the concept of information. Thus, we have the common conceptual framework for epistemology and ontology, for science and philosophy.
Science and Philosophy: The Origins of Divergence
There is a popular belief that the divergence of science and philosophy began recently, but more careful look at the intellectual history of Europe can trace this divorce much earlier. Thus, sometimes it is associated with the division into the Two Cultures denounced by P. C. Snow originally in 1956, sometimes with the period of popularity of Logical Positivism and its crusade against metaphysics, with the period of the Enlightenment, with the views of Francis Bacon revolting against philosophical tradition in his Novum Organum and his promotion of the inductive method, or with the much earlier distinction between philosophers and mere “mathematicians” whose only concern was “saving the appearances”.
It was mainly the influence of Aristotle and his philosophical views that, if not immediately, then inevitably led to the divergence. His views on the division of knowledge, which gave the priority to the theoretical sciences over “other sciences” and then divided the former into mathematics, physics and first philosophy (Aristotle, 1955: Metaphysics 1025b18-1026a31) contributed to the divorce, but they were not the most important. At least equally important was the less explicit, but equally fundamental division into the two aspects of inquiry expressed in the questions – “What do we know?” and “How do we know?”
The division was reflected later in the pair of parallel divisions in philosophy and science. In the former, it is now reflected into the two domains of philosophical reflection – ontology and epistemology. In science, we have the division into research outcomes (empirical data and scientific theories) and research methodology (inductive methods of proceeding from the data to scientific theories, deriving logical consequences of theoretical generalizations, and their empirical testing). Without any doubt, the division was of tremendous value for the progress of both philosophy and science in the next two millennia. But, the progress had its limits. In modern physics and biology the division into the two initial questions – “What do we know?” and “How do we know?” lost its original sense. For instance, relativity theories and quantum mechanics showed that the answer to the first question depends on the answer to the second. The presence of an observer (human or not) cannot be eliminated from the description of the observed.
These strategic, fundamental divisions organizing the streams of intellectual activity into parallel directions of development had their influence not so much through Aristotle’s declarations, but through the conceptual framework of his philosophy, which is present, sometimes in a hidden way or through an apparent negation in the entire later European intellectual tradition. It is this framework which has to be examined when we want to search for the methods for convergence of science and philosophy.
Problematic Relationship of Science and Philosophy
Since the main objective of this paper is to explore the potential role of the studies of information in reuniting science and philosophy, it is necessary to examine the points where science, especially science in Newtonian and post-Newtonian paradigm (i.e. with the adaptations to Relativity, Quantum Theory, etc.), is in a problematic relationship with philosophy. Some of these problems were already mentioned above, but there are other equally important ones which require examination. The influence of Aristotelian concepts of the four causes and of generation on the way of thinking had its constructive role in the early development of biology, but only to the point when the theory of evolution entered.
This original conceptual framework became even more problematic with the development of genetics and the studies of metabolism bringing back the old question “What is life?” Ironically, the answer given by Aristotle referring to “self-generation”, i.e. natural generation, change with the internal source, as opposed to artificial generation (Aristotle 1955: Metaphysics 1032a12-1034a8), may seem at first as identical with the answer given by Maturana and Varela when they introduced the concept of autopoiesis, literally self-creation (Maturana & Varela 1980). But, while the terms are basically identical, the actual philosophical meaning of them is fundamentally different.
The examination of the concepts which have been carrying Aristotelian conceptual framework through the millennia and contributing in the past to the progress of inquiry, but reached the point where their role became questionable can help to justify our search for reunification or at least realignment of science and philosophy, and at the same time we can identify the problems, which can be solved with the help of the new conceptual framework of information studies.
Conceptual Framework for Information
Thus far there was only reference to information studies without any clarification of their scientific or philosophical status. Here is the key point of the paper. If information studies are supposed to become the point of convergence for science and philosophy, they have to assume the dual role of both. To overcome the divisive tendencies in the comprehension of reality based on the intellectual tradition inherited from the Classical Antiquity, it is necessary to reach to the point beyond the origins of the present conceptualization in philosophy and in science. In order to be a bridge between science and philosophy, the concept of information cannot belong to only one of the separated sides. This is the reason why information, to assume this role cannot be defined in the terms of any specific scientific theory or any specific philosophical system. Of course, we have to prevent trivialization of this concept by reducing it to a common sense expression which through the lack of precision and rigor allows arbitrary interpretations satisfying uncritical intuitive feeling of understanding.
There is a legitimate question whether the task of finding concepts defining information transcending scientific theories, philosophical systems, and escaping triviality of the common sense is possible. The author believes that it is possible and as a justification of his belief gives an example of own definition of information defined and elaborated in earlier publications (Schroeder 2005, 2009, 2011a).
The definition is referring to the categorical opposition of one and many. Categorical are concepts or relations which are most general and which by this reason cannot be defined by any more general genus. They are undefinable. The opposition of one and many belongs to categorical relations (or dual categories) in every European philosophical system, which was mature enough to specify its conceptual limits, from the Pythagoreans, through the Platonism, Aristotelean philosophy, Epicureanism, Neo-Platonism, Scholastic philosophy, to the philosophy of Kant and modern philosophical systems. Of course, it was in the center of attention of the philosophy of mathematics, especially of the set theory at the time of its formation (Schroeder 2005).
There is another aspect of the universality of the one-many relation. It can be found as a central theme of Eastern philosophy in particular in the discussions of the relation between Atman and Brahman in the ancient philosophical schools of Hinduism and Buddhism (James, 1967). The relation between one and many could be described and understood not necessarily as an actual opposition, in Buddhism and Taoism for instance the opposition is considered illusionary. However, the question about its status and understanding is the most fundamental of all questions in every school of thought, and the answer to this question is frequently considered the defining statement of the school.
Thus, when we are using the opposition of one and many as the only concept defining information, we are safely beyond any point of divergence in the conceptualization of reality, and for sure beyond any division into science and philosophy. The cross-cultural universality makes this one-many relation not only universal for human intellectual activity, but also a necessary condition for the comprehension of reality. We can observe the presence of this opposition in languages of the tribes whose cultures remained unchanged for thousands of years, which lack words for numbers beyond one and two, but which have a clear recognition of the opposition of the words of one and of many.
Some philosophical systems have multiple categorical concepts and the one-many relation is not always considered the most-fundamental. Kant for instance gave special role to the categorical concept of time. However, the present author believes that the other categories can be eliminated by defining them with the use of the relationship of one and many. For instance, time can be conceptualized in terms of the multiplicity derived from the change. There is no time, if there is no change. Change requires differences, and differences require some multiplicity to be differentiated. Gregory Bateson observed that “it takes at least two somethings to create a difference” (his fundamental concept defining information as “any difference that makes a difference”), we have to have at least two of something (Bateson 1988: 72). The multiplicity is called usually moments of time, but we can disregard at this point this terminology. On the other hand, time requires unity, as an arrangement of this multiplicity. The arrangement is in the standard conceptualization of time a linear order, and therefore we are making a choice of one of several possible ways the unity is achieved.
Concept of Information
Information as defined by the author as identification of the multiplicity, i.e. anything that makes one out of, or of the many. One out of the many is a selection of one element out of many, which can be called a selective manifestation of information. Making one of the many is giving the many a binding structure, which can be called a structural manifestation of information. It can be shown that these two manifestations are always coexistent, but for different multiplicities, or as they were called by the author for different information carriers. The degree of the determination of selection (for instance in terms of probability distribution and the value of entropy for this distribution) can be used as a quantitative characteristic of information when we focus on the selective manifestation. The degree in which the structure can be decomposed into a product of components describes the level of integration of information (Schroeder 2009). Both manifestations can be given one mathematical formalism, which due to the high level of abstraction of the concept of information is developed in terms of set theory and general algebra (general closure operators or closure spaces) (Schroeder 2011b).
With the tool of a general concept of information, we can proceed to the analysis of concepts which create problems in aligning science and philosophy, such as concepts of a physical system (isolated or open), the state of such system, inertial reference frame, etc. It may be a surprise that even if they have correlates in the scientific formalism (in the example of a state of the physical system, a point in the phase space or a vector in the appropriate Hilbert space), they are not clearly defined as general concepts.
Why should we believe that the concept of information, no matter how general and inclusive, when defined as above with the use of the categorical relation transcending the original sources of the division between science and philosophy can help in their convergence? What makes us believe that it will be the point of convergence, not the vanishing point of the parallels?
The author’s answer is that the concept of information has an exceptional status. Recent development of science shows that information (defined as above or in a more narrow way) can be used as a fundamental concept which can replace the traditional concepts of ontology such as matter, substance, cause, etc. But, at the same time the inquiry of reality is carried out with the use of language, or languages, if we consider the distinction between natural languages and formal languages of mathematical or logical formalizations. Thus, in the past, the precipice between epistemology which had as its universe linguistic conceptual framework of inquiry within the mental realm (“mind”), and ontology whose interest was in entities of the “physical” realm of objective reality (“body”), was impassable. The concept of information can be applied in both realms equally well. We can develop generalized logic of information with its special instance applicable to the traditional logic (Schroeder 2012), or we can think about information in the scientific terms of its dynamics, for instance to describe the process of computation (Schroeder 2013a, 2013b).
References and Notes
Aristotle, (1955). Metaphysics. In Ross, W. D. (ed.) Aristotle: Selections. Charles Scribner’s Sons, New York.
Bateson, G. (1988). Mind and Nature: A Necessary Unity. Toronto: Bantam Books.
James, W. (1967). “The One and the Many.” In McDermott J. J. (ed.)The Writings of William James: A Comprehensive Edition. New York: Random House, 1967, pp. 258-270.
Maturana, H. R. & Varela, F. J. (1980). Autopoiesis and Cognition: The Realization of the Living. Boston Studies in the Philosophy of Science, vol. 42, Dordrecht: D. Reidel.
Schroeder, M.J., (2005). Philosophical Foundations for the Concept of Information: Selective and Structural Information. In: Proceedings of the Third International Conference on the Foundations of Information Science, Paris 2005, http://www.mdpi.org/fis2005
Schroeder, M.J., (2009). Quantum Coherence without Quantum Mechanics in Modeling the Unity of Consciousness, in: Bruza, P. et al. (Eds.) QI 2009, LNAI 5494, Berlin: Springer, pp. 97-112.
Schroeder, M. J., (2011a). Concept of Information as a Bridge between Mind and Brain. Information, 2 (3), 478-509.
Schroeder, M.J. (2011b). From Philosophy to Theory of Information. Intl. J. Information Theor. and Appl., 18 (1), 56-68.
Schroeder, M. J. (2012). Search for Syllogistic Structure of Semantic Information. J. Appl. Non Classical Logic, 22, 83-103.
Schroeder, M. J., (2013a). Dualism of Selective and Structural Manifestations of Information in Modelling of Information Dynamics. In G. Dodig-Crnkovic and R. Giovagnoli (Eds.): Computing Nature, SAPERE 7, Berlin: Springer, pp. 125-137.
Schroeder, M. J. (2013b). From Proactive to Interactive Theory of Computation. In: M. Bishop and Y. J. Erden (Eds.) The 6th AISB Symposium on Computing and Philosophy: The Scandal of Computation – What is Computation? The Society for the Study of Artificial Intelligence and the Simulation of Behaviour (pp. 47-51).
1. The Informational Turn of Contemporary Science and Philosophy
As the science and philosophy of information develop, the specific character of information becomes more and more clear. From the point of view of science, information as well as matter and energy are now regarded as the three essential elements constituting the world, bringing about a fundamental transformation of our worldview and way of thinking.
Generally speaking, the Philosophy of Being, as well as the theory of the compartmentalization of the extant domain is the major paradigm of philosophy and makes up the core of philosophical metatheory. Following tradition, we can reasonably summarize ''the existential = the material + the mental" as in the traditional Western ontological paradigm, except for few doctrines out of the ordinary.
Based on the latest progress in the science of information, the contemporary philosophy of information compartmentalizes the existential domain again. It puts forwards a new ontological paradigm: ''the existential = the material + the informational". In the light of it, information is constituted by two domains: the objective informational and the subjective informational (mental). Compared with the traditional ontological paradigm, this new one not only reveals a whole fresh existential domain - the objective informational world - but also stipu1ates the essence of mind as a form of an advanced state of informational activity .1
The Western philosophical world has proposed various kinds of philosophical turns. However the result of those alleged turns did not transform the highest level of the philosophical paradigm as they were not fundamental ones. Comparatively speaking, because it achieves the transformation in the highest level of philosophical paradigm, the Philosophy of Information brings about a fundamental turn in philosophy for the first time.
2. The Intrinsically Convergent Unified Relationship of Science and Philosophy
In the most general sense, we can view philosophy as a human activity of seeking universal reason, while scientific observation and experiment have the character of concrete sensory data. On the basis of this, people have been used to recognize philosophy and science as separate disciplines. In fact, reasoning and operating with sensory data must not be separated completely at all levels of human cognitive activities. Human beings inevitably evaluate all kinds of sensory data in their rational constructions. It is this that constitutes the difference between human consciousness and the animal mind, as well as the ultimate ground of Philosophy and Science being intrinsically a unity.
Humans do not cognize the objective world directly. There are multiple kinds of complex intermediate relationships of between people and their cognitive objects. In my research on the contemporary philosophy of information, I have proposed a doctrine regarding the complex emergent occurrence of cognition, which explains aspects of five such intermediates: the objective field of information, its subjective physical structure, its subjective cognitive structure, its subjective instruments of materialization, and its subjective generative historical dimension. Since intermediate states with those five aspects exist between perception and cognition, the phenomena that scientists see directly are not the "objective facts" themselves of observation and experiment, but rather macroscopical signs that are designated as information, the "objective facts" remaining after passage through intermediate measuring instruments. Valid scientific judgments are accordingly possible only by explaining those signs. And the corresponding explanations depend not only on the analysis of the instruments and equipment of observation employed by those scientists, but also the scientific theoretical paradigms they use in recognizing structure. So there is no scientific fact that could be decided only by so-called concrete evidence; science, rather, is the product of the combination of concrete evidence and general reasoning. If defined in this way, philosophy is no longer something transcendental, irrelevant to and outside of science. It is actually the content covered in science which contains as an organic part, inevitably, the central role of mental activity.
2.1 General Rationality and Logic
A key concept in my theory is that of general rationality. I consider this an ontological feature of a scientific doctrine that measures how 'rational' it is, that is how far developed from the automatic, purely reactive forms of animal cognition. A higher rationality is one which reflects the best – therefore MOST ETHICAL - capacities of human beings to interact with themselves and the world. The term general rationality in Chinese accordingly corresponds to what is called informal logic in Western philosophy. „Informal‟ means that it is not based on simple linguistic reasoning using systems of axioms, but is rather like abductive logic as proposed by Magnani or the dynamic Logic in Reality of Brenner that refers to real processes.
From this perspective, general rationality describes the evolution of informational processes in both the disciplines of science but also in cognition and philosophy as the behavioral „activity‟ of human beings of which there are clearly higher and lower levels. There are only differences in the degree of general rationality involved in the various scientific disciplines, rather than the presence or absence of that rationality. From this, we can establish a relative boundary between philosophy and science from an onto-epistemological standpoint. The degree of generality (the extent of application) defines the inner differences of levels of generality of reasoning and consequently a hierarchy in philosophy and science themselves.
In fact, there exists a kind of dual-sense relationship between the levels of general rationality: in one respect, lower general rationality is the foundation on which higher general rationality is established on; in the other respect, lower general rationality is the presentation of higher general rationality in a concrete domain. The double sided characters of the definition of the lower and higher general rationalities will inevitably induce the interactions between different levels of rationality to define and converge. In this process, the higher general rationality will illuminate universally, restrict and control holographically the lower general rationality, while the lower general rationality not only embodies certain normative principles belonging to the higher general rationality at its own level but also provides certain valid basic support for higher general rationality due to its own plentiful contents and materials of activities. Those interactions between levels of general rationalities will necessarily result in the holographic unified relationship of inner convergence that ground and embody mutually, as well as reflect, constrain, control and define reciprocally different of levels of general rationality.
A true philosophy of science, which should be founded by science, cannot be separated from and override science. Rather, the foundational role of science determines its effects on philosophy from the bottom up. The dependence of philosophical development on scientific development indicates that science is the strongest and most basic driving force for the transformation of philosophy.
The rationality of science is much more universal and can surpass the limits of those narrow disciplines from which it was originally generated and evolve into a higher general rationality. This hierarchical transition is a process of self-sublimation of general rationality, the review and reproduction of the nature of general rationality. That self-sublimation of regeneration, review and reproduction permits the examination of previous higher general rationality in the transiting process of the lower general rationality to the higher level. The higher general rationality defines, amends and processes those original lower general rationalities (delete: by examination). In other words, the higher general rationality imposes its methodological effects on lower general rationalities while generalizing, summarizing and defineing the rational elements of those lower general rationalities as well. It is a kind of philosophical critique which is implemented in this process.
Whether a more concrete general rationality could enter the level of a more universal higher general rationality is decided by two aspects: one is whether those general rationalities have more universal character by themselves or not; the other is whether philosophy critiques those original lower general rationalities according to their own levels.
Indeed, philosophy must enrich and develop itself through science; however, that doesn't mean that philosophy is just a vassal of science. Philosophy has the critical role, at its own level in the development of the chains of human knowledge about the limits of science and philosophy. It is thus inevitable to consider aspects of the transformations enacted on philosophy by science and critiques made on science by philosophy.
We have observed that several new research approaches have been opened up in the studies of information problems: the computational, the information-ethical, the communication-informational, the information-cognitional, the semiotic-informational, the information-phenomenological, and so on. However, because these approaches employ theories dependent on a certain given concrete philosophy or science, they are constrained by the narrow and limiting character of the original theories and disciplines consciously or unconsciously, and these theories cannot reveal the true unique and revolutionary significance of information problems. An information theory founded on those theories can not be described as a higher science of information, not to mention as having the character of a general philosophy of information or a unified science of information.
Judging from this, the transformation of philosophy by science is not achieved automatically by using scientific success by itself as a criterion, but depends corresponding critical works that science acts on philosophy. That is a double sided interactive process to which both science and philosophy have to contribute. The transition from lower general rationality to higher one, and the critiques that philosophy makes of science have the following dual effects: on the one hand, outer information is criticized by philosophy; on the other hand, because that kind of critique changes the original construction of philosophy in itself, the philosophy is criticized recursively as well. If it is a comprehensive and complete change of construction, if that critique in itself is made of the most basic concepts and principles, or the highest paradigm of philosophy, a fundamental transformation has been made. The establishment of the contemporary philosophy of information reveals the significance for the development of philosophy itself through this kind of dual critique.
The general character of information transcends the basic beliefs and theoretical structures of traditional philosophy. The philosophy of information that truly shows the general character of information establishes the critiques that philosophy makes of science as well as the critiques that philosophy makes of itself.
3. Toward a Unified Science of Information
As a result of the role of information I established in the fundamental existential domain, the philosophy of information now provides a kind of dual-existential and dual-evolutionary theory of matter and information, which shows that information is a general phenomenon existing throughout the cosmos. Therefore, all research on matter and information should take this dual dimensionality into account. Because of the absence of the informational dimension in traditional philosophical and scientific research, it is now necessary to transform the research methods of traditional philosophy and science completely to bring them into line with the new scientific paradigm that is provided by the developing science and philosophy of information. By means of that transformation, all scientific and philosophical domains are facing an integrative developing trend I have named the ''Informational Scientification of Science'' . The emergence of this completely new and developing trend in philosophy and science, in my view, calls for the further establishment of a general unified science of information which includes all the domains of traditional philosophy, science and technology. It is transdisciplinary in the sense of Hofkirchner, Nicolescu, Brenner and others.
The tentative idea of establishing a unified science of information was initiated by a group of European scholars in the 1990s. Since then, from different levels and viewpoints of disciplines, many scientists and philosophers from all over the world have made numerous, fruitful work in that direction including A. D. Ursul and Konstantin Kolin from Russia: Pedro Marijuan, Wolfgang Hofkirchner, Luciano Floridi, Sören Brier, Rafael Capurro and Joseph Brenner from Europe: Yi Xin Zhong. Ming Li, Changlin Liu, Litian Shen, Xianhan Luo, Dongsheng Miao, Kang Ouyang, Xueshan Yan and myself from China; and, John Collier and Albert Borgmann from other countries. The independence and universality of the informational world revealed by these related researches is a precondition for the establishment and development of a new modem paradigm of science and philosophy, a new world view as well as a unified science of information.
4. Structure of the Proposed Unified Science of Information
Based on my research in this area, I have divided the unified science of information into six major levels: philosophy of information, general theory of information and informatics of which several sublevels and categories or branches exist and engineering/technological informatics.
As a result of its continuity across all levels of human knowledge from philosophy to science to engineering and communications technology, a unified science of information would be a disciplinary system that can be described in Chinese by the metaphor of „standing upright between heaven and earth‟. This metaphor captures the role of information in providing a link between phenomena at the lowest physical level and the highest human cognitive level. 4
Because this unified science of information is „upright between heaven and earth‟ and includes all levels of human knowledge, different scholars and disciplines could construct their concrete disciplines accordingly, including theories and viewpoints from their levels and points of view which today are separated. The result is that the trend toward so many diverse individual disciplines, schools and ideas of informational science is still increasing.
The development of a science of information will bring about a whole new integration of human science and philosophy as they converge with one another. In that process of integration, the philosophical sense of the science of information and the scientific character of the philosophy of information would be present in their entirety. From this standpoint, the philosophy of information could be viewed as apart of a general science of information, and the science of information could achieve its real foundational unity in the general provisions of philosophy. In other words, the unified science of information is the scientific basis of the general philosophy of information, and the philosophy of information is the general theoretical precondition of the unified science of information that is actually to be unified. In my opinion, the establishment of a unified science of information and the mature development of a philosophy of information should be the same process of mutual convergence, the two sides of the whole new integral developing pattern about contemporary human knowledge.
References and Notes
- Kun Wu, the divide of existential domains, science•dialectics•modernization, 1986(2):32-33.
- Kun Wu, the divide of existential domains and the “whole revolutionary”sense of the philosophy of information, the journal of humanity, 2013(5):1-6; Kun Wu,the crisis of philosophy and informational turn of philosophy, the journal of Xi‟an Jiaotong University, 2014(1):2-4; Kun Wu,On the development of philosophy and its fundamental turn from the view of informational world, the Journal of Chinese renmin university, 2014(3):72-78.
- Kun Wu, the informational scientificiation of science, qinghai social science, 1997(2).
- Kun Wu, the philosophy of information:theory, systerm and method, The Commercial Press, 2005,27-29.
1.The root cause of stagnation of western value philosophy
After had developed hundred years, western value philosophy have been in a standstill and met some theoretical difficulties. I believe the reason resulting in this predicament comes down to it that the ontology has been built on the dualism which splits the world into substance and spirituality. Mr. Wang Yuliang generally concluded the developing process of western value philosophy into three steps:The first step, which had been lasting from the end of 19th century to the early 20th century, was the formation period of western value philosophy. During this period, the subjectivism axiology, such as theories of Affective pleasant, object of desire, meet the demand, evaluation result had maintained the predominance. The second step, which had been lasting from the early 20th century to the 1920s, was a period that the subjectivism axiology and objectivism axiology had co-existed. Except the subjectivism axiology mentioned above, in this period the theory of object of interest had emerged.
Meanwhile, two objectivism axiology, intuitionism axiology and phenomenology axiology, had emerged as well. The third step, which has been lasting from the 1930s till now, the subjectivism axiology, especially the emotionalism, has played a predominant role. To summarize the main formations of the three steps’ axiology, we can acquire two dominating branches of axiology, subjectivism axiology and objectivism axiology. Professor Northrop had ever said that the concept mainly has two kinds: one is acquired on instinct, the other one is acquired by hypothesis. He said ：“The concept that acquired on instinct is such kind a concept that express some direct insight things, the full significance of it is given by some direct insight things. ”Making a general survey of subjectivism axiology, its various concepts can be boiled down to the concepts acquired on instinct, such as theories of Affective pleasant, object of desire, meet the demand, evaluation result and so on, which are all perceived by human intuitive feeling directly. Therefore, the subjectivism insists that we must use the intuitive feeling, whether it has been satisfied and pleased, whether its desires have been implemented, whether it obtains favorable outcome, to define if the value exists. And the positive value that is advantageous to human is the real value, the negative value and neutral value don’t exist, so the boundedness, one-sideness and the unsustainability of subjective value have been reflected.
The other value form, objectivism axiology that is contrary to subjective value form, had emerged in the first 20 years of 20th century. This situation can be explained by Hegelian words-everything contains its negation and Chinese ancient philosophy book, the Book of Changes which annotated by Taoism and Confucianism, also pointed out it that everything in this world, when it develops to its extremity, will develop conversely to the other extremity. Therefore, when the subjective value develops to its extremity, its negation-objective value, will be sure to emerge. Going around and around, nowadays the subjective value becomes the leading role once again. As you can see, the western value philosophy has been hovering between the subjective and objective axiology al the time, using different languages and concepts to interpret it and repeating this work, so it is impossible to have any theoretical breakthrough.
The reason leading to this plight is that the division of subjectivism and objectivism, which is the greatest obstacle. Moreover, this division is built on the traditional dualism, which indicates us that the western value philosophy is fundamentally restricted by its conservative ontology, which leaves no chance for it to break through and develop.
2.The root cause of stagnation of western value philosophy
If it wants to transcend its old frame, the western value philosophy has to find out the breakthrough point on ontology. And Wu kun’s philosophy of information brings us a brand new perspective, which makes the fundamental change in ontology possible. He surmounts the traditional threshold of dualism, treating the information as a being and introducing a new ontological viewpoint. He produces a in-self information as a media located between substance and spirit, thus he gives us a whole new world view-a double beings world, which is that an information world reflecting multiple prescriptive property of material world is beard by the material world. Therefore, this world, our world, and its all existence are both physical and informational.
While we conclude that our world is a double beings world that contains matter and information, we revolutionize the traditional dualism world view. The relationship between matter and spirit are no longer the fundamental relation of ontology, and we should define at least three relations from a complex and multiple information world perspective: the relation between matter and information, the relation between matter and spirit and the relation between information and spirit. Therefore we can conclude three philosophical categories of information form: in-self information, for-self information and reproductive information.
3. The new meaning and value of information axiology of Wu Kun
3.1 The definition of value in the information value philosophy.
Currently more popular definition of value is usually considered by placing in the relationship between subject and object, namely one kind of effectiveness relationship that object meet the requirements of the subject with their own properties and subject is met by object. Such definitions emphasize that the subject is satisfied by object with their own properties, and the definition is based on the premise of that the subject can perceive the object. Otherwise there is no theory of meet the demand, then how the subject to perceive the objects, the existing theories of Western value philosophy is failed or not been elucidated.
Wu Kun described the cognitive activities of human in his information theory of epistemology, namely the object can not access directly to the human perceptual system, human sense organs can not contact with the object directly, but should re-combined information about the object that useful for subject through a lot of intermediary and multilayer filter. Thus, if there is no informational intermediaries, there is no human perception, feelings, let alone the meet problems. Therefore, the current popular definition of the value is a narrow definition that even didn’t defined the nature of real value, then the philosophical theories of values in Western under the definition must be one-sided, superficial, and not stand up to scrutiny.
The information philosophy of value that introduce the information redefined the concept of the value:“ From a philosophical level, the value is the effects that (material, information, including the subjective form of information - spirit) achieved by internal interaction or external interaction of things.” This definition is firstly breakthrough the definition take the subject as the reference, regard the value as a common phenomenon in internal interaction or external interaction of all things; Secondly, further proposed that only interaction is not value, interaction itself does not the value directly, the changes in each sides caused by interaction is the effect(value) ;Thirdly, the effect that realized in the interaction not only can occur in the relationship between the material and spirit, but also may occur in the relationship between the material and information, information and spirit, and which should be the fundamental relationship between the material and information; and finally, this effect should be the interaction of two or more parties shared nature of the effect can be positive, negative or neutral , not judge by man, but by the role of the development of things, which can be judge as positive value, negative value or neutral value. It seems that the definition of the value proposed by Wu Kun is more extensive applicability and explanatory power. It covers the existing Western value theory that major centering on subject, also can explain the natural value phenomenon which did not clarified in Western value theories. And from the vertical and horizontal relationships in the evolution of the universe, the natural value or Heaven value is called ontological value, primary value, information philosophy of value that established on the basis of this can be continually renewed, progressive, while humanitarian value advocated by the Western value philosophy is only secondary value or derived value, regard it as a value ontology, its foundation itself is not reliable, which will inevitably fall into the theory crisis.
3.2 Three classifications of value form based on the form of information
Since there are three basic forms of information in the philosophy of information: In-itself information,for-itself information and regenerated information. So we have reason to believe that there are also three basic value forms (in-itself value, for-itself value and regenerated value) in the information philosophy of value that developed on the basis of philosophy of information, First of all, the in-itself value is effect that generated by the interaction of universe itself and cosmic inventory in accordance with their own laws, which is the most common and most basic form of value, and can also be called primary value.
As long as the universe exists, everything in this open system commonly correlates with each other and its interrelations with things outside this system also universally exist. Consequently, everything itself and the mutual interaction and multiple interactions among everything inside and outside this system produce effects, which makes sure that the initself information exist, dispensing with judging by satisfying the need of subject. In the second, for-itself value ,in fact, is the value that advocated by the Western value philosophy which recognize the value cognition of people as a starting point, recognize the evaluation results of value of human as value itself, then appearing of the related theory of value such as“positive effect of the object to the subject” or “the object meet the requirements of the subject”that specified the value itself. Because of that the for-itself value is value form that demand the subject’t intuitive grasp to initself value through perceiving the information transmitted by object.
Finally, the regenerated value is a value form and value idea that human striving for and trying to achieved, which imagined and transformed by human on the basis of for-itself value As seen above, the new information value philosophy that based on the philosophy of information, can break through obstacles of development of existing Western value philosophy which introduced to concept of information made itself more inclusive and universal. In addition, the natural value or Heaven value is raised to the ontological value, and more in line with the development and evolution of the universe, and will certainly continue to innovate and develop with the evolution of the universe. Furthermore, the new information value philosophy is more refined the form of value, including initself value, for-itself value and regenerated value .Thus, I believe that this is a fundamental change for Western value philosophy.
As the foundational people of the philosophy of information in France and China, Gilbert Simondon and Wu Kun constructed the eminent informational ontology respectively. They both took their first steps from the study of ―Being as Reality‖, settled the foundation notion of systematic reality above all; then criticized and developed the basic problem of philosophy and the conception of information in the cybernetics from different orientation according to their own interesting ; both of naturalism, compared to Simondon, Wu Kun defined the essence of information more precisely, and described the abundant properties of it; based on the informational ontology, the transform of philosophical notion does not only reflect on Simondon’s idea of knowledge, but also take place in the whole philosophical system and even its history.
References and Notes
- Simondon, G. The Position of the Problem of Ontogenesis[J].PARRHESIA, 2009(7): 5-6; 10; 5-9;
- Simondon, G. (2005) L’individuation à la lumière des notions de forme et d’information. Grenoble: Million.
- Simondon, G. (1980). On the mode of existence of technical objects. (N.Mellamphy, Trans.). London: University of Western Ontario Press.Retrieved from http://english.duke.edu/uploads/assets/Simondon_MEOT_part_1.pdf
- Simondon, G. (2009a). The position of the problem of ontogenesis. Parrhesia 7, 4–16.
- Simondon, G. (2009b). Technical mentality. Parrhesia 7, 17–27
- Kun Wu, the divide of existential domains, science••dialectics•modernization, 1986(2):32-33.
- Kun Wu, the divide of existential domains and the ―whole revolutionary‖sense of the philosophy of information, the journal of humanity, 2013(5).
- Kun Wu, the informational scientificiation of science, qinghai social science, 1997(2).
1. The development of philosophy of information and philosophy of technology
Since the 20th century, as human society has gradually entered into the information age, the informatization tide has swept the globe. The researches on information have been growing day by day, like the connection between the science and technology and the information, the nature of information, the characteristics of information and the spread of information. Besides, philosophy has already incorporated information and technology into its field of vision, and has gradually evolved into the philosophy of information and philosophy of technology with distinct era characteristics and frontier scientific nature.
Philosophy of information and philosophy of technology are the results of scientific and technological revolution, however, judging from the current study, since the 1980s, founded by Professor Wu Kun, and being improved constantly, the philosophy of information has already constructed to a theory building, and become the true sense “meta-philosophy”. Philosophy of technology also has new faces constantly. In the process of the discussing about the technology’s essence, more and more scholars begin to notice that technology is the “media” that links human beings and nature. And the media needs a certain sign system to realize the communication between human and nature, thus innovation of technology is the constant evolvement of communication ways between human and nature. American technology philosopher Neil Postman believes media, a vital technology, is just seriously ignored in general philosophy of technology. People always tend to be more concerned about the technology on the production, or the technology that can “transform nature”. While, “media” technology used for communication among people has been neglected. M•McLuhan believes that media have changed the way how human perceive the world and how human experience the world, and then generates the new behavior patterns that human influence the world. While compared with the contents and messages transferred by media, its impacts on the development of human society are relatively minor. There are some scholars in China hold that, in the technological revolution, the effects of media to the modern civilization are particularly important. The problem is that, the innovation and development of media technology certainly have significant influence on human behavior, ways of thinking and other aspects, but putting the information aside and giving it little attention worth rethinking.
Media, as a carrier of information, its relevant technological innovations actually are the constant changes of modes of information’s presentation. And different present ways are reflected in the different sign systems. Therefore, under the backgrounds of deepening studies of linguistics, and semiotics, many contemporary philosophers tend to expound their thoughts from the perspective of sign and information. And there is a continuing tendency towards the philosophy of information. Albert Borgmann (1937-) has been devoted himself to the sign presentation of modern technology and to ponder information’s value and meaning, and then deepening into his reflections on technology and human culture. Therefore, based on the achievements of the philosophy of information studies in China, this thesis will from the perspective of sign and information, compare the thoughts of Mr. Albert Borgmann and Pro. Wu Kun. And then this paper will put forward some opinions on the relationship between sign and information, to show the theory field of the philosophy of information, which is as the “Meta-philosophy”.
2. The thoughts of realism --- comparison of different philosophical foundations
Mr. Borgmann’s “inclusive realism” and Mr. Wu Kun’s new viewpoint of existence are the basis of their own philosophy thoughts. The essences are that the different thoughts of reality completely distinguish their own information philosophies. “Inclusive realism” is based on scientific realism, namely “monism”, to look at all the correlates relevant with material and spirit. Thus, this philosophy still belongs to traditional philosophy of technology. While, Mr. Wu’s new “objective unreality” is a new view in the indirect existence field. It breaks through the traditional realism. Thus, the philosophy of information has the basic characters of the “meta-philosophy”. And best of all, in the junction of substance and spirit, they both make their own explorations. Borgmann regards the sign as the bridge connecting the material and social life and the spiritual world. And Mr. Wu Kun takes “objective information” which marks the indirect existence field as the vinculum between material world and spiritual world. Thus, the two philosophers are both looking for the real correlation between material and spirit. They both avoid falling into the stereotype of “dualism”. One catches the “sign”. And the other one finds the “information”. Why is this? What is the association between sign and information? This association is the similarity of their philosophies. What is the difference between sign and information? And this difference is the different philosophical connotations between them.
3. Sign and information—comparison between different philosophical factors
First, in terms of the division of information form, constrained by “unicity” of realism, Mr. Borgmann regards sign as the standard to classify information types. The classification reflects the evolution of human society, but overlooks infinite vitality and great creativity in the evolution process. The division of Mr. Wu Kun is based on the division in new existing field, Sign information is one of the important forms of information regeneration, indicating the roles of sign which is the product of human thoughts in creative thinking.
Second, in terms of the relations of sign and information, Mr. Borgmann regards sign as the existence field marking reality and information as the meaning represented by sign. Mr. Wu Kun considers information as the self display of existing way and state of matter. The evolution of information is accompanied with the development of material world and spiritual world. Sign information is the abstraction of conceptual thoughts and the key of information creation. Therefore, sign is a stage of information evolution and a form of human thought. Information is reproduced through sign and the reproduced information turns into for-itself information and enters into another round of evolution, thus the relatively independent information possesses endless vitality and sign is endowed with new form and meanings in the constant evolution of thoughts.
Third, in terms of value of information, Borgmann thinks that grasping information depends on relations between sign and matter, The more direct the relations between sign and matters, the closer the relations between information and reality, and the less uncertainty of information; conversely, the uncertainty of information increases. Borgmann holds negative attitude to technological information in contemporary informationization trend, believing that meanings of matters fade away with springing up of information. Mr. Wu Kun thinks that the realization process of value is the process where subject information is realized in object. The highest level of information value is spiritual value. Subject and object perceive and understand object information through interaction with each other. Subject, through internal thinking, processes stored information and creates new conceptual images and sign information, which constitutes the realization process of spiritual value. The value of information has universality, complexity, vigor and creativity, which will drive diversified development of human values.
4. Results and Discussion:
The author think that the information concepts of Mr. Bergmann is the philosophy of technology from the perspective of information ethics, which is critical and reflective. The philosophy of information of Mr. Wu Kun has new theoretic perspective and grand theory space. We are convinced that besides promoting philosophy of technology, the development of philosophy of information will propel the revolution of fundamental ideas of philosophy, in turn trigger fundamental changes of philosophy. It’s worth noting that currently the study of philosophy of information is on the rise worldwide and continues to innovate, at the same time, other subjects such as bioscience, brain science and cognitive science are developing rapidly. New philosophical problems will draw inspirations from philosophy of information, which further promotes development of philosophy of information and demonstrates its theory glamour as meta-philosophy.
References and Notes
- Chen Jiaying. Several Thoughts on Scientific Realism. World Philosophy [J]. 2006.6.
- Albert Borgmann.Holding on to Reality: The Nature of Information at the Ture of the Millennium [M].Chicago, IL, USA：University of Chicago Press, 1999.
- Albert Borgmann. Response to My Readers[J]. Techné,2002,6:1Fall.
- Anthology of Lenin. [M] Volume II, Bei Jing: People's Press, 1995.
- Wu Kun. Philosophy of information [M]. Bei Jing: Commercial Press，
- Li Bochong. The Sign World of High-tech Era [M]. Tian Jin: Tianjin Science and Technology Press，
- St. Augustine，On Christian Doctrine，Book one，H. Adams and L. Searle eel. ，Critical Theory Since Plato[M]. Boston：Michael Rosenberg，2005.
- M. Understanding Media. [M]. Bei Jing: The Commercial Press,2007.
Informational civilization is emerging a new form of civilization based on informational technology with the development of human society’s informtionnalization and digitalization. It does similar to the post-industry society and informational society in usages.But there are some differences between them in semantics. Informational civilization stresses the transformation of civilization. The challenges to philosophy in the time of information are as follows .
(1) Ontological Challenges. the discussion of problems in ontology is extending from being and theoretical reality to things which are forming. They are not the being itself but the products of interaction in time. They are a dynamic existence in their changing. Therefore when the data become information, information becomes knowledge, and knowledge becomes a basis of policy, the domain of ontology extends from intrinsic existence to dynamic existence, from actual space to virtual space, from the pursuing to determinacy to indeterminacy.
(2) Epistemological challenges. The problems of epistemology discuss the problem of origin of knowledge and how to get truth about objective in traditional epistemology. With the development of technology of cloud calculation and digital dig, the cognition based on relevance has the meaning of epistemology. So our discussion about the problems of epistemology has to change from the relationship between theory and world to relationship between data and cognition.
(3) Ethical challenges. Facebook, micro-information micro-blog and internet make the way of our thinking from individual to group in the time of information. We are entering a new time of sharing in knowledge, creativity, and expertise. This will bring a lot moral problems which we must focus.
This paper deals with the Arabic translation taṣawwur in Averroes' Great Commentary of the term τῶν ἀδιαιρέτων νόησις (thinking of the indivisibles) in Aristotle's De anima and the Latin translation from Arabic with (in-)formatio as quoted by Albertus Magnus. I briefly report on the development of the ontological (informatio materiae) and epistemological meanings of informatio in the Middle Ages as well as on the loss of the ontological meaning in Modernity. Eventually, I interpret informatio in the context of Heidegger's "hermeneutical as". In the conclusion I suggest a future research dealing with Heidegger and Mullā Sadrā and point to Barbara Cassin's concept of the "untranslatables" as a possible path of thinking concerning "Capurro's trilemma".
Greek, Latin, Arabic, and Persian Roots of the Concept of Information
For a detailed analysis of what follows see (Capurro 2014).
Taṣawwur and taṣdīq in Averroes‘ Great Commentary of Aristotle‘s De anima, were translated into Latin by Michael Scot with (in)formatio and fides. The first concept addresses the representation of "indivisible things" (the "ideas") while the second concept means the predicative judgement (logos apophantikos) about things using the composition of names or signs where there is right and wrong.
Informatio or just formatio or "conception" (Alain de Libera), as apposed to fides or "assentiment" (Alain de Libera) means the "thinking of the indivisible" or of the "simple objects of thought", the Greek term being: τῶν ἀδιαιρέτων νόησις. There is no single Greek term in Aristotle's De Anima corresponding to the Latin translation by Michael Scot of the Arabic term(s) used by Averroes in his Great Commentary quoted by Albertus Magnus.
Albertus Magnus (1193-1206) makes a short comment on the concept of informatio "apud Arabes" in the context of Aristotle's De anima and indirectly to Averroes, called „the Commentator“:
"Indivisibilium quidem igitur, quae sunt incomplexa intelligentia sive intelligere, quod est actus intelligendi, in omnibus his est circa quae non est falsum, eo quod, sicut INFERIUS ostendemus, numquam accidit error intelligibilium in talium intellectu. Hic autem intellectus vocatur apud Arabes informatio, eo quod intelligere talia est informari intellectum possibilem naturis formalibus eorum."
Aristotle's νόησις or, more precisely, νόησις τῶν ἀδιαιρέτων, thinking the indivisibles, that was translated from Greek into Arabic with taṣawwur, from Arabic into Hebrew with ẓiyyur, and from Arabic into Latin with (in-)formatio is an example of a complex history of translations of a Latin concept that has become paradigmatic for our age.
Throughout the Middle Ages informatio and informo are commonly used in epistemological, ontological, and pedagogical contexts by several authors (see Capurro 1978 and Capurro 2009 for details). The Aristotelian influence on the higher-level philosophical concept of informatio is shown at best in the work of Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274). Schütz (1958) distinguishes in his Thomas-Lexikon between informatio in the sense of "providing something with a form" in an epistemological or ontological context and the pedagogical sense of education or instruction.
Probably the most intriguing question from the point of view of the history of ideas concerns the ontological use of informatio — both in the lower-level sense of "molding matter" as well as in the higher-level sense used by Scholastics as informatio materiae — which became obsolete not only in modern languages that, like English, inherited the Latin word and slightly transformed it into information, retaining the epistemological meaning (Capurro and Hjørland 2003).
Information in Modernity
In the following I summarize some findings from (Capurro and Hjørland 2003, Capurro 2009 and Capurro 1978).
The modern uses of information show a transition period in which the medieval ontological concept of "molding matter" is not just abandoned but reshaped under empirical and epistemological premises.
The action of 'informing' with some active or essential quality" had, according to the Oxford English Dictionary "a quite restrictive use" not only in English, but also in other modern European languages, and references on "formation or molding of the mind or character, training, instruction, teaching" date from the 14th century.
This transition from Middle Ages to Modernity in the use of the concept of information — from "giving a (substantial) form to matter" to "communicating something to someone" — can be detected in the natural philosophy of René Descartes (1596-1650), who calls ideas the "forms of thought," not in the sense that these are "pictured" ("depictae") in some part of the brain, but "as far as they inform the spirit itself oriented to this part of the brain" ("sed tantum quatenus mentem ipsam in allem cerebri partem conversam informant." (Descartes 1996, VII, 161). but also, for instance, in German where the word Information was actually used in the sense of education and communication since the 15th century.Informatio was literally translated — first in a mystical context as in-Bildunge or in-Formunge; later on in a general pedagogical sense, such as used by Christoph Martin Wieland (1733-1813) — with Bildung, a term heavily charged with higher-level meaning (Capurro 1978, p. 176).
A plausible explanation for the loss of the ontological higher-level sense is the decline of Scholastic philosophy caused by the rise of modern science.
Nevertheless, the concept of information ceases to be a higher-level concept until the rise of information theory in the 20th century. Philosophers such as Francis Bacon (1561-1626), John Locke (1632-1704), George Berkeley (1685-1753), David Hume (1711-1776), and Thomas Reid (1711-1796) criticize scholastic hylomorphism and particularly the theory of abstraction.
It is interesting to observe how the concept of information is closely connected to views of knowledge. This conclusion is important with regard to the use of the concept of information in information science, because it indicates a severly neglected connection between theories of information and theories of knowledge (Capurro and Hjørland 2003).
Information as Hermeneutic As
The Aristotelian „thinking (of) the indivisible“(„νόησις τῶν ἀδιαιρέτων) (taṣawwur, (in-)formatio) that precedes the action of the intellect dealing with the composition in predication (taṣdīq, fides), can be translated into Heidegger's difference between the "hermeneutical as" and the „apophantic as“. The philosopher and theologian Thomas Sheehan writes in his "Hermeneia and Apophansis: The early Heidegger on Aristotle":
"The noun hermeneia (or the verb hermeneuo) in Aristotle has a generic meaning and two specifications. Generically it means expression, manifestation, or communication (semainein). In increasingly determinate specification it can then mean: verbal semainein, called lexis or dialectos; and declarative verbal semainein, called apophansis or logos apophantikos.
That is: hermeneia-1 hermeneia-2 hermeneia-3 [semainein]: [legein]: [apophainesthai]:
self-expression or communication in any form;
self-expression or communication in discourse;
self-expression or communication in declarative sentences.
To synthesize is to distinguish, and the assertoric synthesis-distinction (the "apophantic as" operative in hermeneia-3) rests on the prepredicative synthesis-distinction of entities and their practical essence; and for Heidegger that composition and division is performed on the basis of the original (i.e. the hermeneutical) as. This unified as-structure, rooted in praxis, that Heidegger retrieved from Aristotle's discussion of hermeneia led to the issues of transcendence and ultimately temporality. Heidegger interpreted human beings, insofar as they already know the beingness-dimension of entities, as transcendence, i.e., as being already beyond entities and disclosive of the possibilities in terms of which entities can be understood. This kinetic exceeding of entities he called the human being's Immer-schon-vorweg-sein, his condition of being "always already ahead" of entities.
This movement is the co-performance of disclosure in humanely primordial sense, and it corresponds to the diairesis-moment of the hermeneutical as. In the oral version of his course Die Grundbegriffe der Metaphysik (February 27, 1930) Heidegger said that diairesis, seen as human transcendence, "pulls us as under, as it [p. 80] were, and grants us a stretching-ahead, takes us away into the possible... ." But at the same time the human being returns from that transcendence to entities so as to know them in terms of possibility, i.e., "so as to allow the possible - as what empowers the actual - to speak back to the actual in a binding way... , binding or bonding it: synthesis. Clearly the unity of diairesis as transcendence to the essence of beings and synthesis as the return to beings in their essence points to the kinetic structure that grounds the hermeneutical as, just as the hermeneutical as in turn makes possible the truth and falsehood of Aristotle's hermeneia-3." (Sheehan 2008)
In other words, the „thinking (of) the indivisible„ that was translated into arabic as taṣawwur and into Latin as „(in-formatio)“ meaning that what precedes the action of the intellect dealing with the composition and division that takes place in predication (taṣdīq, fides), can be translated into Heidegger's difference between "hermeneutical as" and "apophantic as“.
The insight into human existence as time is metaphysically and theologically preceded by understanding humans as already being and becoming part, after death, of a divine being with or without their individuality, an issue that was and is controversial and fundamental for Greek, Latin, Arabic, Hebrew, and Persian thinkers of the Middle Ages no less than in the Islamic and Western tradition after Averroes all the way up until today.
A comparison between Mullā Sadrā (1572-1640) and Martin Heidegger seems to me an interesting topic for future research not only concerning the relation between essence and existence but also with regard to the relation between understanding and pre-understanding and tasawwur and tasdiq.
I quote from Wikipedia (Mullā Sadrā)
"Mullā Sadrā [...] was the most prominent Iranian Shia Islamic philosopher, theologian and ‘Ālim who led the Iranian cultural renaissance in the 17th century. According to Oliver Leaman, Mulla Sadra is arguably the single most important and influential philosopher in the Muslim world in the last four hundred years.
[...] Mullā Sadrā metaphysics gave priority "Ab initio" to existence, over quiddity. That is to say, essences are determined and variable according to existential "intensity", (to use Henry Corbin's definition), and as such essences are not immutable. The advantage to this schema is that it is acceptable to the fundamental statements of the Qur'an, even as it does not necessarily debilitate any previous Islamic philosopher's Aristotelian or Platonic foundations.“
What is information? It is one of the „untranslatables“ addressed by Barbara Cassin in her „Vocabulaire européen des Philosophies. Dictionnaire des intraduisibles“ (Paris 2004) when she writes:
„Parler d‘intraduisibles n‘implique nullement que les termes en question, ou les expressions, les tours syntaxiques et grammaticaux, ne soient pas traduits et ne puissent pas l‘être – l’intraduisible, c’est plutôt ce qu’on ne cesse pas de (ne pas) traduire. Mais cela signale que leur traduction, dans une langue ou dans l’autre, fait problème, au point de susciter parfois un néologisme ou l’imposition d’un nouveau sens sur un vieux mot: c’est un indice de la manière don’t, d’une langue à l’autre, tant les mots que les réseaux conceptuels ne sont pas superposables […]” (p. xvii-xviii)
This might be a path of thought (and action) for dealing with „Capurro‘s trilemma“ as addressed by Peter Fleissner and Wolfgang Hofkirchner.
The concept of information may have:
- The same reference in all contexts, such that qualitative changes are not grasped.
- Similar aspects between the references. In this case there a question arises about the primary or basic reference to which analogical concepts refer.
- Finally, qualitatively distinct references may exist. In this case the concepts of information are equivocal. (Fleissner and Hofkirchner 1995)
This research is not just historically relevant but also a key issue for an intercultural philosophical dialogue about the information society.
I thank Joseph Brenner for critical comments.
References and Note
The following presentation is based on my „Apud Arabes. Notes on the Greek, Latin, Arabic, and Persian Roots of the Concept of Information“ (Capurro 2014), that goes back to my PhD thesis "Information" (Capurro 1978), as well as on Rafael Capurro and Birger Hjørland: The Concept of Information (Capurro and Hjørland 2003) and Rafael Capurro: Past, present and future of the concept of information (Capurro 2009). References not listed can be found in these sources.
- Capurro, R. Apud Arabes. Notes on the Greek, Latin, Arabic, and Persian Roots of the Concept of Information. 2014 http://www.capurro.de/iran.html
- Capurro, R. Information. Munich: Saur 1978. http://www.capurro.de/info.html
- Capurro, R. Past, present and future of the concept of information. tripleC2009, 7, 125-141. http://www.capurro.de/infoconcept.pdf
- Capurro, R.; Hjørland, B. The Concept of Information. In Annual Review of Information Science and Technology (ARIST), B. Cronin Ed.; Information Today: Medford, New Jersey, 2003, pp. 343-411. http://www.capurro.de/infoconcept.html
- Cassin, B. Vocabulaire européen des Philosophies. Dictionnaire des intraduisibles. Paris: Seuil, 2004.
- Fleissner, P.; Hofkirchner, W. In-formatio revisited. Wider dem dinglichen Informationsbegriff. Informatik Forum 1995, 8, 126-131.
- Sheehan, Th. Hermeneia and Apophansis: The early Heidegger on Aristotle. In Heidegger et l'idée de la phénoménologie, Franco Volpi et al Eds.;., Dordrecht: Kluwer, 1988; pp. 67-80. https://ucursosadi.ing.uchile.cl/filosofia/2011/2/386100820/1/material_docente/previsualizar?id_material=474722
- Wikipedia: Mula Sadra http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mulla_Sadra
1)Newton said: time and space are absolute.Kant said: time and space are transcendental. Einstein said: time and space are relative.I understand that: time and space imply information.(2)Dissemination of information certainly takes time.Information storage definitely needs to occupy space.Information is not matter but needs matter.Information is not energy but requires energy.(3)Mass, charge and magnetic charge are matter.Kinetic energy, potential energy, nuclear energy are energy.Data, text, images, sounds belong Information.Matter, energy and information are always together.(4)Information indicates the process of change in matter.Information indicates the state of matter existence. Information indicates the process of changes in energy. Information indicates the state of energy existence.(5)Process always corresponds to the passage of time.State always corresponds to the structure of space.Process, state and transformation are information.Structure, function and fluctuation are information.(6)Information is a measure of systematic order.Information is a sign of biological evolution.Information is the basis of all life in the universe.All knowledge are the subset of information.(7)Information would not exist without times andpace.Time and space would not exist without information.Conservation and transformation of matter and energy.Information can create, replicate, and mutate them.(8)Time and space is the form of matter existence.Time and space is the form of energy present.Time and space is the form of information existence. Matter, energy and information: in the universe forever.(9)As a world only of matter and energy,The universe is always inorganic and inanimate. As a world of matter, energy and information,The universe is always an inorganic and organic unity.(10)Application of logical methods cannot affirm God,Application of logical methods cannot deny God.God and gods are created by human knowledge, God and gods and information: together forever.(11)I have some doubts about the Big Bang model.I do not believe the theory of limited time and space.Concept of information will gradually to unify.Our image of the universe will be greatly changed.(12)Where there are matter and energy, there is information.Dark matter and dark energy correspond dark information.Scientists found dark matter and dark energy,But which of them leads us to dark information ?(13)Newton's absolute space-time theory may be correct.Kant's transcendental space-time may be correct.Einstein's theory of relativity may also be correct.I understand that ontological information may be correct.
Information Thinking and Nanoethics as a Complex System
Philosophy of information shows that the theories, views of point, tools and methods provided by information thinking are able to preferably reflect the holographic features of complex system, and then to give a thinking dimension for exploring complexity (Wu Kun, 2002a, p.1). According to the way of information thinking, we put any complex system as an information world in itself to think and reveal its way, meaning and values of being (Wu Kun, 2002b, p.210).
Exploring complexity emphasizes on the mutual penetration between natural sciences or technologies and social sciences, and carves out many new domains of interdisciplinary study. Nanoethics is such a domain from between nanoscience or nanotechnology and ethics. This paper treats with nanoethics as information world, discusses on social importance of nanospace or nanoworld manipulated by nanoscience and nanotechnology.
Theoretical Practice Approach to Information Thinking to Nanoethics
In relation to this discussion, three main questions have been developed to guide this paper:
- What kinds of information and orientations does nanoethics display?
- In information epistemology of nannoscience and nanotechnology, how do we connect the intuitional manipulation nanoethics asks for with nanoworld phenomenon provided by nanoscience and nanotechnology?
- In information ontology of interdisciplinary studies, how does the understanding of and control on nanotechnology transit from pursuit for certainty of nanoworld to getting the system stability of multidisciplinary group on nanoworld?
The first question focuses on information what posthumnan futurists have imagined on nanotechnology to improve human performance (ultraminiatural and ultrafast computer, human immortality, etc.) and what technological pessimists reflected on nanotechnology to bring damages to environment and human health (resource depletion, destroying of biodiversity, etc.), and orientations what practical ethicists suggest on the reflective co-evolution of nanotechnology and society. The second question focuses on image information which makes nanoworld visible, and what choices we make to epistemologically explain these image information with phenomenological hermeneutics and to coordinate ethical control with phenomenal presentation. The third question focuses on how a lot of disciplines concentrate on complex nanoscale system or nanoworld, and how we guarantee the co-evolution of nanotechnology and society or the healthy development of nanoscience and nanotechnology on the base of ontological indifference .
The paper requires a theoretical practice approach of information thinking in which nannoethics, information epistemology and information ontology are studied in relation. A theoretical assessment tool that measures the three subjects and their relationship is developed and empirically applied to some cases of nanotechnologies from nannoethical research literature. Moreover, the phenomenological hermeneutics approach to introduce image information in epistemological study of nannoworld is analyzed, and ontological governing approach to embrace lots of disciplines on exploring complexity of nanoworld.
Some Findings of Information Thinking through Nanoecthics
In relation to the above three questions, the findings of this paper are the following.
- Information thinking is the best way processing a lot of information the ethical study of nanoscience and nanotechnology has been accumulating. The reason scholars reflect on nanotechnology in relation to ethics, is because they must make responses to the positive impacts on economy, society, culture and politics of nanotechnology that scientists, technologists, futurists, economists and decision-makers default on ‘nanotechnology revolution’. To these responses, there are such expressions as ethics of nanoscience, ethics of nanotechnology, ethics of nanosci-technology, and studies on the ethical, lawful and social impacts of nanotechnology. Owing to nanotechnology coming down to existence and development of human being in philosophy, we accept nanoethics as information world to jointly term all studies to the ethical and social impacts of nanotechnology.
- Although there exist various debates on the ethical and social impacts of nanoscience and nanotechnology, nanoethics reach two kinds of consensus: firstly, nanotechnology as an emerging technology has huge potential in general applications, so must be ethically and realistically assessed; secondly, nanotechnology must be put in social context, and it is suggested that nanotechnology’s dependence on the ethical assessment is absolutely necessary. The nanoethical assessment started originally with discourses on the futuristic forecast and consequentialistic control, and now reach the practical orientation on the reflective co-evolution of technology and society.
- Nanosicence and nanotechnology is a domain to artificially construct nanospace or nanoworld at atomic level, and it as a noumenal technology is inclined to leave from experiential intuition (touch, observation and control, etc.) of human being. However, the practical orientation on the reflective co-evolution of nanotechnology and society demands to master information-epistemologically nanospace or nanoworld, to say, phenomenologically put nanotechnology in human experiences throughout the its image visualization strategy, so it is a epistemological mission of nanoethics to introduce the phenomenological hermeneutics to provide flexible interpretation of nanotechnology and shows stakeholders its widely ethical and social impacts.
- Nanotechnology as a manipulation at atomic level attracts all intentional and non-intentional disciplines in nanoscale domain together. To this kind of multidiscipline groups, nanoethics should information-ontologically promote their system steady development, so as to receive a lot of descriptive and critical information from various aspects. In other words, it should let natural sciences and engineering fields to materially construct nanoworld, and meanwhile let social sciences of nature to participate in value design of nanoworld, so as to develop ethically and socially nanotechnology.
References and Notes
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- Otávio Bueno. The Drexler-Smalley Debate on Nanotechnology: Incommensurability at Work. HYLE. Vol. 10, No. 2, 2004.
- Ray Kurzweil. The Singularity is Near: When Humans Transcend Biology. New York: Penguin, 2005.
- Thomas W. Staley. The Coding of Technical Images of Nanospace: Analogy, Disanalogy, and the Asymmetry of Worlds. Techné. Vol. 12, No. 1, 2008.
- Vitaly G. Gorokhov. Nanotechnoscience as Combination of the Natural and Engineering Sciences. Philosophy Study. Vol. 2, No. 4, April 2012.
- Wu Kun. Fuzaxing and Kexue Siwei Fangshi de Biange. Ziran Bianzhengfa Yanjiu, No.10, 2002a.
- Wu Kun. Xinxi Renshilun. Beijing: Zhongguo Shehui Kexue Chubanshe, 2002b.
- Xavier Guchet. Nature and Artifact in Nanotechnologies. HYLE. Vol. 15 No. 1, 2009.
Risk is uncertain Danger. The event can be expressed as a function of the probability of occurrence and consequences. The risk of informational technology is complex. Therefore, Risks of informational technology are not simple functions. They are several sources of uncertainty and the probability of occurrence and their consequences. We should take the holistic perspective of project risk. Subjects have cognitive biases on risk of information. The subjective risk is not equal to the objective risk. Risk is not only a fact judgment, but also a value judgment. We adopted the theory of subjective Bayes' theorem to analyze cognitive bias to explain why different subjects have different opinions, such as different experts have different opinions on a same engineering risk, experts and public opinion is different, etc, furthermore, Perception of informational risk is dynimic. Individual perceptions of risk will change and eventually come into being the group cognition.
From the perspective of modern inductive logic, by Bias's theorem，we analyze this information technology risk uncertainty, complexity and emergent properties, and the change of perception of risk，but Bayes’ theorem is about individual, how to explain the group consistency perception of risk. We analyze the consistency of cognitive subject with extended theories of subjective Bayes, Donald Gillies’ intersubjective probability. How subject get support evidences to achieve the convergence which need two necessary conditions, one is the common interest, the other is the information communication. Cognitive subjects change the individual's beliefs through changing knowledge, perception of risk of the information will be from the prior probability into posterior probability through the conversion of cognitive paradigm, from the group shared perception of risk. therefore, perception of risk is a complicated function, It is not an one-order function. Objective risk relates with the objective property of risk, such as risk intensity, destructiveness, duration. Subjective risk is about subjective knowledge structure, the way how the subject of informational Communication to get knowledge, informational Communication effectiveness and efficiency, Information communication channels etc. Informational risk is a multi-order function.
Finally, through the analysis of the information risk from the logic perspective, we can predict risk, assess risk and avoid risk.
The citizen consciousness consists by four logical components: right consciousness, responsibility consciousness, the sense of participation and the awareness of the rules. with the help of the public sphere which opened by Internet, Chinese citizen consciousness is developing rapidly. But due to the Internet information spread is characteristics of openness, anonymity, virtual, showing too much emphasis on the rights of the individual, disparage the rights of others; a serious lack of sense of responsibility; sense of participation is strong but lack of rationality; rules lack of binding and recognition caused the rule consciousness weak.
1.Basic knowledge of human nature
What is the human nature? This seemingly simple but very complex issue, since ancient times philosophy has always been a hot and difficult problem. For thousands of years, philosophers have conducted numerous tireless thinking and exploration, given the variety of different answers. Ancient Greece, there are many thinkers to explore human nature, a greater impact on the modern preliminary study of human nature comes from Marx, "Economic and Philosophical Manuscripts of 1844", and "On Feuerbach outline "of human nature in-depth research and" German Ideology "system of human nature exposition. In the end, from the standpoint of historical materialism and methods starting with "people who engage in the practice," the starting point for the theory, the people's natural attributes, social attributes, mental attributes were three organic unity. These thinkers also upheld the paradigm of a thinking entity, from a practical point of view to generate theory, the introduction of a series of demonstration and verification practices of scientific theory. Husserl's phenomenology sports such as when creating, understanding the causes of human activities due to the purely subjective images of the object of the structure.
2.Western philosophy on the nature of human cognitive problems arise
Most Western scholars who study the nature of the problem, mostly standing in an integrated iInterdisciplinary research. The nature of their work together to build the different levels of people say that such people will learn doctrine: that the will is the essence of man (Schopenhauer); existential human science: people just say "this in" ，human nature is free and germinal (Heidegger, Sartre); human nature theory of psychoanalysis on the performance of the human impulse to the mysterious life, reflected in its core aspects of sexual impulse from consciousness (Freud); and we know Frankfurt school people learn that human nature is Eros (Marcuse); and was covered with religious people of color cognitive science, who presented Thomas is God, God dominate and control; and nearly made modern philosophical anthropology, said the difference between man and Fauna fundamental symbol of the spirit (Scheele); according to Husserl, including on the basis of the phenomenological reduction, but also to the reduction of human knowledge to produce a purely subjective intentionality dimension.
Since the 1980s, many domestic scholars have begun to discuss the problem of human nature. Such as the social nature of the doctrine that human nature is mainly refers to the social nature that human nature is the sum of all social relations; there are dual nature saying: Class nature and Individual nature separate, at different The environmental dimension (Wenxi Zhang, Yue Yong); triple essence say caused more detail into the nature of human Class nature, Groups essence and Individual nature ,of the unity between the three (Guangxia Wan); four structure is essentially saying that the interpretation of the nature of the triple another angle, it considers human nature is required by human freedom consciousness of productive labor, labor, social relations and the establishment of four levels constitute a unique personality (Han Qingxiang); then adding the concept of a complex environment, we have started a new whole essence said, it is the essence of man as a whole that is the essence of human nature by the physiological characteristics of the human, psychological characteristics and the nature of the essential characteristics of the three aspects of social practice composed of organic unity (Tao Fuyuan). However, since the man himself is constantly generating and developing, and when we use the inherent ideas and methods continue to explore the question of human nature, a bit to the extreme one can not get out of. That is to explore the people and ignore the people themselves.
3.Extension and re-cognition the problem of human nature
In the field of philosophy in general, for all the issues, including the existence of human knowledge areas are divided into the premise, in the traditional Western philosophy, we exist in the field again divided into three parts, God, material and individual consciousness, so whether Hegel, Husserl, or Marx and Engels, the traditional Western thought makes us human nature when cognitive been unable to deeper discussion. So, if you can stand the perspective of philosophy to complement another new awareness of the human nature of it? Mr. Wu Kun in the "Philosophy of information," particularly mentioned about human cognitive activities of multi-dimensional, describes the complexity characteristics of multi-polarization. He said: "man is a multidimensional nature of the generation and build and create its own integrated. The essence of man is not a simple source directly or exists in a separate unidimensional.but sources or exist in the interaction between the so-called comprehensive construction." Information from him to build the discovery of philosophy to the information world, we see that in the traditional nature of the people we know, a book on special mention of human knowledge about the activities of multi-dimensional, Referring to the information of this concept, we are very natural to split up the matter and consciousness were associated with the transformation of the traditional philosophy of existence = spiritual+ substance, raised to the existence = substance + information. So again when we discuss the nature of property or person of understanding the problem, it can be very smooth and our objective and subjective awareness of the issue through internal and external information that ties a good combination, from the people of multi-dimensional, multi-polarization The complex features a deeper understanding of human nature.
Therefore, based on the information of epistemology on the study of man is a multidimensional existence. Most of the essence of the activity is to stand in one's genetics to the parsing of different levels of different dimensions. According to Mr WuKun information structure in the human genetic code to distinguish from the three structural interpretation. Physical information refers to the essence of man's development program mainly for different dimensions of the construction of the system. First d physiological ensures people become one of the most fundamental aspects, such as tissues and organs, and the further development of these tissues or organs, is done by the construction of the second dimension. From the psychological level, standing in the past, on the basis of an analysis of the nature of man, we all know that the one dimensional psychological structure and one-dimensional neural physiological structure is consistent with the psychological activity of ability, but from the perspective of philosophy of information, have the ability of information processed makes people in practice is combined, in the development of more mature stereospecificity, makes the psychological activity of the 2 d structure is the foundation of ductility. From the behavior of the structure of the level we can see the difference between people of different construction activities. Past we cognitive activities such as eating, drinking is a one-dimensional consistent level down to discuss, but when you have made, in the second dimension of the different structure behavior ability. Whether from the moment of, or historical, physiological, or psychological, or that mixed behavior of this series conscious or subconscious activity, are standing on the basis of information on philosophy, for we simply from the material and spiritual or split level to understand the problem of human nature gave great padding and sublimation .Especially when we are faced with all sorts of contradictory social reality, how to understand and fully grasp the human nature, the more necessary from a new perspective of information theory epistemological awareness and promotion.
We should recognize that "people are being in the process of evolving life forms, in every moment of his life. he is becoming and never yet become the person they can be." Although the "human nature" take a very understanding lengthy process, but we can’t give up on cognition, interpretation pursuit. The ultimate goal of human development is an ideal state, but the way to achieve the ideal man and the road is earthly, secular, it requires each of us to recognize people from their start. When we take into account the physiological structure of the human body, as when, for the evolution of nature and society, providing the construction of origin, as well as the ability to include genetic, acquired the natural, social and cultural interaction of the information environment, and human social practice the ability to evolve with the development of consistent materialized tools to build such information constitutes a bridge or bedding understanding of human nature, so that the basis of our understanding of human nature, the have a more solid theoretical resources. Thus, the discovery of Mr. Wu Kun world of information, not only makes us human knowledge from the perspective of the Western tradition sublimation up philosophy, but also makes us to move towards a narrow perception of human nature, can be used to reconstruct a message to understand the complexity of the place, a more reasonable to explore complex human activities consistent development of contemporary society.
References and Notes
- Kun Wu, the philosophy of information:theory, systerm and method, The Commercial Press, 2005,34-39.
- Kun Wu, the philosophy of information:theory, systerm and method, The Commercial Press, 2005,306-309.
- Marx and Engels. The complete works of Marx and Engels [M]. (volume 1, 2, 3, 4) Beijing: people's publishing house, 1972.
- Kun Wu ,Turn of philosophy and philosophy, The People's university Press,2014,308-309.
With the development of scientific technology and internet, the concept of virtual society has been widely accepted by common people. Virtual practice, the human practice in virtual society, is now formatting the ways of how people produce, live, think and value things. Every coin has two sides, and virtual practice is not the exception. On the positive side, it significantly improves the level of productivity of our society, greatly boosted the economy, and provides a better platform for the free and comprehensive development of human. However, the popularity of virtual practice also brings its problems, such as network addiction, rubbish information and the inequality involved with Digital Divide. One of the most important reasons for those disadvantages is that some people firmly believe that the practice in virtual society is unreal, so they could do anything they like without being discovered and punished. From my perspective, virtual practice is not unreal, because it takes the same forms as the real practice, shares the same characteristics with the real world, and also influences the real world in its own way.
First of all, the forms of virtual practice are the same as that for real practice. There are three forms of real practice. They are productive practice to transform the nature, revolutionary practice to transform the human society, and scientific practice to explore the world. Virtual practice shares the same forms and you could easily find the corresponding reflections in the real world. Hand writing takes the form of typing, face-to-face communication takes form of internet chat, and nuclear experiments take the form of computer simulation. All in all, there are reflections in virtual society for the practices in real world.
Second, the same as real practice, virtual practice has its clear purpose. For real practices, participants set up a clear goal to impact the objective world under their willingness. Just as real practice, virtual practice without purposes is not existed. Every participant tries to fulfill their needs by undertaking virtual practice. For instance, we search for the latest news in the internet, communicate with friends in twitter, and entertain ourselves by listening to music and watching movie. Whatever the purposes are, virtue practice is to meet the real needs of people created in the real world.
Lastly, the impacts created by virtue practice are not unreal. Admittedly, virtual practice is completed within the virtual world, but the main participant is human being, who grows up physically and mentally in the real world. What is more, the tools used for virtual practice are also invented and produced in the real world. Therefore, we firmly believe that virtual practice would bring influences to the real society and common people. No one can deny that compliments or criticism in one’s blog will affect people’s mood, shopping online will take real money from your pocket, and virtual driving lessons will equip you with driving skill in the real world. In general, the real society is somehow influenced by virtual practice.
To sum up, real practice is the fundamental of virtual practice, which is also the extension of the real practice. To make the best use of virtual practice, we should not stick to the rules and values of real world to restrain its development, and neither should we leave it unregulated to cause society issues. What we need to do is to invent a new set of guidance to make a fair and justice virtual society to benefit human being.
Floridi’s remarks about PI being a sort of “demiurgology” might in fact be far more real and true than he suspects. The reason PI is starting to and needs to step out of the impasses of continental philosophy is the re-emergence of the god of Occasionalism. The Cartesian god, the single cause, the mediator of all relations, the guarantor and creator of all truth is becoming real. The Cybernetic Organon is the prosthetic reincarnation of the god of networks, the connector, the truth-maker; but this time there is no guarantee of an infinite benevolence or even omnipotence (which would in turn guarantee the former good will), because the brain that crowns the forehead of this prosthetic god is not a human mind, not a mind at all, but a non-representational, non-informational, data-engine that powers all information and connects all humans into the network in the most efficient manner: flattened subjects, flat ontologies.
It is in view of this gradual assembling and becoming of the Cartesian god in the guise of the cybernetic “schema of intelligibility” (Simondon’s term; interestingly, he deems it to be the second of such schemas, the first being the Cartesian Method) that philosophy needs to bridge the analytic and the European so as to produce the adequate concepts.
Floridi thinks that the death of the engineer is at an end; he is wrong if by that he means not the philosophy of engineering but engineering qua technical problem-solving and design: the latter only started to become obsolete when information as such was invented through the feedback machines of Wiener. The cybernetic organ, characterized best by the famous Tortoises as well as by the behavioral-based robotics of Brooks and even the more recent DeepMind AI gamer (the latter a superb example of unsupervised machine learning), puts an end to the necessity of the Engineer who works on the two Leibnizian principles of harmony and sufficient reason: the Leibnizian monad, one will recall, is characterized by its lack of “windows” and as such unable to sense and adapt itself to its changing environment. Like the monad, the engineering artefact (i.e. he artefacts that predate the cybernetic or those that have no adaptive mechanisms, the latter decreasing in number very rapidly in the recent years) cannot access and/or adapt itself to the changes, the mutations that might and do occur in any given environment or milieu, and, unable to creatively alter its own behavior and modus operandi, the artefact has to rely on, depend on, the fore-sight of its designer (the engineer). The engineer has to base his deployment of the artefact into the world on the principle of harmony, i.e. that things are so designed to behave in certain ways towards one another. The ultimate and most familiar form of this principle is the engineer’s necessary trust in the consistency of the laws of nature, by virtue of which engineering condemns itself to the absurdities of Hume’s paradox, while the adaptive mechanisms of the cybernetic organ allow it function even in the case of change in the fundamental laws of nature. Remembering Meillassoux’s thought experiment involving the worlds invented by a fiction beyond science (as opposed to SF), we can say that the cybernetic organ can function in any of the worlds which are characterized by the possibility of changes occurring in the fundamental laws of nature (not too frequently as too destroy everything however), while the engineered artefact or device has to be entirely cast aside with every change of the world, hence this form of science and technics would not be very tenable there; and they are no longer tenable here.
In the Kierkegaardian period of “irresponsibility” exemplified by the philosophy of Derrida and all its analogs, the separation of the qualitative and the quantitative becomes absolute: the scientist approaches the data with a preconceived decision, transcendent to the data (qualitative, on the other side of the leap); the data is just a quantitative aggregation, and as such can never become a hypothesis and most certainly not a “belief” for the latter stands on the level of the qualitative and is infinitely removed from the data. The possibility of a (direct) link or bridge between data and hypothesis or belief is completely denied and all forms of inference are questioned and problematized in favor of a Kantian a priori predication or at best a synthetic a priori judgment. Despite all its claims at being iconoclastic, the “postmodern” forms remained deeply Kantian.
Now we have entered a new period, one of inference without hypothesis, or rather one of prediction without explanation. Now, under the aegis of the cybernetic god, there is a connection between belief and data: in fact, the former is (more or less) reduced to the latter (completely so in the ideal form of the Cybernetic Organon) in order to ensure a complete immanence of the subject to the object, or rather, the individual to the world/environment/milieu. From the epistemological philosophy of the post-Kantian era we are now emerging into an era of metaphysics and ontology that is fundamentally and irrevocably nominalist.
One of the main traits of the Cartesian god that finds itself re-realized in the cybernetic one is the handling of the non-representational and the unexplained, such as the unconscious movement of the body or the learning of languages. The thing that stands to be answered still is the question of intelligence qua creativity qua core of life: Descartes attributed all causation and mediation to a god who recreated, re-willed the entire universe at each and every moment, but nevertheless assigned the human being the capacity of thought, the thinking substance that is the soul. It is because of this spark of intelligence, unique to humans, that Descartes can maintain an automaton can never hold a conversation (because it is supposedly unable to respond to the changes of environment, i.e. the turns the conversation might take). So, too, goes with Malebranche and his theory of the divine cloud (of knowing), which contains all knowledge and information.
- Floridi, L. The philosophy of information. Oxford University Press: Oxford, England, 2011, pp. 20-23.
- Kierkegaard, S. Concluding unscientific postscript to the Philosophical crumbs, Cambridge University Press: Cambridge, UK, 2009.
Representations of information quality imply a clear and understandable presentation of the information (Arazy & Kopak, 2011; Lee, Strong, Kahn and Wang, 2002; Liu, 2004). Information quality criteria include accuracy and objectivity of the author and source. Information which is accurate is considered reliable and correct, and information that is complete provides all necessary information from a utilitarian perspective. Information which is objective provides an impartial view of the topic. However, information which is false is still considered information, but evaluated under various objective criteria may not be considered quality information. Information quality is one dimension of relevance as part of information consumption (Taylor, 2012a).
The cross-disciplinary approach used here will examine the consumption of information within the context of information science relevance theory, consumerism, postmodernism, and significant changes in information technology, providing some historical context and examining the impact of this convergence. Relevant arguments and theory will be presented as evidence of the impact of this convergence on the quality of information.
That information is “a difference that makes a difference” implies causal relationships between information bits. These relationships may include the consumption or use of information. In information science, the study of information retrieval (IR) systems examines the consumption of information through systems which allow the search and retrieval of documents. Relevance theory in information science examines information use from a user's perspective as a utilitarian concept. A document retrieved from an IR system is considered relevant if it has utility in fulfilling the information requirement of the user. Evaluations of relevance by the user involve the use of various relevance criteria for document evaluation which include characteristics of information quality.
When information consumption is viewed from the perspective of consumerism it is cast into a capitalistic economic model where information consumers may view information as yet another market product to be consumed at the lowest cost. Information producers seek profit by lowering the cost of production and enticing consumption through production of information which suits the bias of a particular audience. Due to the confluence of these forces, information quality may be of limited concern where information is a product in a market transaction.
Dimensions of information quality can be examined in relation to consumerism and postmodernism. Postmodern thought embraces the market and consumerism. Information production (journalism, mass media) is yet another cultural product in the market. Information production cast into the market framework is influenced by the revised sequence of capital consumer markets where demand control through advertising and marketing and pursuit of additional surplus value impact the quality of information. This leads to biased and fragmented dissemination of information. Breakdown of traditional control structures is another side effect of this convergence, leading to prosumerism (amateur) information dissemination with similar impacts on information quality.
Information is consumed from a source. Media products provide information and in a world with ubiquitous technology the Internet increasingly provides access to these media sources and thus represent a significant nexus of control. Managers at Google, the most popular Internet search engine in the world, claim to answer more than one billion search queries a day (Google-1, 2013; Sullivan, 2013). For a significant demographic segment of the general population, almost any consumption of information is filtered through an Internet search engine operated by a private business (Rowlands et al, 2008; Pew, 2012). That these search engines are owned and operated by private, for-profit businesses is yet another problematic dimension of the consumption of information.
The postmodern view sees a world of conflicting information and acknowledges the difficulty of finding an objective truth. It is unclear where critical evaluation of information quality characteristics such as source authority and objectivity exist in this worldview.
In a business with profit motive, veracity or quality of information may be secondary to profit, or without social pressure to the contrary, information quality may not even be a consideration. Postmodernism acknowledges the consolidation of knowledge, technology and production and recognizes the power that information holds in this scenario.
The postmodernists readily acknowledge the subjective truth and find difficulty in the pursuit of objective truths. Consumerism converges with postmodernism in the production of knowledge in a capitalistic society. Jean-Francois Lyotard saw the growing connection between knowledge production and capital markets and saw the potential for problems. As he foresaw, knowledge is now a salable commodity in an environment where it has lost its truth value and is consumed largely on the basis of its utility value (use-value) (Lyotard, 1984). It is possible that those who have come of age with the pervasive information cacophony of the Internet gather information from fragmented, disjointed information sources of dubious value and have little concern about the veracity or authority of those sources. They evaluate information sources as subjective, not objective, and regard critical evaluation of the information and the source as a task to be managed by some other individual or by the technology involved (Gross and Latham, 2011; Taylor, 2012b, Harley et al, 2001).
This discussion provides some evidence that the convergence of consumerism, postmodernism and broad technical access to a variety of information sources has had an impact on both the perception of what information is and on the quality of information being disseminated and consumed. It provides a basis for further discussion and examination.
References and Notes
Arazy, O., & Kopak, R. (2011). “On the measurability of information quality”, Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology, 62(1), 89-99.
Google (2013), Facts about Google. retrieved on 6/27/2013 available at http://www.google.com/competition/howgooglesearchworks.html
Gross, M., & Latham, D. (2011). Experiences with and perceptions of information: A phenomenographic study of first-year college students. Library Quarterly, 81(2),161-186.
Gross, M., & Latham, D. (2011). Experiences with and perceptions of information: A phenomenographic study of first-year college students. Library Quarterly, 81(2),161-186.
Harley, B.,, Dreger, M., & Knobloch, P. (2001), The postmodern condition: students, the Web, and academic library services. Reference Services Review, 29(1),23-32.
Harley, B.,, Dreger, M., & Knobloch, P. (2001), The postmodern condition: students, the Web, and academic library services. Reference Services Review, 29(1),23-32.
Lee, Y.W., Srong, D.M., Kahn, B.K., Wang, R.Y. (2002). AIMQ: A methodology for information quality assessment. Information and Management, 40(2), 133-146.
Liu, Z. (2004). Perceptions of credibility and scholarly information on the web.. Information Processing and Management, 40(6), 1027-1038.
Lyotard, J.F (1984), The Postmodern Condition: A Report on Knowledge, Manchester: Manchester University Press.
Pew (2012), “Pew Research Center – Search Engine Use 2012”. retrieved on 6/30/2013 available at http://www.pewinternet.org/Press-Releases/2012/Search-Engine-Use-2012.aspx#
Rowlands, I., Nicholas, D., Williams, P., Huntington, P., Fieldhouse, M., Gunter, B., Withey, B., Jamali, H. R., Dobrowolski, T., and Tenopir, C. (2008), The Google generation: the information behaviour of the researcher of the future. ASLib Proceedings, 60(4),290 – 310.
Sullivan, D. (2013). Google Still World’s Most Popular Search Engine By Far, But Share Of Unique Searchers Dips Slightly. retrieved on 6/27/2013 available at http://searchengineland.com/google-worlds-most-popular-search-engine-148089
Taylor, A. R. (2012a), User relevance criteria choices and the information search process. Information Processing and Management, 48(12),136-153.
Taylor, A. (2012b. "A study of the information search behaviour of the millennial generation" Information Research, 17(1) paper 508. [Available at http://InformationR.net/ir/17-1/paper508.html]