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The Generation and Self-organization of Meaning in the Communication of Information and Redundancy
Loet Leydesdorff 1 , Alexander Petersen 2 , Inga Ivanova 3

1  Amsterdam School of Communication Research (ASCoR), University of Amsterdam, PO Box 15793, 1001 NG Amsterdam, The Netherlands
2  Laboratory for the Analysis of Complex Economic Systems, IMT Institute for Advanced Studies Lucca, 55100 Lucca, Italy
3  Institute for Statistical Studies and Economics of Knowledge, National Research University, Higher School of Economics (NRU HSE), 20 Myasnitskaya St., Moscow, 101000, Russia

Published: 13 November 2015 by MDPI AG in 2nd International Electronic Conference on Entropy and Its Applications in 2nd International Electronic Conference on Entropy and Its Applications
MDPI AG, 10.3390/ecea-2-C005

Following a suggestion of Warren Weaver, we extend Shannon’s linear model of communication piecemeal into a complex systems model. First, we distinguish between communication relations and correlations between patterns of relations. The correlations span a vector space in which relations are positioned and are thus provided with meaning. Second, positions provide perspectives to reflexive receivers. Whereas the different meanings can be integrated locally, each such instantiation opens horizons of meaning that can be codified along eigenvectors of the communication matrix. The interactions among three (or more) codes of communication may generate redundancies (as feedback on the forward arrow of entropy production). Increases in redundancy can be measured as a net reduction of prevailing uncertainty (measurable in bits). This generation of redundancy (options) can be considered as a hallmark of a knowledge-based system (e.g., an economy): new knowledge provides more options than can be realized. Both the communication-theoretical and the operational (information-theoretical) perspectives are further elaborated in the full paper—provisionally entitled “The Self-Organization of Meaning and the Reflexive Communication of Information”—which was in the meantime submitted (preprint version available at

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