September 2011


By José María Díaz Nafría (University of León, Spain), Rainer Zimmermann (Munich University of Applied Sciences)

Though the hermeneutical cycle could be represented by the famous adagio of Heraclitus “the way up and the way down is one and the same”, in strict sense the cycle of interpretation is intrinsically irreversible. Such irreversibility is also inherent to thermodynamic and informational cycles, as well as to the evolution of complexity in the universe from the most elementary interaction of matter – as represented by spin networks – to the creation of molecules, biological structures, cognitive and social systems, as discussed in the first part. Such argued “skeleton-of-the-universe” provides as well an upwards path to the hierarchical evolution of complexity, as a downwards path to interpret and modify reality. The argued fundamentality in the emergence of regularities and meaning imposes essential constraints to the interaction with the world when we aim at interpreting it. One of these emergencies – relevant to our means of awareness – is represented by electromagnetic fields, which correspond to the regularity arising from the interaction of a more elementary level of matter. Our vision (even if assisted by microscopic techniques) is strictly constrained to the structural regularities of the electromagnetic fields. It is easy to show from the corresponding structural constraints that the world is not as we observe it. However, since we are products of the world as well – i.e. attached to the same skeleton-of-the-universe –, the very complexity of our mechanism of awareness has the possibility of creatively imagining reality, similar as the world creates it. Information – in a cognitive sense, which can be derived from a wider perspective of information in other natural processes – correspond to the actualization of this creative imagination while interacting with the world. This interaction imposes a non-reversible path in the interpretation of reality.

  • Access to the presentation at the interdisciplinary workshop on information and technology: “The Difference That Make a Difference” DTMAD-2010 at the Open University, Milton Keynes, UK, September, 2011
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By Rainer Zimmermann (Munich University of Applied Sciences), José María Díaz Nafría (University of León, Spain)

In this first part of the paper, the category of meaning is traced forward starting from the origin of the Universe itself as well as its very grounding in pre-geometry. Different from many former approaches in the theories of information and also in biosemiotics, we will show that the forms of meaning emerge simultaneously (alongside) with information. Hence, information is always meaningful (in a sense to be explicated) rather than meaning showing up as a later specification of information within social systems only. This perspective taken has two immediate consequences: 1. We follow the GDI as defined by Floridi, though we modify it somehow as to the aspect of truthfulness. 2. We can conceptually solve Capurro’s trilemma. Hence, what we actually do is to follow the strict (i.e. optimistic) line of UTI in the sense of Hofkirchner’s. While doing this, we treat matter, energy, and information as three different categorial aspects of one and the same underlying primordial structure. We thus demonstrate the presently developing convergence of physics, biology, and computer science (as well as the various theories of information) in some detail and draft out a line of argument eventually leading up to the further unification of UTI and biosemiotics.