Unification


José María Díaz Nafría (Science of Information Institute, Washington, U.S.A; Universidad de León, Spain) and Francisco Salto Alemany (Area of Logic and Philosophy of science, Universidad de León,Spain)

Abstract of the paper: A trans-disciplinary frame is proposed, aimed at addressing the very understanding of information in all its variety. It aims at unifying perspectives and integrating techniques from different fields of knowledge and practice, searching for the most overarching account of information phenomena, a better formalization of real processes and a global stance towards problems concerning information. Such research frame might try to answer: Which are the basic distinct accounts of information to be applied in fields from telecommunication to philosophy, from biology to documentation, from logic to quantum physics? Which are the minimum primitive concepts that may cover all of them? Is a unified theory feasible? Could a better information measure be found? Could the societal and practical interest be better preserved in an integrated perspective of information?

The methodological proposal aims at opening a space for the interweaving of different scientific frameworks (characterized by specific paradigms and methodologies) to delve into the very landscape of information, searching for a transdisciplinary treatment of theoretical, technical and practical problems concerning information. It is based on an already active interdisciplinary International community and a critical mass of research groups at the global level. By means of bridging these communities, a new transdisciplinary science of information might emerge as an integrated framework in which information will be considered in all its formal, natural, cognitive, social, technical, ethical and philosophical aspects.

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Roberto Gejman (Computer Science Departament, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, Santiago, CHILE)

An integrated set of definitions and distinctions in the information, communication and knowledge field is proposed.  It is argued that more attention must be given to records, usually confused with information.  Descriptions are shown to be the fundamental facts behind information. Information is defined as an abstract concept, free of material or syntactic constraints.  Information is observer free but it is dependent on the shared ontological background of communities. The world may be characterized as being structured by only six components.  Knowledge is the capacity to act effectively and it is not information. Information quantity and its relation with the entropy of physical systems are shown to be more ambiguous and less important than they are usually thought of.  It is argued that information studies should move on from these old concerns to confront the vital information challenges in this globalized information society with information superabundance.

  • Full article published in Triple C, 7(2), special issue What is really information?
  • Spanish article published in ¿Qué es información?, 2008

Wolfgang HOFKIRCHNER (Universidad Salzburgo)

The paper deals with the necessity and feasibility of an integrated information theory. It develops guidelines for how to conceive information in a way that avoids the pitfalls of certain ways of thinking like reductionism, projectivism or disjunctivism.

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Pedro MARIJUÁN (Foundations of Information Science)

The advancement of a new scientific perspective, information science, devoted to the study of the vast field of informational phenomena in nature and society, implies putting together a number of cognizing domains which are presently scattered away in many other disciplines. Comparable to previous scientific revolutions spurred by thermodynamics and quantum mechanics, it would be time to go beyond the classical discussions on the concept of information, and associated formal theories, and advance a “new way of thinking”. Cells, Brains, Societies, and Quantum information would be crucial arenas for this discussion. Rather than hierarchy, reduction, or unification, the catchword is unending recombination… A mature information science should offer a new panoramic view on the sciences themselves and contribute to achieve social adaptability & sustainability.

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Juan LARA (Universidad Salamanca)

The living features of cells constitute an information flow from a central database, the nuclear DNA, to molecular effectors, proteins, which are synthesized in the cytoplasm. This flow comprises two changes in information units: transcription and translation. Transcription is carried out in the nucleus and consists on the transduction of specific instructions from the DNA to an intermediary, the RNA, which in its canonical form is a messenger (mRNA) that takes out information from the cell nucleus. In the cytoplasm, information of the messenger gives the commands for a specialized molecular complex to build a specific protein. After conformation regulation, proteins are integrated as structural and/or functional units in the complex network of biological functions in the cell.

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Alfredo MARCOS (Universidad Valladolid)

The concept of information has become central in our civilization, so much so that we call our societies information societies. I go on to defend a concept of information as a triadic relationship involving a message, a receiver, and a system of reference. This concept contributes to producing a general measure of information, as well as aids in integrating the measure and specific uses of the concept of information into a single framework. Finally, I develop a general measure of information that is based on this concept.

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Roberto GEJMAN (Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile)

This paper proposes a set of distinctions that may be helpful for the classification and taxonomy of the various theories, approaches, ideas and definitions of the concept of information. It hopes to offer a place as neutral as possible to locate, compare, classify and discuss the quite large amount of those developments. The main benefit is to be able to clean up the discussion from dialogues that expend a lot of time and energy in getting at a name consensus, naming ideas or classes of entities, instead of discussing the deep nature of those ideas or entities.
The paper suggest that most known approaches may be expressed in terms of the underlying distinctions and concludes that after giving consensus names to those dis-tinctions, a unified information and knowledge theory may be build.

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