Zimmermann-p1By Rainer E. Zimmermann (Munich University of Applied Sciences, Germany; Clark Hall – Cambridge, UK)

Included in: Coenen, Hofkirchner, Díaz-Nafría (eds.) New ICTs and Social Media: Revolutions, Counter-Revolutions and Social Change, IRIE, vol. 18

Abstract: Starting from a formal and abstract perspective, the concept of networks is introduced with a view to possible connections to other fields of the sciences and to practical applications. The structural hierarchy of forms is identified expressing the conceptual organization of our observable world. In the case of social networks, it can be shown that they exhibit a characteristic type of self-reference, a result of their special relationship to the conditions of the human modes of cognition and communication. As to a possible derivation of strategic attitudes, it can be shown that a re-vitalization of the ancient concept of kalokagathía could turn out to be helpful in tackling present everyday problems. Hence, choosing the perspective of an explicit network paradigm entails a new reconciliation of aesthetics and ethics, respectively, including multifarious implications for a suitable foundation of praxis within pertinent crisis management.

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Fleissner-p1By Peter Karl Fleissner (Vienna University of Technology)

Included in: Coenen, Hofkirchner, Díaz-Nafría (eds.) New ICTs and Social Media: Revolutions, Counter-Revolutions and Social Change, IRIE, vol. 18

Abstract: As contemporary scientific images of the economy by mainstream economists neglect historical changes, a method is needed to deal with the opportunities and possibilities of qualitative change, in particular in a period of evident crises. This paper sketches a methodology of reflecting the economy as an evolutionary/revolutionary process. There are two main reasons for that: The first is that scholars should think of reality in a more appropriate way, taking the fact into account that qualitative changes of the type of the economic reproduction process happened in the past and there is no reason that they will not also happen in future, the second, that new political movements demand a better life for all, not only for one per cent of the people.

Cover of the special issueSpecial Issue of the International Review of Information Ethics edited by

Christopher Coenen (Karlsruhe Institute of Technology), Wolfgang Hofkirchner (Vienna University of Technology) and José María Díaz Nafría (Munich University of Applied Sciences; Universidad de León)

This special issue, recently published in the Journal chaired by our colleague Rafael Capurro, compiles among other works the contributions done in the International Event “Social networks: from indignation to change (ethical, political and aesthetical aspects)” held in the summer of 2012 in León, as a result of the cooperation among BITrum, the University of León (Spain), the Munich University of Applied Science and other institutions (hosted within this website). Besides the editorial work of three BITrum members (two acting as guest), the issue collects a good representation of articles authored by BITrum members: Rainer Zimmermann, Peter Fleissner, Julian Marcelo. These contributions delve into relevant aspects of BITrum’s endeavors, in particular regarding philosophical, economic and social dimensions. (more…)

p1-Emergence and Evolution of Meaning-TripleCBy José María Díaz Nafría (University of León, Spain), Rainer Zimmermann (Munich University of Applied Sciences)

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 and energy. Hence, information is always meaningful (in a sense to be explicated) rather than its meaning would show 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 energy and information as two different categorial aspects of one and the same underlying primordial structure.

  • Full article published in TripleC, 11(1), 13-35,  Special Issue: The Difference that Makes a Difference 2011, published in Dec.2012

p1-Emergence and Evolution of Meaning-Part 1By 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 starting from the origin of the Universe itself as well as its very grounding in pre-geometry (the second part deals with an appropriate bottom-up approach). In contrast to 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 and energy. Hence, information can be visualized as being always meaningful (in a sense to be explicated) rather than visualizing meaning 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 energy and information as two 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.

First page of the power point presentation

By José María Díaz Nafría (University of León, Spain; Munich University of Applied Sciences, Germany)

It is the purpose of this contribution arguing that emergence, on the one hand, exists as something new in nature; on the other hand, that it is something transcending classical computation. To this end, it is suggested a careful generalization of the concept of agency, proposed by Stuart Kauffman as system able to perform at least one thermodynamic work cycle, throughout all the levels of complexity – from pre‐geometry to social contexts –. We set off from the level of pre‐geometry (described in terms of spin networks in the sense of Roger Penrose) leading up to social systems. At this higher level, we deal with agents who have self‐reflection and try to reconstruct objects and situations from essentially limited information. To that purpose hermeneutical agency is introduced, in which the cycles defined by observation‐representation can be seen in thermodynamic terms, and is the goal for such agent the reduction of the complexity of the related representation, generally linked to some pragmatic situation. At this level, innovation can be visualized, in the best case, as emergence in social contexts. But in order to move throughout all the latter of complexity, we propose as unifying principle that the pair energy‐matter can be regarded alongside the pair information‐structure (representing such bipolarity the difference and relation between potentiality and actuality). Whereas energy is conceptualized as potentiality to perform work (change), we claim that information can be visualized – from the outset – as potentiality to utilize such work in benefit of the organization of the system, being structure the actualization of such organization potential represented by information. Since the beneficial use of work is fundamental for defining agency, this general understanding of information facilitate the task of properly extending the concept of agency to the whole hierarchy of complexity and to visualize agents as playing natural games at the different levels. Using such viewpoint we shall map, on the one hand, agency dynamics through game theoretical applications; on the other hand, evolutionary system dynamics through mathematical category theory.

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