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UCD-STAFFORDBEER  March 2010

UCD-STAFFORDBEER March 2010

Subject:

Re: significance of organisational closure (Re: Information closure)

From:

Stefan Wasilewski <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Forum dedicated to the work of Stafford Beer <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Sun, 21 Mar 2010 11:39:55 +0000

Content-Type:

text/plain

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text/plain (79 lines)

Roger 

Please read you text back to front: from bottom to top. Its elements, as usually, are invaluable individual insights but you are wrong about AI to a point in as much that most AI systems failed because of the restrictions the programmers placed on the system they viewed: I know I wrote a lot of expert systems in the 80's - some worked most didn't but I'd make a better job now because of the new knowledge I have.

Information as Alfredo describes is is pure S&W and I can't agree with with you that "this is not about decision making" because in every step from the point that a molecule enters the body to the change in state a vibration has in the inner ear it is about decisions whether made by chemicals, DNA or the trained interpretation of sound in the brain.

I think we should start to collate what we mean by data, information and action because this is the most important part of our community and after that we can talk about whether the collected activities converge into VSM or other types of structures that make sense in discrete time packets- complexity, optimisation etc

Stefan

On 21 Mar 2010, at 10:56, Roger Harnden wrote:

> Alfredo,
> 
> In my understanding it is as follows......but don't forget this is Sunday morning, so my opinion might be a little sloppy.....
> 
> There is organisational closure, and there is the observer. Organisational closure (and all it entails) is an explanatory principle for how such phenomena as the observer may (scientifically-speaking) emerge.
> 
> Maturana shows how, through a simple recursive mechanism (coordinations of coordinations of actions/behaviours), the human being with all its human attributes (emotions, the spiritual, reason, language and so on) can be explained to emerge from a biological fabric. His criticism for most of the human sciences is that they make no attempt to consistently bed human higher attributes in such a biological fabric, but talks as if language, mind, spirit etc somehow appear from nothing. His critique of 'objectivist' physics would be similar. And he is saying that such hard' sciences (as physics, chemistry etc) should take account of the fact that the observer (the one who practices them) is a biological being. This is the same consistent message from McCulloch and Bateson onwards.
> 
> This is not about decision making. Human decisions are in the domain of the observer, and include all the conventional aspects such as intentionality. The 'decisions' of other organisms may be said to exist, but the observer (ourselves) must take account of the scale of different orders of recursive operations. For example, a flagellum (is that correct?) has two degrees of freedom - right rotation or left rotation. A slug has rather more ..........And these are functions of the structural coupling of an organisationally closed nervous system with a molecular fabric in a phenomenal world, the complexity of that nervous system, and the richness of the motor-sensory architecture. The observer should bear this in mind, and - for instance - be cautious in attributing the term 'decision' to the behaviour of a flagellum.
> 
> A decision (as is he case for William Powers) emerges in the domain of behaviour, rather than in the domain of information. Artificial Intelligence fell into the trap of believing that such things as decision might be considered relevant for an isolated brain - that information was somehow, mysteriously a function of brain activity and some sort of external, physical data. Hence its limited achievements.
> 
> As is the case for Stafford (and VSM), information is grounded in the coupling of nervous system, the molecular organism and phenomenal environment along a dynamic trajectory of cyclical recurrences which contain no singularities (no data). Singularities are abstracted from this patterning through the higher human attributes (reflection, experimentation, language, thought, social exchange etc). An 'item' (a datum) must be something denoted, else does not exist as 'a datum'. Organisms of all sorts, abstract phenomena that they connote as data, that they treat as if denoted, but which are determined in their significance for the particular organism through recurrent behavioural interactions. Human are no exception. We point to 'that tree there' and in our languaging interactions assume that an item (a datum) has been indicated. What has actually occurred is that a convention of language has been attached to a behavioural interaction, and a general term ('tree') has been treated as if it might particularise or specify a singularity. A singularity might indeed have been indicated but language cannot deal with it.....and hence the whole of the scientific endeavour.
> 
> To repeat, our languaging interactions do not and cannot accommodate singularities. Languaging interactions generate and depend  upon meaning (cyclical recurrences).
> 
> A decision exists as part of this process of languaging. Mistakes are liable to arise when things such as decisions, are treated as existing outside this process - as if they have a privileged place over such a process. This doesn't lessen the significance of such things as decisions, but brackets any claims that either decisions or information 'leading to' decisions are somehow to do with objectivity.
> 
> Best wishes
> 
> 
> Roger
> 
> 
> 
> On 21 Mar 2010, at 10:07, Alfredo Moscardini wrote:
> 
>> I have been following the exchanges on Information closure very carefully and wish to know if my thoughts below are correct.
>> 
>> 1 Organisationally closed means that all decision making is internal.
>> 
>> 2 Autopoetic entities are structurally coupled with their environment in the sense that changes in the environemnt can ( or may)  trigger changes in the entity and vice versa
>> 
>> 3 To enable this to happen, an autopoetic entity has sensors that pck up parameter changes in the environment
>> 
>> 4 these are simply data sensors and what is passed from the environment to the entity is simply facts or data - it is not information
>> 
>> 5 information is data that has been embued with meaning or purpose which is not needed by the entity - only data
>> 
>> 6  So there is information closure but exchange of data
>> 
>> Is this a correct interpretation of what has been said - I am particularly interested to know if it fits with Lucs interpretation
>> 
>> Alfredo
>> 
>> ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ For more information go to: www.metaphorum.org For the Metaphorum Collaborative Working Environment (MCWE) go to: www.platformforchange.org METAPHORUM eList Archive available at - https://listserv.heanet.ie/ucd-staffordbeer.html Archive of CYBCOM eList available at - http://hermes.circ.gwu.edu/archives/cybcom.html ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
> 
> ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
> For more information go to: www.metaphorum.org
> 
> For the Metaphorum Collaborative Working Environment (MCWE) go to:  www.platformforchange.org
> 
> METAPHORUM eList Archive available at - https://listserv.heanet.ie/ucd-staffordbeer.html
> 
> Archive of CYBCOM eList available at - http://hermes.circ.gwu.edu/archives/cybcom.html
> ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

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For more information go to: www.metaphorum.org

For the Metaphorum Collaborative Working Environment (MCWE) go to:  www.platformforchange.org

METAPHORUM eList Archive available at - https://listserv.heanet.ie/ucd-staffordbeer.html

Archive of CYBCOM eList available at - http://hermes.circ.gwu.edu/archives/cybcom.html
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