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Bits, Bytes, and Other Distinctions which make a Difference From the Laws of Form to a Sociocybernetic Concept of Information Bernd R. Hornung Giessen and Marburg University Hospital GmbH, Germany ISA – International Sociological Association RC51 on Sociocybernetics XVIth WORLD CONGRESS OF SOCIOLOGY The Quality of Social Existence in a Globalising World Durban, South Africa, July 23-29, 2006

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This paper is available at: URL: http://www.unizar.es/sociocybernetics/

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ISA RC51 on Sociocybernetics3 The Babylon of Information Knowledge Cyber and other societies

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ISA RC51 on Sociocybernetics4 Information SHANNON INFORMATION and Technical Communication Sender Receiver Channel Encode Decode Set of Signs Set of Signs Sign(s) across the channel = Message NEW ? If YES = Info Avail.

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ISA RC51 on Sociocybernetics5 AN ALTERNATIVE: STONIER INFORMATION Including Shannon as Special Case - Growth of Crystals - Genetic Code - Negentropy/Structure/Regularity

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ISA RC51 on Sociocybernetics6 CONDENSATION AND CHUNKING Condensation (Spencer-Brown): (a + b – c) * 3 = G Write „G“ instead of the full equation Chunking (Miller): Houses & Streets & People = Village Say „Village“ instead of listing details

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ISA RC51 on Sociocybernetics7 Traditional Concepts 1)Information as a general concept 2)Information as a specific concept 3)Knowledge 4)Meaning 5)Sign 6)Symbol One selection, bit, chunk, condensation A difference, pattern, bit making a difference An area of inter-related chunks of inform. Network of relations starting from one chunk Something representing a specific chunk of inf. Something representig a conglomerate of inf.

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A non-Luhmannian Approach based on Spencer-Brown

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ISA RC51 on Sociocybernetics9 What about Spencer-Brown ? A mathematician discovering the roots of math Which has important philosophical implications It permits a constructivist consistent explanation from the monistic to the binary and to complexity From the blank sheet – „SPACE“ - to distinctions, complex expressions of dist., numbers, higher mathemtics and imaginary numbers The „Calculus of Indications“ uses non-binary indications (marks, „crosses“), it leads: From „primary arithmetics“ to „primary algebra“ (incl. variables) and to „Re-entry“ (recursive functions) Logic is NOT the basis but a branch of mathematics Mathematics and Logic - not „things“ but cognitions

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ISA RC51 on Sociocybernetics10 The Mathematical Calculus of Indications The mathematical „Calculus of Distinctions“ permits to develop the concepts of: Numbers Imaginary numbers Paradoxes (involving oscillations leading to... ) Space (in the normal sense) Time (in the normal sense) Logic The Rest of „Normal“ and complex mathematics

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ISA RC51 on Sociocybernetics11 Draw (a) Distinction(s) Space SB Me Reality W The Epistemic Subject G The Observed World - Actuality W - Me Self-observed Empirical self Re-entered SB

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ISA RC51 on Sociocybernetics12 Clarify the Scene Space SB Reality W Me: The Epistemic Subject G The Observed World Me: The Empirical self Tunneling

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ISA RC51 on Sociocybernetics13 The Inside and the Outside Observer Space SB Reality W Me: Epistemic Subject G The Observed World Me: The Empirical self Me Empirical self Inside Self -repres. Observed World Objects Information Other Humans Outside Inside Experience

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ISA RC51 on Sociocybernetics14 We don´t look out to the world...

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ISA RC51 on Sociocybernetics15 We look inside the world... REALITY ACTUALITY Epistemic Subject Empirical Subjects/Observers Science and Ontology

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ISA RC51 on Sociocybernetics16 Observing and Distinguishing the World Space SB Reality W Me: Epistemic Subject G The Observed World Me: The Empirical self Me Empirical self World Information Other Humans Objects

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ISA RC51 on Sociocybernetics17 Inside: The Empirical Self Space SB Reality W Me: Epistemic Subject G The Observed World Me: The Empirical self Empirical self World Other Human Inside from Outside The Psychologist´s View BODY - Perception - Sensation - Thinking - Feeling MIND

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ISA RC51 on Sociocybernetics18 Outside: Objects and Embodied Knowledge Space SB Reality W Me: Epistemic Subject G The Observed World Me: The Empirical self Empirical self World Information Signs Symbols (Scientific) Knowledge Meaning

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ISA RC51 on Sociocybernetics19 Sociocybernetic Concepts 1)Information as a general concept 2)Information as a specific concept 3)Knowledge 4)Meaning 5)Sign 6)Symbol A specific (set of) distinctions, e.g. a concept Any distinction, e.g. a bit An area of inter-related sets of distinctions Network of relations starting from a distinction Something repres. a specific (set of) distinctions Something repr. a conglomerate of distinctions

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ISA RC51 on Sociocybernetics20 REFERENCES SPENCER-BROWN, George: Laws of Form - Gesetze der Form, Übersetzung: Thomas Wolf, Bohmeier Verlag, Lübeck 1997 [1/1969] LAU, Felix: Die Form der Paradoxie, Eine Einführung in die Mathematik und Philosophie der "Laws of Form" von George Spencer Brown, Mit einem Vorwort von Peter Fuchs, 1. Aufl., Carl-Auer-Systeme Verlag, Heidelberg 2005 SHANNON, Claude E.; WEAVER, Warren: The Mathematical Theory of Communication, Fourth printing of the paperback edition, University of Illinois Press, Urbana, Ill. 1969 [1/1949] STONIER, Tom: Information and the Internal Structure of the Universe, An Exploration into Information Physics, Springer- Verlag, Berlin, Heidelberg, New York, Tokyo 1990

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ISA RC51 on Sociocybernetics21 ENDE FIN THE END Beach Party !!!!

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