These notes are excerpts, mostly taken from my email correspondence conducted in the English language during the period from January 2007 up to September 2013.
Civilization has always required equity. Mutually enhancing relationships develop, with participants balancing, and thereby benefiting from, varied interests.
We’ve now become an information society, too.
dotindividual, Center for Information Equity, promotes equitable information rights (including duties, obligations) for people and their organizations to prosper in an increasingly interdependent world.
Information equity rests on a straightforward principle, a basic human right made explicit:
personal information is personal property.
The principle serves as the foundation of the ●i Charter.
Based on the ●i Charter, dotindividual offers a variety of tracks for ●i Compliance certification, corresponding to interactional involvement with personal information. In the information society, especially organizations in both the private and the public sector need to be able to demonstrate in practice how they contribute to information equity.
I would add the category of frequently raised objections.
[email message to the Office of the Standardisation Forum, Netherlands]
I am very glad to hear about the interest representatives of the Danish government have shown in your efforts to coordinate semantic consistency between core registers (persons, buildings, addresses, etc.), and beyond. Of course, I am equally happy to supply some references your counterparts might have a look at as far as necessary innovation of information management/engineering is concerned.
First of all, a vision is required of information management at the comprehensive scale of society, ultimately indeed, of the global community of societies. I’ve outlined such a vision in Civil information management, a short introduction: an information discipline for society and the metaphor of traffic (in: PrimaVera, Amsterdam University, 2007). Abstract:
With pervasive digital interconnectivity, the limited
perspective of the separate organization is increasingly causing social
problems while opportunities remain unrecognized and are therefore being
missed. Complementing more or less traditional IS, a disciplined approach is
urgently also required for information exchange/traffic at the scale of
society. Analogous with civil engineering providing for physical
infrastructure, I’ve labeled it civil information engineering or management.
Whereas civil as in civil engineering originated as a departure from military engineering, civil information management should right away orient itself at civilization, i.e. supporting civic values and civil rights. Please note that infrastructure is not confined to material resources. Especially for regulating (information) traffic, infrastructure includes the legal framework, rules, procedures, etcetera. Illustrating civil information management, several themes are explained from an infrastructural perspective: authenticity, activity, authorization, audit trail, and archiving.
Social actors, participating as they do in ‘information traffic,’ are essentially interdependent. We therefore need, secondly, a practical guide on how to unambiguously model interdependency. My paper Ontology for interdependency: steps to an ecology of information management (in: PrimaVera, Amsterdam University, 2007) provides a general introduction. I admit that it’s not easy reading all the way. But then, we’re not really dealing with a simple problem. Otherwise, it would have already been solved long ago. Abstract:
There’s no lack of visionaries referring to the information society. Any vision may be considered a highly abstract design. Often to the dismay of its proponents, a particular vision’s credibility, if not outright proof, ultimately depends largely on most practical, mundane engineering. Can it be made to actually work? Is the information infrastructure at all feasible to reliably, readily implement it? This paper presents as a direction for information management to widen its scope of rigorous relevance. An ontology is sketched for unambiguously capturing limitless behavioral variety. It requires shifting the grounding perspective to interdependency.
Thirdly, the actual method used for semantically aligning not just core registers, actually, but information in general is called metapattern. I’ve published extensively on metapattern, with my book Metapattern: context and time in information models (Addison-Wesley, 2001) as the source text. Part I of the book explains metapattern’s (quite straightforward) visual formalism. I’ve reproduced it as the paper The pattern of metapattern: ontological formalization of context and time for open interconnection (in: PrimaVera, Amsterdam University, 2004). Abstract:
Metapattern is a technique for (meta)information analysis and modeling. Context and time are critically important, allowing for adjustment (or re-adjustment) of a model to time-induced and/or situational changes which it must account for in order to maintain its integrity. Context is included as a formal variable within information sets, instead of seeing context, often implicitly and therefore unrecognized, as an informal presupposition that is kept outside. An information object may appear in multiple contexts, with unambiguously corresponding variety of behavior. By paying consistent attention to the aspect of time, the approach is augmented even further.
I can well imagine that even (especially?) after having read those three
papers, all sorts of questions remain. Or that even more questions emerge. As a
follow-up I suggest that it might help to translate into English the actual
joint model we’ve developed for several of the Dutch core registers plus social
security (with relationships extending to other domains, e.g. education).
Translating the model proper doesn’t take much effort; it’s a matter of just changing labels. However, I feel you should be able to personally offer explanation to prevent misinterpretation. It is easy to miss what such a model captures when looking at it from the familiar, say, pre-civil paradigm. [Presently, I produced an English-language version of the “joint model;” see Open system of systems' semantics: practice pattern, beyond central registers etc..]
On benefiting from Metapattern supplies a more popular pitch for metapattern. It repeats “opportunities [arising from] coordinating semantic differentiation regardless of scope.”
When you think that I might be of assistance, please don’t hesitate to relay any (further) questions your counterparts might want having answered.
There's actually only one issue on which I beg to disagree, even in principle ... from a much-widened perspective. ;-) The "main points" you are raising are not at all "two rather different points." Semantics (pragmatics) at the scale of society is indeed a "cross-cutting concern" because society's members have such differentiated ... concerns. It simply means we need cross-cutting facilities, call it infrastructure, too, for exchanging expressions for our inherently pluriform concerns. At the scale of diversity, therefore, semantics is in fact at the very heart of infrastructure. And it needs to be supported by qualitatively congruent measures for technical and organizational interoperability. It's precisely this problem/opportunity, i.e. starting from semantics, that I'm addressing with Metapattern as a method for conceptual information modeling regardless of scale. I've recently written a series of reports reconstructing models to suit society's scale. At the request of and commissioned by the Office of the Standardisation Forum, I've compiled those models into a single 'illustration.' Now there's a Dutch term available to indicate the relevant scale: stelsel. In English, system is not quite adequate which is why I chose system of systems as the translation. So, the illustration's English version title reads: Open system of systems' semantics. I add a note of warning; you need it printed at A0 paper format for sufficient resolution.
I apologize for my lengthy introduction. I was hoping to make preparations for settling whether or not you are also aiming at what I've called open system of systems' semantics. If so, and I believe you are, you're also moving to another perspective. It is a perspective from which, I'm happy to repeat, your "two main points" are not different (as they would be from a strictly local perspective, now outdated in the networked world). When you argue that they are "equally important," I find you're still making too weak a statement. They are, indeed, irreducibly related for which future interoperability should fundamentally account.
You are absolutely right that it is not a simple idea to get across. I'm therefore happy that at least the Office’s head has embraced it. He is in the right position to help move it ahead.
Please note that the proper scale of semantics in our age of instant interconnection includes structural variability. Again simply put, meanings change. So they should for a dynamic, vital society (also read, ultimately: global community). That's how I mean 'open.' Predetermination of all meanings is not just illusory, it is utterly foolish to even attempt it. It follows that the essentially infrastructural concern can realistically only 'limit' itself to — a method for — facilitating requisite variety, thereby allowing for specific interactional meaning(s) as requiring by the particular stakeholders/participants involved.
I am equally excited about what I hope contributes to the much-needed breakthrough in semantics for the information society. While writing, please feel free and most welcome to correspond on any issue you might find relevant. There is more at stake than, with due respect, a collection of essays on interoperability. If we could help building critical mass for the, say, scale-less brand of semantics, it's by definition ... generally relevant. It is a point he already recognizes, being fully aware that interoperability doesn't stop at national borders, least of all at the borders of our Dutch trading nation. What he needs to proceed is authoritative endorsement of innovative semantics. As I am 'only' Metapattern's inventor, he's absolutely right that I'm not qualified to act as the method's formal evaluator, too.
For the uninitiated, you (and I, for that matter ;-) may sound unintelligibly postmodern but raising “cross-cutting”ness yet another level is precisely what allows systems to co-perform as a system of systems. Semantics therefore both poses "the biggest challenge" and demands priority.
Please note that I wrote unintelligibly postmodern by which I mean that postmodernism fundamentally is a misnomer. It is a cover up for people's laziness, i.e. keeping them from evaluating relevant variety. In order to do so properly they must of course recognize what you call "semantic cross-cutting concern" and I’ve proposed earlier as system of systems’ semantics.
Here, it's business as usual. That is, I'm somehow still succeeding, but barely so, to avoid bankruptcy while continuing to try getting metapattern accepted for at least trial applications. In fact, I'm now working on a pilot project where we're actually, and getting paid for it, using metapattern for an catalogue listing information models for widely varying systems. It allows to prepare, through interoperability, for moving toward a comprehensive system of systems.
Congratulations!! What a huge effort. I already glanced at your dissertation, Emergent Design, immediately getting a better grasp at what you're aiming at than from your previous, if I may call them so, flood of papers. And I do have to keep off my hat for you permanently, no doubt, for I would need I don't know how many lifetimes to acquire the background for solid comprehension of your monumental work ... and most likely even then not succeeding. So, there's a touch of personal sadness, too, in this reply.
Please allow me, thanks to the reference you kindly sent me, to dabble in attempts at understanding your work, hoping to apply your results. I've right away downloaded the file so I can access it any time.
What struck me are some highly undeserved credits you've given me. But then again, I'm not one to lightly dismiss compliments, so, thank you very much for, let's say, being inspired. I'm of course only too happy to have made some contribution. Yes, I too find what you've labeled "second order mediation" allowing for, in my terms, a paradigmatic step. It's so practical!
What I remark next you should not take as the start of discussion, not yet by far. For I just didn't study your text properly (and I'll certainly need some time to do so). What I seem to recognize is that you're now clearly targeting the ennead's annex (!) sign engineering's limitations. I'm hesitant to call it perspective in this ... context, but what I meant to say above as an immediate impression is that you're 'simply' saying that there's more to the world than signs. Quite so (if at least I understand you right). We therefore need schemata enveloping the necessarily still limited sign 'perspective.' As I did before, I still feel rather stupid trying to follow your, in fact, metadesign beyond where I've assumed some horizon. Let me work on it ...
I'm surprised to hear, and sorry, about copyright problems. Here, you're allowed up to lavish quotation for scientific purposes, provided that you include proper references. Whenever you start work on your third PhD and should want to include text/illustrations from my work, I'd be most honored to comply with any formal request you should be obliged to make.
What I hope, in turn, is that your dissertation gets the reading audience you deserve. I'm well aware, again, of your great effort.
More generally speaking, I am just happy you've sent me a life sign. Over the last few years every now and then I've tried to locate on the ww web any further work I was sure you were producing. But then I sort of got stuck on your website. So, I am indeed happy to learn that you are alive and a doctor once more. I hope you are also well in other respects.
Some time ago I thought I’d better read Plato, too. I’m now, finally, almost finished reading his complete dialogues in an English translation. Of course people come up with new ideas, but please don’t be overly intimidated. There’s really a lot of modern thought already in, for example, Plato. Such videos make it sound new and, of course, they make valid points. For getting results, it helps to recognize which points have been made before and why they didn’t come across. Then, it’s not the idea you should concentrate on, but rather its acceptance. For that, however, adequate ideas still seem to be lacking …
You are right about the call being “open-ended.” So, yes, we welcome “definite ideas.” But what should they be about?
Allow me a personal statement. My own evaluation of electronic government, etcetera, is that government is not only getting itself bogged down by its narrow focus on ... itself, really, but is actually obstructing social dynamics in the process. What we sorely need, that is, in my opinion, is a shift of perspective.
You are already well set on such a developmental, interdependent perspective. So, if that is what your “definite ideas” are about, I cannot wait to read your contribution!
What I would like to see develop with the collected essays, is a compelling argument for government(s) to engage in proper infrastructure for information exchange. Such an infrastructure, as do roads, traffic rules, etcetera, supports social behaviors, effectively turning ‘users’ into participants. First and foremost, then, people participate in mutual exchange, i.e. interaction, rather than in exchange exclusively with government, as government, mistakenly, I believe, still seems to want to have it.
It simply follows that the standards issued by the government are not really standards at the wider scale of society as a whole. Therefore, they are not adopted. No surprise there for anyone with a broader outlook.
Of course, a tougher policy on such pseudo-standards is counterproductive. The only thing that helps is to start looking at the opportunities and problems more realistically, that is, at the proper scale of exchange variety.
The case of the Netherlands is especially interesting, as the country is too small to permit itself to ignore interdependency across its geographical borders. The relevant scale is from the very start defined as “transnational communications & global media” as I believe your study program states. For example, what is left for national standardization efforts? I myself once compared it with the rules of soccer. De Dutch soccer federation is bound to … translate them into Dutch, period.
I hope having made clear why “a more detailed proposal” is lacking. Instead, a far-reaching vision is at the outset always a highly personal vision. If you have one, please share it with us. And, yes, it would serve the purpose of the collection of essays, when you could include some remarks on how to implement recommendations. If you really cannot help it, please include your views on interoperability and standards.
Please write your chapter in the English language. The international touch it supplies, is welcomed. As most contributions will be in Dutch, however, “the target audience” for the collection as a whole – separate chapters will also be published on Standardisation Forum’s website – will be Dutch, too.
The book will primarily be distributed among relevant policy makers in various government organizations, from ministries to municipalities. As happened with a previous collection, several educational institutions requested copies (which are still made available free of charge). By visiting the Forum’s website, anyone can access the essays.
Regarding “specific themes” we’re also reluctant to make strict suggestions. In your case, at least when I understand the scope of your work correctly, the very point you’d be making is that in a basically interconnected world we should be increasingly aware of the risks of labeling themes as specific.
Then again, we’re also requesting contributions from authors with a background in some ‘specific’ (social) sector. Examples are health care, education, and recreation, and, yes, banking. Those authors are expected to elaborate upon how ‘their’ sector becomes more and more integrated. An obvious aspect, at least, that is what we hope that comes out, is always how such developments must be facilitated by practical means/measures for interoperability (including standards).
As authors we are approaching leading policy makers in both government and business, employees of advisory boards (on national planning for various subjects), and academics. We aim at people with an independent mind. For it is clear that a follower mentality doesn’t help to open up opportunities and solve problems that all require a qualitatively different approach.
As I’ve tried to emphasize, “ideas about standards/open-source/standardization” should be treated as secondary, if at all. The whole idea is to make clear what some standard is fòr. For what end is it a means?
Standardisation is now made overly complex, irrelevant, in fact, because there simply is no consideration of the larger objective. (Of course, I’m still arguing only personally.)
I find you are even too kind remarking on “the technical challenges per se notwithstanding.” You’re touching upon my life’s work! Because what’s “quite political” is not addressed as such, we even fail to recognize the pertinent “challenges” we are inclined by tradition to call “technical.” As I’ve learned from looking at your work, you’d actually agree when I say that “per se” doesn’t hold. In my own studies, I’ve taken interdependent changes through technology even further, i.e. up to a semiotics-based metaphysics.
Does this help to give you an idea of where to direct an essay? Don’t hesitate to request for more information, should you find my explanation inadequate or think of further questions.
For the same reason, i.e. that you must be very busy, I hesitate to recommend some of my own writings, as you’ve requested so kindly. What I would really like, after having given it some thought, is when you could have a look at my paper on Victoria Welby: Victoria Welby's significs meets the semiotic ennead. I believe it brings together several strands I am pursuing, including the one of my own design. And I am especially curious to learn whether or not you recognize in Welby ’s work (from which I’ve provided ample quotes) what has become characteristic of later French poststructuralism and the likes.
Please, no apology needed. From our earlier talk I already gathered you are caught up in such politics etc. I am very sorry indeed that you should spend inordinate amounts of time on … , yes, on what? Isn’t this a strange little country? I’m of course happy to come over for another cup of coffee and try to cheer you up a bit. In fact, let me start here and now. If I may say so, I’ve become quite adept at the Dutch version of power plays. I never win them, mainly because I don’t want to. No, that’s being dishonest, of course. ;-) I just don’t have any power myself. Anyway, it made me quite experienced in not-losing. In an ecological sense that’s the most you can achieve, anyway, i.e. maintain your niche, so why aim differently?
Thank you for offering me to call you, but I think a reminder is more helpful when you can read it over. So here it goes. I am generally very impressed by, not to say outright envious with, ;-) the built environment’s interdisciplinary scope. What strikes me in Cognitive Architecture are two strands. One strand concerns integrating cognitive science into architecture’s, say, interdisciplinarity, that is, expanding its scope yet again. And the second, as I see it partly conditioned by the first strand, is about reflection upon architecture … and as almost in a single move integrating its philosophy, too. For me, it is only a small step, or perhaps not even a step at all, from considering cognition to information. Then, what might count in some future, say, about twenty or thirty odd years, as characteristic of/for information society’s architecture? Doesn’t the idea of an information society practically force us to radicalize the cognitive shift – if there is one, that is – in architecture?
I’m sure you’ve noticed I’m just blabbering. I only have a strong feeling about such developments. I would love some solid speculation. It’s not just that the built environment sets a productive example or analogy to be followed for, just to give it a name here, the information environment. More importantly, I suppose, is that the two can only be responsibly treated as one. My impression is that practitioners and theorists of the built environment have already woken up to this reality, while ‘information people’ still remain in limbo. So, please shake them up, give them a wake-up call.
A final remark on you mode/mood, if you allow me. It seems you are fighting stupidity with intelligence, integrity and so on. It is an uneven battle, I’m afraid, for stupidity really has all the advantages … I probably made a mess of cheering you up. So, the apology is completely mine.
How come we were worried about fin de siècle? I believe it is actually the next début which is giving us far more trouble … Thank you for quoting Baudelaire on agony. Scary. Then again, for some practical comfort I agree with having “a good strong drink.” Please, don’t leave without one! Or two, etc. ;-)
In an email message to [a civil servant] I especially mentioned that you are also contributing to the book of essays, adding that you are the editor of Cognitive Architecture. If once again I may be so blunt to suggest it, could you spare him a copy? Of course, I have no idea whether or not he features in “the back-office politics” affecting you. If he does in any negative sense, please forget I ever made the suggestion. If not, it might do no harm … to initiate some positive interest on his part. You’ll find his postal address listed below. I’d like to emphasize that the topic of [his] special interest is the interdependency of design and … politics. So, is he going to stand by when ‘an interesting development’ occurs? I would say, send him a copy so that I can subsequently try to start giving off some diplomatic signals. As such, I would also be fighting my case and am therefore grateful for the occasion. I’m not saying it will help, but it might just a bit. And my experience is that “brutality,” “idiocy” and so on are at least checked somewhat when the brutes and the idiots become aware that you have more powerful friends. As I said, be unorthodox about it. For example, send princess Maxima whatever you think is relevant (after you’ve made inquiries that she’s ‘open’ to it) and let it be known that you did. Ask her to be your school’s patroness, or something.
Again I apologize for suggestions that you yourself must have gone over already a thousand times.
By the way, with water levels rising, there’ll even be no Netherlands left at all while you are already high and dry somewhere else.
I find you are hitting the nail on the head by stating that “such reductionism would be impossible.” So, why bother? In fact, your argument could only suffer, which I would really hate. Luckily, you refuse. ;-) You are quite right about the audience. The readers are supposed to be – if you allow me the contradiction – well-educated non-specialists, i.e. to be addressed as generalists. Therefore, yes, some “introduc[tion of] the concepts” is of course helpful but please don’t let it distract you from your key message. I would say, first write your text as you find it to meet your own standards. Then, (only) where it seems fitting, add some supporting lines. Then again, you can write a draft, leaving it to me to suggest to you where I believe the readers might be supported without compromising what you want to share with them. Another reason for emphasizing your own ‘voice’ is that I would love to see you reuse your text. Perhaps this occasion makes you throw a different, productive light on society-with-built-environment-including-information-environment. Well, something like that … Anyway, especially you yourself should therefore be completely happy with it yourself.
Thank you for your inquiry. You’ve certainly put your finger on a dilemma! :-) That is, what’s the use of writing anything these days … if it’s not in the English language?
Of course I’d be most happy to help. The “topic” you’ve chosen for you thesis couldn’t be more relevant, at least that is how I see its importance, too.
Translating especially my papers on Plato and Aristotle is indeed on my to-do list … which, however, is only getting longer. That doesn’t help you at the required short notice, I’m afraid.
May I suggest an alternative approach? You would greatly help me by explaining me a bit more about your thesis, including some background (for example, who’s your thesis counselor and what might s/he be expecting?). I could then see if any texts that I’ve already written in English are relevant. Also please don’t hesitate to ‘just’ ask questions. As I said, your work deserves support, and of course I should also be able learn from it.
If you care to take a look you’ll find a list of my English-language texts. I’m not sure, though, whether or not you should now spend your time on it. When you have some material available, perhaps you should first let me know in some more detail what you plan to investigate etc.
I feel we’re in for an extended correspondence. Anyway, please drop the “sir.” I do have a first name, too. If you don’t mind, please use it.
Thank you very much for elaborating upon your thesis project! I can only, and do, applaud your approach ... but at this stage you are way too ambitious. (You should know that Dutch people have a well-deserved reputation for being blunt. :-) For in addition to a master’s thesis you would also be writing a handful of PhD dissertations.
My advice would be to stick to your overall ambition (great!) but set some practical limits. Don’t forget, the sooner you’re finished with becoming a Master, the sooner you’ll be able to move on. Pakistan seems to me as good a place as any other to develop ideas on/for the increasingly interdependent information society. And our ideas better be good which is why we’re entitled to call them ‘philosophy.’
This brings me right away to the first item of your thesis outline. Did you already recognize you are immediately begging the information question? For what do you ‘mean’ by an historical overview? Do you believe you can give a, say, accurate (also read: objective) representation of what Plato argued what information is? Next Aristotle, and so on?
Or do you work on the assumption that history irreducibly involves interpretation by the historian? And next by the reader of the historian’s reconstruction? If so, then first of all the historian’s frame of reference should be made as explicit as possible. The particular frame is required for properly both developing and understanding the historical sketch.
Concentrating on assumptions is simply acknowledging that nobody can escape begging at least fundamental questions. That’s precisely what assumptions are for, that is, they should get you started for productive results and their ‘value’ is determined by how far they help you on your way.
Yes, the predicament now becomes how to measure results, progress, and the like. It calls upon the equally irreducible aspect of ethics. That’s where and when you answer why you find “that this is [… a] very interesting field” and why it “should at no cost be ignored.”
However, you’ll be condemned to nonsense – please take this as another display of well-intended bluntness – if you skip making assumptions (a frame of reference) explicit. Now what I see as a major obstacle for a responsible philosophy of information and, as a consequence, even see as a catalyst for often irresponsible practice – where, also take it from me, the Netherlands is as backward as any other country you’d care to mention – of information management, is insisting on defining ‘information’ in isolation. As such it can never fit our – well, at least my – experience of a through-and-through interdependent world.
A qualitative departure is taking information as a label for how other ‘things’ might interrelate. Then, in some subset you may recognize a particular definition given for information. Another subset may entail yet another ‘traditional’ definition.
As far as the frame of reference goes, suppose a productive definition of information is ‘in use’ somewhere but not covered. Then, of course, the framework must be ‘improved.’
If you want to stress its status as the object of special philosophical interest, dealing with such a frame of reference is not just informatics, but metainformatics. I’ve called it Information metatheory (2003).
To cut a long story short, for the purposes as I see them I am quite happy with what I’ve developed as such a framework. For example, (first of all) see Dia-enneadic framework for information concepts (2003). Actually, I’d like to make two points.
One is about the framework itself. When you understand how it ‘works,’ you are well on your way with at least the second and the last (fifth) item of your outline. Your ambition re. your master’s thesis may be realistic, after all. :-) You can of course count on me to support you as best I can.
The second point concerns how I myself am subsequently applying that framework for reviewing historical perspectives. Again, that would be your first item. It provides a vantage point. For I can now study, for example, Plato with an awareness that works two ways. Well, it should … On the one side I am alert to what Plato might argue that the framework doesn’t imply, while on the other side it is the framework that helps me to recognize, in this instance, Plato’s bias. Please note, bias being relative to the framework, of course.
Along the same vein I – believe having – discovered where Aristotle ‘failed’ developing a logic suited to facilitating genuine interdependency.
Where I find the framework also extremely helpful is on critically deciding at a glance which current theories of information (management) are irrelevant, or even counterproductive. For example, when situations are not allowed to vary, whatever theory is useless when an information system’s scope extends a single, as Wittgenstein put it, language game, period.
And then there are forgotten heroes of requisite (information) variety. So far without any success, :-) I’ve tried to draw attention to a.o. Welby, Mannoury and Buchler. Never mind looking at those essays; I’m here only trying to explain what I believe are the benefit of and the need for an explicit theoretical (meta)framework.
What you could do, as part of your thesis, is read theories of Ihde, Jones, Turkle and Floridi ‘against’ the dia-enneadic framework as an hypothesis. The first phase is critical. When you find something missing, you can switch to a constructive treatment (repairing the hypothesis and/or the ‘other’ theory in question).
When you are able to bridge “the cultural differences between the East and West” I am sure that especially you can show the relevance of Eastern thinkers to nowadays necessarily interdependent information management. That would be fantastic!
Please note that bridging is not making uniform. As I see it, it is about the harmony of – changing – differences. Doesn’t that make the dia-enneadic framework address eastern philosophies, too? :-)
If I may dwell on the framework of dia-enneadic semiotics, besides ‘sign’ it includes dimensions for ‘object’ and ‘interpretation.’ With interpretation as one meaning for knowledge, it follows that semiotics always envelops both ontology and epistemology. If you ‘read’ the dia-enneadic framework, you can determine which subsets of its elements would constitute a ‘traditional’ ontological definition of information, respectively a ‘traditional’ epistemological definition of information, respectively a ‘traditional’ linguistic definition of information. It will guide you explaining when “terms are used synonymously, but in reality differ to a great extent.”
A particular use cannot be considered ‘wrong’ by itself. You need to project it upon ethics. And what counts as ethical may vary situationally … A relationship exists – according to the dia-enneadic framework – with situation being one of its irreducible elements.
Assuming an interpreter, the framework also indicates the subjective, personal nature of information. This raises questions whether you can actually start with limiting your “focus on personal information management.” Please note that focus is – the label for – one of the ennead’s elements. The paradigm of subjectivist situationism ‘rules’ that information is subjective in/from principle. So, what ‘difference’ are you suggesting by “personal”? Do you set as “personal” the limit at ‘information’ (also read here: signs) that might serve to uniquely identify an individual? Or, leaving aside questions about uniqueness, individual and identification, do you include as “personal” also information that is, say, more general about a particular person? But then, where does it stop on the assumption of inherent interdependency?
I’ve come to appreciate as general a framework as I can possibly think of. For thereby I run the least risk of missing something. When a (more) specific purpose (also read: situation) seems apparent, I can focus correspondingly. In this order, I believe I am optimally aware of choices involved with limiting focus. So, whenever I run into inconsistencies I ‘know’ I should backtrack to a wider focus/perspective … and take it from there. A major reason for backtracking should of course be a feeling of ethical dissatisfaction, alarm etc.
I repeat that it is impossible for you to cover in some detail all the ground you’ve outlined for your master’s thesis. Should you arrive at a “focus on personal information management,” I invite you to comment on Person information in the information society, a manifesto. It certainly entails all sorts of biases which you could explore if you “want to look at the cultural differences between the East and West.”
So far for now. I apologize for what must still look obscure. And, yes, your questions are welcome. As you see, I am also taking the opportunity to put questions to you.
I agree, “you’ve taken up a very difficult task.” It is also necessary, even urgent. So, do share our correspondence with your professor(s)/tutor(s) should you find my ‘voice’ helpful arguing your plan.
What philosophy of information has taught me is that confusion is the natural state of communication ... :-) so, yes, we do entertain “different ideas.” Rather than a problem, though, I find it makes being on speaking terms all the more interesting. I’m afraid many people disagree about especially differences being productive, but that’s not to be helped.
I’d like to start answering the question at the end of your message. First of all, thank you for having a look at the papers I mentioned. No, if I understand your reading correctly, it is not a person on the one side who is interacting with an ennead (or two enneads). Instead, a single ennead is a model of a person. Of course not of the person in all sorts of respects, but in his semiosis mode. And even for that mode it still is a crude model. For the dynamics are not made explicit.
What the ennead is trying to tell you, correction, what I am trying to tell you by suggesting the ennead is that any concept you have, develop, or whatever, is essentially motivated. Where it says ‘motive’ in the model you may also read; interest, emotion, desire, ... That’s all cognition, too. And cognitively ‘connecting’ motive with concept is focus. It correlates with attention. At the ‘back’ of attention is always a motive ... yielding a related concept. For example, when you are motivated by thirst, water is definitely a different concept to you (you feel that you cannot get enough of it) than when you are soaking wet and trying to get out of a rain storm (you feel you had more than enough of it).
Again, as I see it, a person is not interacting with a separate motive and concept through focus. In the cognitive sense, s/he is constituted by that very interaction! In the person acting as a so-called sign producer – I believe that – a transcendental correspondence is assumed aimed eliciting behavior. Such is the purpose of a sign or, as a slogan, every sign is a request for compliance.
Look at our correspondence in this way. We are exchanging requests. We’re all the time motivated to influence, i.e. to establish contact, to learn, to explain, ...
Acting as a so-called sign observer, cognition (also read: semiosis) more or less ‘works’ in the opposite direction. Behavior is taken as a sign leading to a concept. It is only more or less, because the observer cannot help start from (specific) attention. In other words, s/he necessarily ‘enters’ the observation with a particular focus and thereby motive.
Therefore, a sign (also read: information) is never, repeat, never value-free. Who was its producer? Then, what does s/he actually wants to achieve? In this basic sense, information is always ‘personal.’
An organization, then, ‘just’ emerges from particular persons structuring their exchanges especially through signs (information).
In its capacity as information, some ‘thing’ doesn’t exist independently. There are ‘things,’ however, that may be taken as information. The whole purpose of (most) education is of course to drill people into instant recognition as such, with their compliant behavior as the ulterior motive.
Assuming that we live in different cultures, I am sure that all sorts of things have ‘meaning’ for you, while I even wouldn’t have a clue that I could take them for signs.
Perhaps I am getting carried away, but what I am trying to get at is that regarding information the personal is not some reduction of the organizational. If anything, it is exactly the reverse. Fundamentally, there is only the personal, with the organizational ‘only’ a label for aggregation, for discognitization – hmm, sounds like a neologism; not bad – and so on. So, If you really want to get at the bottom of information, by all means stick to the (inter)personal.
It has a bit of a surrealistic twist at first, but you’ll soon get used to also seeing yourself enneadically. :-)
I did misunderstand you on how far back you want your historical overview to reach. I would say that from Plato to Turing is quite a jump. In fact, Plato’s renderings of the Socratic method could now be used to criticize most theorizing on artificial intelligence.
I just had a quick look at an online publication by Aaron Sloman. When you take your frame of reference from his work I suppose “we [also] have different ideas of what [philosophy of] information is.”
I find that Sloman is not arguing a philosophy of information but a philosophy of artificial intelligence. I would say that the first question, or at least a very early one, should be whether or not artificial intelligence is ‘a special case’ of ‘natural’ informational behavior. I would say it depends on the kind of artificial intelligence. My impression is that so far we only have crude theories, anyway, no candidates eligible for extrapolation toward an overall philosophy of information or, as you put it, to be “gradually [...] developed into philosophy of information.” I therefore – still? – fail to see the “revolution” originating from artificial intelligence as far as philosophy of information goes.
I realize we might disagree on this, which is of course beneficial for our discussion. :-)
Artificial intelligence has indeed made, and will continue to make, enormous impact on our lives. More often than not, though, artificial intelligence is only used to ‘sell’ what before was known as operations research, i.e. clever but algorithmic nonetheless. And operations research is what larger organizations can afford ...
“Since [you are] a student of philosophy” and bound “to have a critical eye” I believe you should not expect to arrive at “an overview” by starting from some theory of artificial intelligence, how cleverly designed it may be and technically, socially etc. relevant.
What follows from my paper presenting the dia-enneadic framework is that there is no single philosophy of information. As there are different concepts of information, each valid for some – type of – situation, there is a corresponding number of ‘philosophies.’ That’s why for an overview you have to shift to a metaperspective, i.e. a model helping you recognize relevant configurations as various situations demand. As in physics, a paradigm shift into relativity is in order. You are completely right! Go and “see the different meanings [information] holds in different contexts.” When you can do that, reflexively, you’ve mastered so much more than is formally required from a Master of Science!
I find it extremely sound advice that you “look at only [your] own everyday life and how [you] interact with ‘information objects’ to manage[, well not so much your] information [but basically your life as you interact].” That is, and only there, where you can expect to find a key, which can only be your personal key.
If you still have time left, please look around some more before you decide on the necessarily limited topic for your thesis.
I am very pleased with especially your latest message. For I recognize ‘pieces of text’ you might or even should include in your thesis. You are actually on your way!
A gentler – first part of an – introduction to the semiotic ennead provides Developing the ground of Peirce.
I can only support your “suspicion regarding information not being a simple concept.” Your priority, though, now lies with getting your thesis formally approved. I therefore suggest that you contact your professor/tutor to discuss whether s/he will support you should you take that direction. Of course I hope s/he does, but you’d better make sure at the earliest possible stage of your effort. How you can proceed depends on the ‘space’ s/he allows you.
In the meantime, let me add some comments, anyway. :-)
After I sent off my previous message I continued to think of what you had written me. What you now remarked as “a beginning towards the first step of philosophy of information” seems to confirm my impression.
The word ‘information’ has only quite recently become in wide use. A similar case, I find, constitutes ‘system.’ However, I believe it would be a mistake to take the advent of a particular term as the period at which the start of ‘its’ philosophy should be dated.
Indeed, what we now habitually call information has already been studied as a phenomenon albeit ‘under’ a different name. What I take as a synonym is ‘sign’ which both opens much earlier philosophy and widens the current field.
I admit that I am not at all acquainted with Sloman’s work. It is just my (first) impression that he may not – as you plan to do! – have looked back properly. Please correct me when I am wrong with this most superficial of evaluations of Sloman. In the meantime, I agree with you that here “using the word ‘Informatics’ is more appropriate.”
There’s of course a reason for “the official definition [by] information management” of the concept of information. At least, I believe that it rests on the assumption that a particular organization is the decisive actor. Then, information is an object ‘carrying’ the ‘meaning’ that the organization in question has unambiguously ‘attributed’ to that object. If it were that simple …
When an organization is in the controlling position, such a simplifying assumption is structurally confirmed. Also say, never falsified … from the organization’s perspective.
There are advantages involved for such an organization. Actually conflating information with object ‘means’ that information management may be reduced to … object management. You can see that happening all around. Concepts developed for material production etc. are uncritically applied to – designing, developing etc. – information systems. As long as an information system remains separate and ‘covers’ a very limited part of reality, not much can go wrong. It radically changes, though, as soon as the scope widens and behavioral differences need to be facilitated. The reductionist view of information immediately fails. Instead, a concept of information is required to accommodate both differences and dynamics.
Differences and dynamics are characteristic for a person’s life. That is why an orientation at personal information is productive, even paradigmatic for arriving at a robust yet flexible concept of information. When you’re being realistic, there is ‘really’ no escaping “integrat[ing] different disciplines.” It follows there’s no “dilemma.” Rather, there is a practical problem for which we need an equally practical solution. As it is a difficult problem, you won’t be able to solve it by writing a single master’s thesis. A qualitatively different perspective is required, i.e. a perspective impossible to ‘construct’ by merely merging perspectives from relevant disciplines. That is, “just to ‘make it all fit together’,” as you say, won’t do, I’m afraid. As you immediately remarked, too, and rightly so, “it does more than that.”
Recognizing it as a real problem is already a huge accomplishment! If you could formulate, when your professor allows you to do so, your “suspicion” with some additional precision and add an historical overview to support your developing idea, that would in my opinion yield an important thesis. It would certainly set you on your way to further study.
I’ll give your question about historical sources some more thought. A modern author whose work you’ll probably find relevant is sociologist Manuel Castells.
What I myself would (also) be interested in, especially so, is whether you could identify, say, eastern thinkers who have been addressing phenomena we would now label as information, sign, … I am sure more viable traditions exist, if only we would recognize them.
I wouldn’t call it “a coincidence.” What you are pursuing are connections … And now you are on a vital trail of discovery. Great! Is it possible that you explain me a bit what your “course this semester which deals with the problem of signs, definition and meaning” is about? For example, is there information (in English) available on the ww web?
You are probably already in a better position now to recognize what I am trying to do with the dia-enneadic model. I don’t want some ‘label’ to narrow us down too much. There are a host of terms such as information, sign, communication, experience, language, meaning, et cetera, et cetera. I feel they are not ‘pointing’ at phenomena to be considered atomically distinct from each other. On the contrary, they all refer to some encompassing ‘complex,’ with one term perhaps emphasizing what more productively may be viewed as an irreducible element, aspect …
Then, a model of the whole complex should help to recognize the relevant – assign the productive? – connections.
Please note, I’m not at all saying that the dia-enneadic model is the last ‘word’ on positioning information et cetera. What I do claim for it is that it provides for most practical synthesis. So far I have not discovered a more powerful model for this purpose …
It seems (to me) you are fast (!) getting close to having to make a decision about the main theme of your thesis. Please don’t forget to include your professor, :-) as s/he will be the one grading your work at a later stage.
Suppose that you start from the idea to add “at the most only […] small sections which briefly show that there is a link between the different branches and that [you are] aware of it.” As you are more or less already finding out now is that such “small sections” will turn into larger ones, and so on. There is, therefore, no way to “limit [your] thesis.”
If you really want to ‘do’ philosophy, I suggest that you concentrate for your thesis on “show[ing] that there is a link between the different branches and that [you are] aware of it.” Aiming at a master’s thesis, you can only do it “briefly” which is in fact already a tall order.
There’s a saying about nothing being more practical than a good theory. That is where your interest in the future merges with – the need for – an outlook that recognizes historical achievements.
The dia-enneadic model grounds Metapattern, which is a method for information modeling regardless of scope. In other words, Metapattern allows for semantic variety. Thus, information exchange can be facilitated, even promoted, in the pluriform, multicultural, or whatever society. Doesn’t that sound seriously practical? An agency of the Dutch government has sponsored some modeling cases with Metapattern. Of course, Metapattern meets with difficulties ‘normal’ for any so-called diffusion of innovation. What I try to tell you with this example is that there wouldn’t even be anything highly practical to diffuse without proper theory.
Please take my reassurance that you are nowhere “at fault.” At least, I refuse to see how you should be blamed for genuine inquiries. Continue!
As I argued above, I don’t believe we can ever utter the last word. Mistakes are inherent in trials. You’d better enjoy the experience.
Suppose that you first of all establish “a link between the different branches,” you could then proceed to comment on the work of Sloman. Of course you could take the work of many other authors. But as you have to limit yourself, why not Sloman?
The difference in approach, however, would be essential. Rather than taking Sloman as your guide, you’d be using what you sketched as “a link between the different branches” to guide you through a.o. Sloman’s work.
In practice, of course, it’s not so one-sided. As you see fit, you may and should include contributions by Sloman when outlining “a link between the different branches.” By the way, this is why some texts should be studied at least twice. You may harvest from it when building theory. And next you may apply the theory … sometimes to discover you need to go through another cycle.
When you ask your professor, remind her/him to contemplate on phenomena that only quite recently are indicated by information.
Meanwhile, I did some searching with criteria such as “muslim semiotics” and “Islamic concept information.” I was alerted to an article by Sayyid Wahid Akhtar, The Islamic Concept of Knowledge. As far as I can see, it doesn’t help yet for lack of, say, operationally productive details.
I thoroughly sympathize with your “wish [for] more diversity.” Any new field, however, is never isolated. So, how does it appear as constituent of overall variety? In what way(s) does it confirm, extend, or, actually and even necessarily so, depart? Again, the modeling ‘language’ of Metapattern should help to chart a balanced overview. For example, I’ve started to model Dutch law, clearly bringing out its variety which otherwise would remain largely implicit and thereby often confusing.
Perhaps the main question you need to avoid in your particular situation is whether or not “Muslim philosophy” is participant rather than, say, referee. I just don’t know … When your professor wants a particular faith to rule the variety, my idea would be that s/he is not yet taking variety sufficiently serious. Then, please drop the question. That is, if you want your thesis over and done with. :-)
For your ‘information,’ I was raised without any creed. I therefore find it ‘natural’ to consider religions ‘relative.’
What I see it coming boil down to is whether or not you want to explore “differences and dynamics” of information. If so, does your professor agree? And if not, go back to your original plan for your thesis and keep the wider perspective you’ve gained for a later opportunity.
I would say the Castells’ trilogy should be available from your university’s library.
I suppose you “are currently studying” both changing definitions of meaning and what ‘something’ means according to a particular meaning-definition.
My idea is that definitions of meaning involve definitions of information, vice versa. The same goes for definitions of sign, communication, et cetera.
As the dia-enneadic model suggests a host of definitions of information, it should immediately help you to an inventory of definitions of meaning, too.
The saying that you mention, i.e. “Information is in the eye of the beholder”, is included by – a number of subsets of – the dia-enneadic model. However, that also ‘covers’ e.g. Shannon’s definition of information which doesn’t refer to participants in interaction.
Yes, I agree that the orientation is (also) transdisciplinary, i.e. needing to move beyond interdisciplinarity. Of course, it all depends on what you start with as recognized disciplines in the first place.
Thank you for taking a look at that article. We also agree there. You did well in your choice of supervisor!
It is impossible, though, not to apply a lens. Call it an axiomatic scheme, if you like. Or a theory. It already ‘guides’ what you select to be linked at some later stage. What you consider “the important and main things” should indeed “be accounted for,” especially so in the sense of providing criteria for inclusion and, in its wake, exclusion.
You can make your, say, selection filter, somewhat explicit – for a reader of your thesis – by explaining/introducing your motive. For example, you could state that you started from a feeling that information is a variable concept, in need of a transdisciplinary approach. Then, at the end of your thesis you may add an explanation of when and how, if it did, your motive changed during your research for the thesis.
So, as you yourself argued, “start the writing process and [...] actually see the thesis taking shape.” You are right!
Never mind ordering Castells’ work. You should be able to find a lot of information on the ww web. Therefore, first take a closer look whether or not his ideas are relevant for your work.
I’m of course delighted to hear that our “original paper” is now getting noticed. Could you spare me a few words on the nature of such attention? Does it indicate seeds for our next ‘project’? Yes, I’d very much like to contribute to another joint paper!
I myself have two immediate associations. The first is with Plato’s dialogue Philebus. I wrote a paper on it in Dutch, but with an abstract in the English language:
With classical philosophy delegated to yet another (over)specialized academic discipline, it’s too easy to overlook relevant ideas for organizing current information society both in and for all its complexity. In his dialogue Philebus, Plato may be read as offering critically constructive suggestions for dealing with interdependency. Indeed, “many are one, and one is many” is inescapable as a valid characterization of especially our information society, that is, pervasively networked. A paradigm shift, starting with information modeling, is required … which Plato already seems to have performed.
Translated into English, the title would read: Plato is certainly making an essential point about
the networked information society.
My quotes from Plato are in English, though. If you want to have a look at my selection, you may consult the paper anyway.
I believe that a contragrammatical interpretation of Philebus aimed at stressing “an essential point about the networked information society” would be extremely relevant! And it would certainly be possible to build upon our earlier paper. Well, it is just a suggestion ... :-)
My second association is with Robert Musil. It is more general. Are you familiar with Musil’s book The Man without Qualities? A way of positioning Metapattern is that I’ve come to call it a method without qualities, thereby arguing that it opens up variety for, as you would say, I guess, conception by least of all limiting perception. Anyway, don’t you think that contragrammar in that by all means limitless opening sense, as a grammar, is a grammar without qualities?!
I’m afraid I cannot give your question “How are you?” a positive answer as far as my design company is concerned. I’ll copy part of a message to give you an idea:
I am in a bit of a tangle. I could really do with your help
while being fully aware that it might be difficult, if not impossible for you
to actually respond. Let’s say I’m counting on your integrity as both a
scientist and a professional. I’ll sketch the problem from my perspective, as
briefly as I possibly can.
Your evaluation of Metapattern certainly helped the Standardization Forum of the Netherlands wanting to promote roll-out of contextual differentiation. Novay (as you know, the organization that had evaluated Metapattern earlier) formed a consortium including a.o. Standardization Forum as a participant. The participants’ financial contributions were generously multiplied by state subsidy, resulting in an overall budget of about half a million euro, to start with.
The stated aim of Essence, as the consortium is called, read (my translation): “With the method of contextual modeling as developed by Pieter Wisse for its scientific foundation, the project Essence develops, researches and validates building blocks for such a method of modeling.” Apart from this briefest of mentions of myself, in the whole of the project proposal there was no trace of Metapattern, of – my company – Information Dynamics, leave alone of readily available products and services including a running software platform.
So I objected. Essence got going anyway. As Essence’s later reports show, Metapattern has even simply been copied but given the name ‘Essence language.’ Again I objected, but so far to no effect, however.
Anyway, you’d really do me a huge favor (and honor) if you would take a look at the attachment and let me know what you think. From In search of differences, do you get the impression that Essence might indeed have, say, plagiarized Metapattern? Or, on the contrary, don’t you recognize whatever essential similarities, at all? Any other (first) impressions, perhaps?
From your exposure to Metapattern, I’m sure it’ll only take you of minute or two. And I’m sure that Peter Waters, too, will welcome what he no doubt trusts as your independent judgment.
Please be impartial!
I am very grateful for your efforts and looking forward to you swift reply.
I did receive a reply from the employee of RAND Institute. He confirmed the
plagiarism. Yet, here I still meet with denials, it has developed into a
cover-up by the government, I cannot afford to make a court case out of it while
losing my customers. Bankruptcy is definitely looming. Perhaps the government
of and companies in Oman are interested in both improving quality in
information services and saving a lot of money in the process? Do you have any
(other) suggestions? Should I come over and lecture on Metapattern at your
I sincerely hope that you are well. About our paper, please let me know in a bit more detail what direction you prefer to take.
Thank you for referring to Jan van Til’s blog An Architecture of Be-Having. Jan has also become a good friend and I introduced him to your contragrammar (and taught him to include proper references). As you’ve noticed, he’s become a great fan. Jan lives in the city of Groningen which is at the other end of the country (but, small as the Netherlands are, still close enough). We meet about twice a year. In our correspondence we often succeed in venting frustration by coining contragrams. They usually are not up to your standards, ;-) but nevertheless provide some comfort.
Well, you know all about university professors … Most of them are absorbed in themselves. So, regretfully also no support from that corner.
It seems I am unacceptable as an academic, being too much of a designer, I guess. What people here are looking for in professors, apparently, is unqualified admiration and obedience (is there a contragram lurking in these terms?), not an open mind et cetera. Well, you know all about such obstacles … The difference is that you seem to overcome them!
Thank you for your pertinent advice! As I see it, though, such an academic career path doesn’t make sense, not anymore, I’m afraid, not now at my age. My contribution will apparently continue to lie with breaking new conceptual ground for design in the information society. The dilemma with every new paradigm deserving of the label is that it is (nearly) impossible to develop from within academia or, once developed outside, to get accepted at some short notice by the academic establishment. Invariably, several generations seem required for a genuine paradigm change.
In fact, approx. twenty years ago I did apply for a professorship at the suggestion of my own former professor. My application was turned down, rightfully so, because there was no interest at all in a design orientation … which since has become sorely lacking even more. In Dutch, I did write some essays promoting – the idea of – a high-level design school for information system practitioners. Translated into English, the title of one such texts reads ‘Bauhaus in the information society.’ Regretfully, no response yet …
Thank you for your inquiry and suggesting Metapattern to your friend. Use of Metapattern is free. Of course, when used it should be properly referred to.
You are right to assume for Metapattern being appropriate for modeling cognition. In fact, whatever serious modeling should irreducibly acknowledge, accommodate, et cetera, cognition. I suppose we immediately agree on this.
I hold Metapattern’s axioms for an explicit metamodel of cognition. That way, you can’t miss. :-) See semiotic ennead (an extension of C.S. Peirce’s triad).
Do you have documentation explaining the “model of cognition [you’ve] evolved”? I’d be most happy making an honest effort at understanding.
Please let also your friend know he shouldn’t hesitate to contact me.
Actually, I don’t have much of a clue yet of the Templix (please don’t expect me to absorb the condensation of a lifetime of thought etc. in an hour or so) … but immediately sensed some analogy with Haynes’ Contragrammar. I am happy you’ve already spotted it yourself.
Thank you for a summary. I have also been reading your, if I may say so, essay Spacializing Time and (Re)Cognition. So far, my impression is that you are trying to illustrate a qualitative point by using expressions originally developed for quantitative purposes. As a consequence, as in your example (a+b)(u+v), the result is no longer arrived at by multiplication. I agree. The operation has become, say, juxtaposition. As such, order carries meaning, too. If that is what you are arguing, of course I continue to agree. That is, taken from another of your examples, (a+b)^2(u+v) yields a.o. abu and bau to be distinguished. I suppose that the expansion along (a+b) respectively (0+1) is meant to model cognitive dynamics. Anyway, it brings to my mind C.S. Peirce’s idea of semiosis as action of the sign.
What I fail to recognize in your theory is expansion along (u+v) respectively (X+Y) into (u+v+w) et cetera. Doing so, though, would probably offend your concept of the unit square monad. Does it?
I don’t quite get your criticism of the algebraic function of y=f(x)=x. You seem to compare it with staking out a two-dimensional space. As I see it, the function in question assumes such a space in the first place.
Actually, how you position 0x and 1x as parts of the line segment X seems eligible for expression with an algebraic function, as follows: 1x=f(0x)=X-0x with 0x between 0 and X. :-)
Am I right to infer that you take X as an idealized concept? Now, idealizations don’t exist, not ... really. Then, do you assume such an idealized concept’s occurrence to lie somewhere between empty and full as measured against its full value? I feel a contragram would express this elegantly: The less of more is the more of less. Please note how the same word carries different meanings for cognitive dynamics: The less (0x) of more (1X) is the more (1x) of less (0X).
When I am right about qualitative juxtaposition driven by, as you’ve written, “degrees of difference and levels of sameness” between actualizations from the value ranges of (0X-1X) and (0Y-1Y), then, of course, Metapattern supplies a mode for expression. Every unique configuration you may want to recognize comes to be represented by a node in the model. From a particular node, its constituent nodes in terms of object and situation are contained in the model, too, up to the model’s inevitable boundary, called horizon. In the other direction, a particular node may either as situation or object contribute to constitute yet another node (representing another qualitatively different situated object). That’s how expansion the Metapattern way works. The relationship between situation and object is indeed binary. But is seems to me (very) different from what makes the monad that you posit as (a) unit square.
Below, I’ve used suffixes. Please let me know when you don’t see any. Then I’ll try a different format.
From your response(s), I gather you are not opposed to at least considering to increase the number of your Templix’ monadic constituents – please note the logical contradiction; but then, from what logic? – beyond two. That is, you don’t take two as the Templix’ axiomatic number of – speaking of algebraic geometry! – dimensions, axes, or whatever you’d like to call them. Am I right?
Awaiting your verdict, :-) I’ll proceed on the assumption that there’s no limit. Rather than calling constituents X, Y, Z, et cetera, they might be distinguished by values for a suffix: Xn. For example, your original X becomes X1, Y becomes X2, Z becomes X3, and so on, if applicable.
Now, what you’ve written in Spacializing Time and (Re)Cognition is that “a Templix template matrix was constantly being created and re-created and re-re-created, etc. for each new circumstance.” From the Metapattern perspective, what is critically important is what you mention there as “circumstance.” I’d call it situation, or context. (There’s more about the difference between situation and context, but for now you may take those terms as synonyms.)
Please imagine some circumstance (also read: situation, context, ...). Then ‘throw in’ X1 up to Xn for some n. What occurs, is X1 to present circumstantial behavior that might appear to be selected from its field of potentiality. This tweaking of a position for x1 between 0X1 and 1X1 is what I understand such selection/configuration to entail. The same goes for x2 as the relevant, i.e. circumstantial, actualization for X2, and so on up to and including Xn. It is an exhibition (in your terms: “degrees of difference”) of interdependence (in your terms: “levels of sameness”).
I believe it is still following an unproductive logic to insist on the question whether interdependence starts from a circumstance, or ends with it. We’re simply moving from one to the next, which is precisely what I read you writing: re^n-creation of instances of the Templix as models of/for circumstance.
I hope you’ll allow me my preoccupation. As a frame of reference, the whole of a Templix’ instance corresponds with a situation. As Xn, some object is still external to that situation. Then, (only) as xn it is, say, internalized: situated object.
Making a circumstance/situation explicit (!), too, sees to it that you don’t have to model directly how objects interact for their respective situated behaviors. Just assume such behaviors governed by the particular situation. You can now express the behavior for each situated object in relation to ‘its’ situation. And through situation, behaviors of all pertinent situated objects are still connected, albeit indirectly.
As for re^n-creation (also read: cognitive dynamics), any situated object arrived at, may subsequently be taken as situation (if I understand your work: yet another instance of the Templix) and/or object (constituent dimension). And so on.
A first go at a Metapattern model of – workings of – the Templix Of GNOS looks deceptively simple (see attachment). It is recursive in the sense that some xn may be ploughed back, as it were, yielding yet another instance of Templix and/or object for engaging in yet another cycle.
I’m afraid this has turned out as a dense piece of writing and drawing. Please don’t hold back on remarks, critical or otherwise, questions et cetera.
(Also) what might be considered ‘meta,’ including when it is fitting to do so, all depends ... So, when we want to bring such differences together in a single schema, we need a (modeling) language that sort of forces us to make explicit, too, what we believe to be the, say, controlling factor. Terms that present itself for that (f)actor are: circumstance, context, situation.
Metapattern is designed as such a language. Yes, in some way, then, Metapattern exemplifies a metametamodel. Actually, that’s were its name comes from. With pattern taken as a metamodel, the pattern language requires a metametamodel.
What results, is Metapattern as a language with the barest minimum of constructs. Precisely for that reason, it allows whatever actual (inter)dependencies to be expressed. As a contragram: the openness of variety is the variety of openness.
Are you familiar with Robert Musil’s novel The Man without Qualities? My ‘qualification’ of Metapattern is a.o. that it is a modeling language without qualities. By that I mean that I’ve tried to keep a priori meanings as much as possible out of it. For that is the only way for a language to acquire the potential to express the largest imaginable variety of meanings with it.
For language users who are naive realists, Metapattern seems to place an unnecessary burden on communication. They feel that way because they remain unaware of contextual shifting. Always specifying context seems superfluous. What they experience is monocontextual meaning, missing that such meanings exist one after another, each with a different … context. However, the changing contexts never emerge, i.e. are implicit. Let me add that such keeping-out-of-consciousness makes good evolutionary sense ... most of the time. Such people are ‘simply’ concentrating on the particular task at hand. It is optimal for relatively simple tasks.
However, some tasks et cetera are (far) more complex, that is, they do require attention to changes across contexts. Such changes can only be meaningfully related when relevant contexts are also accommodated. It calls for an attitude for which I find the term infrastructural appropriate. It may sound strange at first, but infrastructure facilitates differences through sameness.
I’ve written these remarks on Metapattern in order to support the claim that in some other sense it provides not a metameta- but instead a subsubmodel, or something. It aims to contribute, not to rule. So, please don’t read the-explanation-of-the-world in it. I would prefer it, if you’d ‘just’ favor and apply Metapattern’s powerful ... instrumentality.
With this introduction, indeed, I do agree (!) with you that, as you’ve written, “we do not need to agree about what the Templix is and is not[,] to be able to model the dynamic nature of the Templix with Metapattern.”
Of course, any modeler applying Metapattern needs to understand the Templix sufficiently (whatever that means) in order to produce a model that you may find an adequate expression. And with Metapattern itself being radically empty, the modeler using it, as I’ve said earlier, is especially oriented at filling in contexts that are habitually kept hidden when traditional modeling languages are used (as they imply monocontextualism and therefore ‘naturally’ fail to facilitate multicontextualism as a better approximation of reality with a realistic scope). That way, i.e. disciplined by Metapattern’s stubborn emphasis on (inter)dependency, it may happen that the modeler hits upon aspects/elements which have so far not been fully recognized. In this case, I find it most gratifying that, even after forty years, you see this exercise with Metapattern also shedding some new light on your own work. With this, of course, my real compliment to you is for your continued open-mindedness!
So, I am ‘merely’ using Metapattern to draw up a(nother) model of the Templix. By the way, as an attachment I’m sending you a slightly modified model. It now distinguishes between a. generally available dimensions and b. what are taken from that set as the dimensions for an instance of the Templix. Through this distinction, re-dimension makes (more) sense. For a value is of course recycled as a dimension-candidate first, that is, to be selected for one or more subsequent other Templix instances (only) next.
You’ve probably already played with the idea that a value-in-Templix could also most generally be recycled as something. If that’s how you find Templix dynamics at a fundamental level even better expressed, simply add the corresponding relationship (or have me do it for you, it only takes a minute :-).
Thank you for your kind messages! You did me the honor of vastly, repeat, vastly overestimating my knowledge. I used the link you sent me. Frankly, I don’t have a clue what it is about. :-) Whatever sophisticated-looking math can only side-track us, especially so when we are jumping right into the middle of it. In my (strong) opinion, we should focus on qualitative concepts.
Thank you for your inquiry! My r&d company Information Dynamics also developed a software platform (KnitbITs) for implementing information management the Metapattern way. Getting started, you would need our help, though (which, of course, we would be most happy to provide).
I would say that you first of all should familiarize yourself with conceptual modeling on a multicontextual basis. Could you perhaps supply a case study of particular interest to you? It should preferably be ‘about something’ that is keeping you stumped as you apply a more traditional modeling method. I’d be glad to invest time and have a look to try and come up with suggestions for overcoming current conceptual perplexities.
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