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The Self-Organization of Meaning and the Reflexive Communication of Information

Loet Leydesdorff, Alexander Petersen, and Inga A. Ivanova

 

Following a suggestion of Warren Weaver, we extend the Shannon model of communication piecemeal into a complex systems model in which communication is differentiated both vertically and horizontally. This model enables us to bridge the divide between Niklas Luhmann's theory of the self-organization of meaning in communications and empirical research using information theory. First, we distinguish between communication relations and correlations between patterns of relations. The correlations span a vector space in which relations are positioned and thus provided with meaning. Second, positions provide reflexive perspectives. Whereas the different meanings are integrated locally, each instantiation opens horizons of meaning that can be codified along eigenvectors of the communication matrix. The next-order specification of codified meaning can generate redundancies (as feedback on the forward arrow of entropy production). The horizontal differentiation among the codes of communication enables us to quantify the creation of new options as mutual redundancy. Increases in redundancy can then be measured as local reduction of prevailing uncertainty (in bits). The generation of options can also be considered as a hallmark of the knowledge-based economy: new knowledge provides new options. Both the communication-theoretical and the operational (information-theoretical) perspectives can thus be further developed.

 

Preprint available at http://arxiv.org/abs/1507.05251

 

** apologies for cross-postings

 

 


Loet Leydesdorff

Emeritus University of Amsterdam
Amsterdam School of Communication Research (ASCoR)

[log in to unmask] ; http://www.leydesdorff.net/
Honorary Professor, SPRU, University of Sussex;

Guest Professor Zhejiang Univ., Hangzhou; Visiting Professor, ISTIC, Beijing;

Visiting Professor, Birkbeck, University of London;

http://scholar.google.com/citations?user=ych9gNYAAAAJ&hl=en

 

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