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Toward a Calculus of Redundancy:   
Signification, Codification, and Anticipation in Cultural Evolution 

Loet Leydesdorff, Mark W. Johnson, and Inga Ivanova

Whereas the generation of Shannon-type information is coupled to the 
second law of thermodynamics, redundancy—that is, the complement of 
information to the maximum entropy—can be increased by making further 
distinctions. The dynamics of discursive knowledge production can thus 
infuse the historical dynamics with a cultural evolution. Providing the 
information with meaning first proliferates the number of options. 
Meanings are provided with hindsight at positions in the vector space, 
as against relations in the network space. The main axes (eigenvectors) 
of the vector space map the codes of the communication spanning horizons 
of meaning; the codes structure the communications as selection 
mechanisms. Unlike hard-wired DNA, the codes of non-biological systems 
co-evolve with the variation. Discursive knowledge can be considered as 
meta-coded communication which enables us to entertain models of the 
processing of meaning and information. This reinforces the hindsight 
perspective and can turn codification reflexively into coding 
anticipation. The dynamics of information, meaning, and knowledge can be 
evaluated empirically using the sign of mutual information as an 

** apologies for cross-postings

Loet Leydesdorff

Professor, University of Amsterdam
Amsterdam School of Communication Research (ASCoR)

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Associate Faculty, SPRU, <>University of 

Guest Professor Zhejiang Univ. <>, 
Hangzhou; Visiting Professor, ISTIC, 

Visiting Fellow, Birkbeck <>, University of London;

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