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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 indicator.

** 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 Sussex;

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

Visiting Fellow, Birkbeck, University of London;

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