Recent literature suggests the appearance of information that is coupled to significance not only with the advent of biotic agents (“meaning“ in living systems) but already with prebiotic environments, namely, with the existence of agents (non-living, physical systems) that – according to the fourth law of thermodynamics after Stuart Kaufmann – perform a thermodynamic cycle, which makes those agents self-organise and generate information before life started.
That was one issue debated at a meeting called for by the Emergent Systems, Information and Society Research Group. Eleven persons followed the call and gathered in Nuremberg, Germany, from 7 to 9 October 2016. The meeting was held at Nachbarschaftshaus Gostenhof (see photo).
The programme of the meeting on philosophical foundations of systems and information contained two questions in the context of which further issues were discussed:
- The problem of emergence and fields of possibilities with respect to philosophical categories of nothingness (the impossible as ground) and non-being (not yet, not any more, or never).
- The problem of significance with respect to a distinction of energy and mass, on the one side, which can be subsumed under the category of matter, and entropy and structure, on the other, which can be subsumed under the category of information.
The meeting was supported by the Institut für Design Science München and the Bertalanffy Center.