Wolfgang HofkirchnerInterviewer
: Francisco Salto & José María Díaz

Interviewee: Wolfgang Hofkirchner

Meet in the pleasant atmosphere of Sierra Pambley’s House (León, Spain), where the Colloquium BITae (around a unifying concept of information) was held in the last months of 2009, we interview Professor Hofkirchner with the goal of grasping some insights into his bold unifying approach to information.

We are very pleased to open this new arena for the furthering of the Science of Information interviewing you -Wolfgang- as a prominent figure in the Science of Information and leader of the Unified Theory of Information Reearch Group (UTI).

One of the main concerns of your work is the SYSTEM approach to information. There is a standard system concept defined as an arbitrary set with relations. How is system thinking to be applied to information? Moreover, which are in your view the limitations and strenghts of the standard concept of system?

In my opinion, the standard definition suffers from severe deficiencies. The most striking problem to me is that it does not account for the emergence of the systemic properties – and this despite the fact that system theory sets out to give a scientific understanding of the old saying “the whole is more than the sum of its parts”. By that the standard definition foregoes the necessity to define the essence of a system which is effects of synergy on the level of the system. It is essential to distinguish two different levels in a system: the level of the parts and the level of the whole, or the micro- and the macrolevel, and to point out that on the macrolevel you find these emergent properties but not on the microlevel, and that both levels are coupled together by a certain dynamics that lets these properties emerge.