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Wolfgang Hofkirchner

EMERGENT INFORMATION: A UNIFIED THEORY OF INFORMATION FRAMEWORK

Hackensack, NJ, World Scientific Publishing (Hardcover: 274 pp, 70$)

The 3th of the World Scietific Series in Information Studies edited by Mark Burgin

At the dawn of the information age, a proper understanding of information and how it relates to matter and energy is of utmost importance for the survival of civilization. Yet, attempts to reconcile information concepts underlying science and technology with those en vogue in social science, humanities, and arts are rather rare. This book offers a new approach, departing from fragmented information concepts.

Many academics refrain from undergoing unifications, as most undertakings are reductionistic. This book contends that it is the noble task of an as-yet-to-be-developed science of information to go one step in the direction of a unified theory of information without falling back into neither reduction nor anthropomorphisation.

To be able to succeed in an ambitious task like this, the book advocates the application of complex systems theory and its philosophical underpinnings. Information needs to be interpreted in terms of self-organisation to do justice to the richness of its manifestations. The way the book does so will provide the reader with a deep insight into a basic feature of our world. (more…)

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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.

(more…)