The Self-Organization of Meaning and the Reflexive Communication of Information

34 Pages Posted: 11 Jan 2016

See all articles by Loet Leydesdorff

Loet Leydesdorff

University of Amsterdam - Amsterdam School of Communication Research (ASCoR)

Alexander Michael Petersen

University of California Merced, Ernest and Julio Gallo Management Program

Inga Ivanova

National Research University Higher School of Economics

Date Written: January 10, 2016

Abstract

Following a suggestion of Warren Weaver, we extend the Shannon model of communication piecemeal into a complex systems model in which communication is differentiated both vertically and horizontally. This model enables us to bridge the divide between Niklas Luhmann’s theory of the self-organization of meaning in communications and empirical research using information theory. First, we distinguish between communication relations and correlations among patterns of relations. The correlations span a vector space in which relations are positioned and can be provided with meaning. Second, positions provide reflexive perspectives. Whereas the different meanings are integrated locally, each instantiation opens global perspectives — “horizons of meaning” — along eigenvectors of the communication matrix. These next-order codifications of meaning can be expected to generate redundancies when interacting in instantiations. Increases in redundancy indicate new options and can be measured as local reduction of prevailing uncertainty (in bits). The systemic generation of new options can be considered as a hallmark of the knowledge-based economy.

Keywords: redundancy, horizontal and vertical differentiation, codification, triple helix, reflection

Suggested Citation

Leydesdorff, Loet and Petersen, Alexander Michael and Ivanova, Inga, The Self-Organization of Meaning and the Reflexive Communication of Information (January 10, 2016). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2713270 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2713270

Loet Leydesdorff (Contact Author)

University of Amsterdam - Amsterdam School of Communication Research (ASCoR) ( email )

PO Box 15793
Amsterdam, 1001 NG
Netherlands

HOME PAGE: http://www.leydesdorff.net

Alexander Michael Petersen

University of California Merced, Ernest and Julio Gallo Management Program ( email )

School of Engineering
Science & Engineering 2, Suite 315
Merced, CA 95343
United States

Inga Ivanova

National Research University Higher School of Economics ( email )

20 Myasnitskaya St.
Moscow, 101000
Russia

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