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Paper for the symposium "The emergence of codes and intentions" held at University of Odense, Oct. 1995.

ISBN: 87-7725-205-5

Electronically published:

Html Edition: November 12, 1997.

Pdf-edition: November 4, 1999.

Niels Ole Finnemann:

Redundancy and Codes


Assuming that symbolic processes emerge in a pre-existing nonsymbolic world and only takes place in time and space seems to be a consequence of many theories, but raises difficult questions about the concepts of codes and rules. Although many symbolic processes can be derived from preexisting codes, there is no way to derive the first symbols from preexisting codes, since the coding procedure itself is a symbolic activity. Hence the first coding - the capacity to create codes and symbols - cannot itself be explained as a result of a coded procedure, but has to be seen as an - yet? - unexplained fait accomplit. Since the emergence of coding procedures is a result of a symbolic activity, presupposing some kind of intentionality or consciousness, it is as unlikely as unprovable that this capacity itself is rulegoverned. On the contrary, it can be proven that we have symbolic systems (eg: linguistic and informational) which are not rule-based, although they can contain and produce codes. Proofs can be found in the way these systems exploit redundant patterns as the basis for generating new codes - in some cases independent of previous established codes - leaving out any possibility to give a rulebased account of these systems. As a consequence it is necessary to distinguish between rulebased systems - characterized by programmes and codes prescribing the structure - and redundant systems in which new codes can be established either by changing the function of existing patterns, by the creation of new patterns and/or by variation of a pattern. While formal systems belongs to the first type, linguistic and informational systems as carried out in computers belongs to the second. Here we may also expect to find the mind - implying that the mind posses the capacity to use the neurophysiological system (the brain) as a redundant system.

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