Information and Life: Towards a Biological Understanding of Informational Phenomena

  • Pedro C. Marijuán Fundación CIRCE. CPS, Universidad de Zaragoza
Keywords: Information science, Reductionism, In formation, Information genera, Production-degradation, Symmetry, Knowledge, Agency, Partitional canon


This work explores a new understanding of informational phenomena based on the molecular organization of life. One of the central ideas is that the interrelationship among the recently framed fields of genomics, proteomics, and signaling science (crucial elements of the bioinformatic whole enterprise) may provide fundamental aspects of a new information synthesis. Thus, the new knowledge gained on the functionality and “existential flow” of the phenotypic molecular elements (basically the production and degradation of constituent enzymes and proteins—the transient proteome of the cell), which is intimately coupled with the intrinsic dynamics of the “DNA world” and with the communicational events stemming from the cell environment, could represent a microcosm for the whole in-formation phenomena. The variant in-formation spelling emphasizes that the cellular coupling among constitutive (proteomic), generative (genomic), and communicational (signaling) information genera produces a differentiated mode of existence, the living state, which is always in the making, perpetually in formation. The in-formability of the living supports the emergence of a completely new realm of ‘cognitive’ autonomous causality —and implies, in other regards, the emergence of meaning and of agency, and the foundation upon which far more complex, organismic, neuronal, and social events have been evolutionarily deployed. There follows a fundamental break with respect to the mechanistic chains of causality (and explanation) afforded by the reductionist vision. There is also, in this biological approach to informational phenomena, a compelling need for the development of a new communication theory of non-conservative nature. New logical principles are discussed which could guide biological systems in their inner choices between information ‘factories’ and information ‘garbage camps’. Finally, this bottom-up approach to the nature of information, molecular-biologically grounded as it is, does not militate against the top-down strategies. Conversely, it aims at a complementarity with germane conceptualizations that are currently being addressed in theoretical science, philosophy, neurosciences, and in social and technological disciplines.