Re: data, information and knowledge

From: Scott Chase (
Date: Wed 25 May 2005 - 22:19:58 GMT

  • Next message: Scott Chase: "Re: A review of "The Selfish Meme""

    --- Robin Faichney <> wrote:

    > Hi Scott, not sure about your concept of
    > "infocentrism", because,
    > though I absolutely agree that context is very often
    > neglected, it too
    > can be understood in terms of information: it can be
    > considered the
    > key that decodes the "central" information, be that
    > DNA or whatever.
    > For instance, Wittgenstein's "language game" is the
    > key that unlocks
    > the meaning of any utterance.
    > I have my own take on information, discussed here
    > way back but not
    > recently. I'll restrain myself to mentioning the
    > website for now:
    >, where mmmi stands for mind, matter,
    > meaning and
    > information.
    Wow! Haven't seen you post here in a LONG time. Welcome back.

    Though I see reduction as helpful, it can be taken too far. In the argument of mind and brain I'm a hardcore mindbrain monist after Paatricia Chruchland, so I can be considered a hardcore reductionist when it comes to the topic of mindbrain. I've no truck with dualism and have decided, after reading Churchland, that Popper's three world plurality is probably a dead end too.

    None the less, after contradicting myself in one paragraph on the dangers of reductionism, I think that genocentric and memocentric reductionism take things too far. One instance of memocentric reductionism is Blackmore's selflex concept. I can follow her to a point, but then I start thinking she's gone over the top.

    Likewise with hardcore infocentrists. I think that information theory is important and all and great for the formalism and claarity it offers where it applies, but reducing human communication to signal transmission in a channel might be taking it too far. Maybe it's a necessary step to take (not quite sure yet), but is it sufficient as an explanation of human communication?

    OK maybe my naive reading of authors like Ritchie and Devlin has gotten me thinking more in terms of context, but I think both author's have good points to make. I was rather impressed with Devlin's book and he's not a biologist. What he says makes sense and when he cited research on "foot in the door" phenomenon stuff I recalled from social psychology class over a decade ago, I was really impressed, because he was taking his arguments into an arena that applies to human social behavior (ie- social psychology). He's looking at the *big picture* and not getting squashed up in the minutae like Aunger does in
    _The Electric Meme_. There were parts in Devlin's book where I wondered if he was getting it wrong, but I didn't see him fall flat on his face.

    I'm trying to get a grip on the bridging between
    "information theory" and "information science" as a possible thesis venture in the future. It could be apples and oranges, but I dunno. I'll see. I'm really fascinated by storage and retrieval stuff at the macro level , more so than mundane formalisms of flow through channels at the micro level, but I guess the two connect somehow.

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