Re[2]: data, information and knowledge

From: Robin Faichney (
Date: Thu 26 May 2005 - 09:15:21 GMT

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    Wednesday, May 25, 2005, 11:19:58 PM, Scott Chase wrote:

    > --- 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.

    Thanks very much. I've been focusing on other things for a couple of years so not only have I not been posting here but I'm generally out of touch with developments in memetics. I've just ordered The Electric Meme but I'm sure there's plenty more I need to read. I'd be interested in people's ideas on what have been the most important publications over, say, the last 2-3 years.

    > 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?

    Depends on what level(s) you're interested in. Just as context determines meaning in communication, so your interests, goals etc determine what constitutes a sufficient explanation. My main interests are philosophical, and at that highly abstract, theoretical level I find that information in general, and genes and memes as particular classes of it, have terrific explanatory power. But I'm quite skeptical about the potential of memetics in explaining particular cultural phenomena. And philosophy of mind certainly requires other concepts, such as a proper analysis of subjectivity and objectivity, as offered by Nagel but shamefully neglected by other contemporaries.

    I'm afraid my current ignorance, hopefully soon to be remedied, prevents me commenting on the remainder of your post.

    Best regards,
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