Re: Information

Date: Sun Apr 29 2001 - 23:28:32 BST

  • Next message: Wade T.Smith: "Re: Information"

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    On 29 Apr 2001, at 13:13, Robin Faichney wrote:

    > On Thu, Apr 26, 2001 at 04:03:57PM -0500, wrote:
    > > On 26 Apr 2001, at 10:58, Robin Faichney wrote: > > > There are two
    > "kinds" of information: physical information is a > > concept that
    > originated in physics and is basically structure, or > > form. It is
    > inversely proportional to entropy, because as entropy > > rises,
    > structure breaks down. In this sense, the state of a light > > switch
    > is certainly information. It needs no observer, being > > objective
    > in absolute terms, unlike, say, a description of something, > > which
    > can at best be objective only in relative terms. > > > > The other
    > "kind" of information is the intentional sort, which does > > require
    > a mind. This is information that is *about* anything, or at > > least
    > that claims to be (what it's about needn't actually exist). This > >
    > information is subjective, in absolute terms: all descriptions are > >
    > intentional information, even though some are relatively objective. >
    > > Knowledge of the state of the light switch -- or of anything else --
    > > > is of this sort. > > > > Another way of looking at the
    > subjectivity/objectivity of information > > is to say that physical
    > information is ontologically objective, while > > intentional
    > information may be epistemologically objective, but even > > then can
    > never be absolutely complete and accurate, as physical > > information
    > necessarily is, because the latter is not about anything > > other
    > than itself, and exists only "for it's own sake". > > > > I'm
    > convinced the answer to the mind/body problem, the "hard problem" > >
    > recently mentioned by Joe, is in the relationship between these two >
    > > types of information. > > > I might consider 'objective' information
    > (although we can never know > of such a thing, since all information
    > we apprehend is subjective or > intersubjective) to be pattern or
    > configuration,
    > What you do is, of course, up to you. But where the topic of interest
    > is the relationship between mind and matter, it seems important to me
    > to incorporate the latter, which I do by using "information" as the
    > concept is used in physics, and differentiating that from the more
    > common concept by prepending "physical", thus: "physical information".
    > This is material structure.
    All information is encoded in some physical substrate, so your
    addition of "material" is redundant.
    > > and reserve the term
    > > information for meaningful patterns, which, of course, would require
    > > someone for them to mean something TO.
    > That's "intentional information".
    Meaning is what people intend. Meaning-bereft intentionality is an
    empty set.
    > > Representation is by
    > > definition an 'aboutness' phenomena; what is represented is not
    > > identical with its representation. It also has to represent its
    > > referent TO someone to be representation.
    > Obviously.
    > > One could, however,
    > > make the same or a similar case concerning the terms 'pattern' and
    > > 'configuration', and claim that all we can possibly say of
    > > objectivity without reference to an apprehending subjectivity is
    > > that it IS, or, in other words, that it exists as brute facticity.
    > I think we can say rather more than that. This is what the hard
    > sciences are all about, isn't it?
    No; whatever we learn about the universe holds meaning for us by
    virtue of its categorization of its object. And what you have in
    science is not objectivity, but intersubjective aggreement based
    upon the perused and interpreted results of repeated experiments,
    conducted by multiple subjects, under controlled conditions.
    > And then there's the question of the reality of patterns. As I've
    > said, I follow Dennett in considering (some) patterns to be entirely
    > "real", where that means they exist independently of any observer. See
    The question is whether such patterns have meaning independent
    of us; they do not, as it is us who both derive meaning from being,
    and impose meaning upon it. In fact, an unapprehended pattern
    cannot be even said to exist, as we have no evidence of it.
    > It's just as well that (some) patterns are real, as they are all that
    > science has to go on!
    Science is intersubjective, and scientifically meaningful patterns
    are intersubjectively apprehended.
    > > > > Question 2: Do you think that high quality information can be
    > > > > reduced to large quantities of primitive information? Or is
    > > > > there something about some information quality that cannot be
    > > > > reduced?
    > > >
    > > > For me, "quality" is not sufficiently well defined to allow such
    > > > questions to be answered. It's not a word I use in my
    > > > philosophizing.
    > > >
    > > Because of the previously mentioned hard problem of subjectifying
    > > the objective, or vice-versa. The term that information theory uses
    > > is 'compressibility'. Somethings may be symbolized or represented
    > > by more compressed maps than others, and this has a lot to do with
    > > the level of entropy contained in the referent. If entropy is
    > > total, that is, if pattern is completely absent, no compressibility
    > > is possible, and in general, the more ordered the referent is, the
    > > more compressible it is.
    > You're a little confused there. At the most fundamental level, a
    > given stream of information's compressability has nothing to do with
    > what that information is about. The question is whether, and if so to
    > what extent, the number of bits can be reduced without loss, i.e.
    > allowing the original stream to be regenerated. A perfectly random
    > stream cannot be compressed at all. This is discussed on the webpage
    > mentioned above.
    If you will reread what I wrote, I made no mention of a stream of
    information's particular semantic content. Can a stream of
    information be about nothing at all? What could such a thing
    inform concerning?
    > --
    > Robin Faichney
    > Get your Meta-Information from
    > (CAUTION: contains philosophy, may cause heads to spin)
    > ===============================================================
    > This was distributed via the memetics list associated with the
    > Journal of Memetics - Evolutionary Models of Information Transmission
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    > see:

    This was distributed via the memetics list associated with the
    Journal of Memetics - Evolutionary Models of Information Transmission
    For information about the journal and the list (e.g. unsubscribing)

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