Received: by alpheratz.cpm.aca.mmu.ac.uk id NAA04516 (8.6.9/5.3[ref email@example.com] for cpm.aca.mmu.ac.uk from firstname.lastname@example.org); Wed, 9 May 2001 13:09:08 +0100 Date: Wed, 9 May 2001 12:50:40 +0100 To: email@example.com Subject: Re: Information Message-ID: <20010509125040.A11502@ii01.org> References: <3AF2CDEF.20100.6C3DAE@localhost>; <20010505133035.A1058@ii01.org> <3AF804BF.18774.505BE1@localhost> Content-Type: text/plain; charset=us-ascii Content-Disposition: inline User-Agent: Mutt/1.3.15i In-Reply-To: <3AF804BF.18774.505BE1@localhost>; from firstname.lastname@example.org on Tue, May 08, 2001 at 02:37:51PM -0500 From: Robin Faichney <email@example.com> Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Precedence: bulk Reply-To: email@example.com
On Tue, May 08, 2001 at 02:37:51PM -0500, firstname.lastname@example.org wrote:
> On 5 May 2001, at 13:30, Robin Faichney wrote:
> > So what do you think of the use of "information" in communication
> > theory? Is that all wrong too? Are you the only one that's in step?
> There is code, carrier and message in information theory, and the
> code encodes some semantic content (the message) in a medium
> of exchange (the carrier). It is sent by a sender and received by a
> rerceiver. The message is the way a sender INFORMS a receiver
> of a particular semantic content (the message) sent via a particular
> action/perception medium (the carrier) and using a commonly
> understood code. The person not commonly understanding both
> the premisis and consequences of information theory is you, Robin.
information theory: The study of information by mathematical
methods. Informally, information can be considered as the extent
to which a message conveys what was previously unknown, and so is
new or surprising. Mathematically, the rate at which information
is conveyed from a source is identified with entropy of the
source (per second or per symbol). Although information theory
is sometimes restricted to the entropy formulation of sources
and channels, it sometimes includes coding theory, in which
case the term is used synonymously with communication theory.
[Dictionary of Computing, Oxford Science Publications, 1986]
All of the techniques of communication theory apply to any stream of
symbols regardless of their meaning, or even if they have none. All that
is required of each "symbol" (you might think that word inappropriate
if it has no meaning, but that doesn't matter) is that it have some
particular probability of occurring.
Like "symbol", "information" is just a word that can be used any way
anyone wants to use it, assuming only that it serves their communicative
needs. My needs connect with those of the communication theorists.
Yours apparently don't.
But in any case, to try to be dogmatic about definitions is futile.
And to imagine ontological arguments where there are really only semantic
and methodological ones is ridiculous. To say "there is no information
'out there'" is practically meaningless. Whether it can be useful to
treat material structure as if it were information could be a worthwhile
argument. But you're too busy insisting "there is no information 'out
there'" to take part in it.
-- Robin Faichney Get your Meta-Information from http://www.ii01.org (CAUTION: contains philosophy, may cause heads to spin)
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