Re: Abstractism

From: Robin Faichney (
Date: Thu Jan 31 2002 - 11:43:40 GMT

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    Subject: Re: Abstractism
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    On Wed, Jan 30, 2002 at 05:07:21PM -0800, Joe Dees wrote:
    > > "Dace" <> <> Re: AbstractismDate: Tue, 29 Jan 2002 21:20:49 -0800
    > >> >> >
    > >> >> Representation is not found in the matter and energy per se, but in
    > >> >their meaningful configuration. According to your formulation, since
    > >> >everything in the universe is matter/energy, representation can exist
    > >> >nowhere in it. Is this the position you are representing?
    > >> >>>>
    > >> >
    > >> >Funny that you dismissed Robin Faichney when you're using
    > >> >"representation" to mean exactly what he means by "information."
    > >> >
    > >> Actually, umm, no. For Robin, information does not have to be either
    > >meaningful or representational. Representation is a forteriori meaningful,
    > >as representation is itself a meaningful relation to that which the
    > >trepresentation re-presents.
    > >
    > >Robin claims information is contained in material "patterns." You claim
    > >representation is contained in material "configurations." You're arguing
    > >exactly the same thing, yet imagining you're having this thunderous debate.
    > >You're not discoursing so much as butting heads to establish hierarchy.
    > >
    > No, it is a central and fundamental disagreement; he sees no necessity for either a meanong-giving self or meaningful information in memetics...

    My actual position, for those who are interested, is that culture can
    in principle be studied without reference to meaning -- confined to
    observing patterns of behaviour -- but the usefulness of doing so is
    limited, and in practice -- and in particular where the study is part
    of the culture (ie it's our own) -- it's extremely difficult. More at

    Also, the types of information that are inherent in physical
    structure and that are meaningful are very different. See

    Robin Faichney 
    "It is tempting to suppose that some concept of information could serve
    eventually to unify mind, matter, and meaning in a single theory," say
    Daniel Dennett and John Haugeland. The theory is here:

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