Received: by alpheratz.cpm.aca.mmu.ac.uk id BAA15265 (8.6.9/5.3[ref email@example.com] for cpm.aca.mmu.ac.uk from firstname.lastname@example.org); Tue, 5 Feb 2002 01:57:40 GMT Date: Mon, 4 Feb 2002 17:51:55 -0800 Message-Id: <email@example.com> Content-Type: text/plain Content-Disposition: inline Content-Transfer-Encoding: binary X-Mailer: MIME-tools 4.104 (Entity 4.116) X-Originating-Ip: [188.8.131.52] From: "Joe Dees" <firstname.lastname@example.org> To: email@example.com Subject: Re: Abstractism Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Precedence: bulk Reply-To: email@example.com('binary' encoding is not supported, stored as-is)
> "Dace" <firstname.lastname@example.org> <email@example.com> Re: AbstractismDate: Sun, 3 Feb 2002 09:56:26 -0800
>From: Joe Dees
>> >Physics deals with the structure of matter as well as its components.
>> >There's no physical structure called "information" or "representation."
>> >Electrons and quarks are contained in atomic structures. Atoms are
>> >contained in chemical structures. Those are the only kind of structures
>> >you'll find in the ink on a page.
>> Information is in configuration, when it is, because we intentionally
>arrange the configurations in order to put the information there for the
>purposes of communicating it to others.
>We "intentionally arrange the configurations" so that the intended meaning will appear in the mind of the reader.
And to do so requires prompting and indeed, information transfer. Face it, Ted, languages are codes, and written languages are codes for spoken languages, so that the weriiten word 'cat' stands for the spoken word 'cat', which in turn stands for a certain species of feline. And what is encoded is information. Your Platonic/Socratic view that all information is already in the woo-woo world-over-soul morphic single-entity Mind and requires only questions to provoke the right answers (which were known 'all along' and just needed to be remembered) from one of its convenient human outlets has been rightfully abandoned for two millennia.
>At no point do we endow the ink or the pixels with some sort of mystical property called "meaning" or "information." Meaning is in the mind. To find it in the material world is to engage in a kind of physicalist superstition, like imagining you've seen a ghost or the Virgin Mary.
You find it where you put it. If I write a book and someone else in my language community reads it, I have, to a hermeneutically significant degree, communicated my meaning to that person. And since this is a person that I did not even have to meet in order to do so, the meaning-link is provided by the language-encoding configuration of the written text (unless you're prepared to embrace and expound upon some sort of magical, mystical nonlocality meaning-transfer model, which would not surprise me about you).
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