What is Information?

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What is Information?

Quote:Information is all the rage in science, changing how we think about fundamental questions. Information has many descriptions, some of them surprising. Why is Information so important to scientists and philosophers?
'Historically, we may regard materialism as a system of dogma set up to combat orthodox dogma...Accordingly we find that, as ancient orthodoxies disintegrate, materialism more and more gives way to scepticism.'

- Bertrand Russell


A very complex subject.

With noted interpretative comments, from http://www.capurro.de/infoconcept.html#Conclusion:

Quote:"There are many concepts of information, and they are embedded in more or less explicit theoretical structures.
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In our view, the most important distinction in the concepts of information is the distinction between information as an object or a thing (e.g. number of bits) (note: that is, information as an immaterial descriptive abstraction consisting of what is called the raw "Shannon information" of data representing configurations of things, regardless of meanings or no meanings, unattached to any meanings),  and information as a subjective concept, information as a sign, i.e. as depending on the interpretation of a cognitive agent (note: that is, raw Shannon information that also has meaning, which inherently requires either a conscious agent or some lawlike relationship with physical things).

The interpretation view removes the attention from attributes of things to the "release mechanisms" for whom those attributes are of importance. This may cause frustration, because it is difficult and because it implies teleological principles which are foreign to positivist principles of science (note: hence the dispute over the distinction between raw Shannon information and the meaningful Functional Complex Specified Information (FSCI) of the genome and of the structures of living organisms).

Accordingly, it is relatively easy to count the number of words in a document or describe it in other ways (note: that is, to get a measure of the amount of raw Shannon information). It is much more difficult to try to figure out for whom that document is of importance, and what the important questions are, that the document can answer (note: that is, to essentially determine the amount of meaningful information and (even more importantly), to understand it, which, again, requires a conscious agent)." 

The bottom line: to even begin to understand "information" requires the inclusion of teleological concepts, whether or not that is acceptable to reductionist materialists.
(This post was last modified: 2022-07-27, 04:19 PM by nbtruthman. Edited 6 times in total.)
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