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Philosophy of information

by 0xDEADBEEF
Tags: information, philosophy
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0xDEADBEEF
#1
Jun6-09, 04:32 PM
P: 824
Does anyone know of work on the philosophy of information? I am thinking along the lines of on abstraction and the related question about reality especially of mathematics? Kant was wrong, Plato not deep enough, Wittgenstein wants to make it a language problem. There must be something more current.
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apeiron
#2
Jun6-09, 06:15 PM
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You may have to be more specific about what you are interested in here.

It could be the issue of meaning, and here there is recent work on semiotics in the Peircean tradition.

Or talking about the reality of measurements, there is Robert Rosen's book, Essays on Life Itself, which is a particular favourite.
0xDEADBEEF
#3
Jun6-09, 06:51 PM
P: 824
I don't like the idea of symbols, because they are man made and imply subjectivity. I am thinking along the lines that some information is recoverable and therefore still present lending it some reality, and seeing some relationship between reality and concreteness of a description as opposed to mathematics and generalizations... well very fuzzy concepts so far, but since computer science is coming up even philosophers get more exposed to the technicalities, so I am hoping that there is work being done. I am less worried about quantum information and reality, since I am of the "shut up and calculate" fraction.

apeiron
#4
Jun6-09, 09:24 PM
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Philosophy of information

That's still a little opaque but it sounds like you stand at the other end of the spectrum to me so you can discount my references.

Sounds like you want to be reading Wolfram, Tegmark and guys like that.
AhmedEzz
#5
Jun7-09, 07:33 AM
P: 111
Are you asking about the interpretation of symbols and signs of mathematics? My professor said once that we can never make a perfect circle that obeys the laws of circumference and area and he continued from there with a discussion that I can not remember. However, it was still along the same lines of whether this "perfect circle" exists in our world or in a platonistic world. Am I getting close?
0xDEADBEEF
#6
Jun7-09, 12:07 PM
P: 824
Quote Quote by AhmedEzz View Post
Are you asking about the interpretation of symbols and signs of mathematics?
As I said I don't like the notion of symbols. But it is going in this direction.

My professor said once that we can never make a perfect circle that obeys the laws of circumference and area and he continued from there with a discussion that I can not remember. However, it was still along the same lines of whether this "perfect circle" exists in our world or in a platonistic world. Am I getting close?
Well this is where Plato is wrong. He argued that ideas like the circle you mentioned are as real or actually more real than objects. The point is, that Newtons law of gravity is real in a certain sense, as well as inflation for example, but reality differs from these concepts in subtle ways. There is some kind of reciprocal relationship between abstraction and reality, so "the chair that I am sitting on", is more real in a way than "the European attitude on the death penalty". But ever since the appearance of pseudo objects like files some very abstract things have gained a new kind of reality.

Maybe you can see the direction where I want to go. I think Plato was much to simplistic. He discovered the idea and suddenly he thought that this was the path to enlightenment and claimed that ideas was all there is in the world. This isn't very helpful, and there should be new thought given to this area IMHO.
AhmedEzz
#7
Jun7-09, 12:28 PM
P: 111
This is indeed interesting. At first, when I was talking to my professor I thought he was amplifying a very small issue. However, as our discussion progressed, I began to see the implication of such discussion. There should be a good read on this subject. If you found anything , please, do let me know.
JoeDawg
#8
Jun7-09, 06:24 PM
P: 1,330
Quote Quote by 0xDEADBEEF View Post
But ever since the appearance of pseudo objects like files some very abstract things have gained a new kind of reality.
Pseudo objects?
DaveC426913
#9
Jun7-09, 09:17 PM
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Quote Quote by JoeDawg View Post
Pseudo objects?
A file is not a real object.

One of the fundamental differences between an atomic object and a digital object is that a digital object and its duplicate are truely identical and interchangeable, whereas an atomic object's duplicate is never more than a simalcrum. Even if you duplicate it down to the atom, it is still made out of atoms that are distinct from the original's atoms. The same is not true about a digital object (the memory materials are not part of the digital object).
Condor77
#10
Jun7-09, 10:00 PM
P: 9
Greetings OxDEADBEEF!

Would you be so kind as to tell me what exactly was Kant wrong about?

Regards,
JoeDawg
#11
Jun7-09, 10:16 PM
P: 1,330
Quote Quote by DaveC426913 View Post
(the memory materials are not part of the digital object).
That's like saying atoms aren't part of being a hammer, or writing materials aren't part of writing. Every instance of a 'digital object' requires some kind of hardware, or medium, as far as I know. Even if the 'hardware' is just radio waves.
JoeDawg
#12
Jun7-09, 10:17 PM
P: 1,330
Quote Quote by Condor77 View Post
Would you be so kind as to tell me what exactly was Kant wrong about?
Ethics.
Condor77
#13
Jun7-09, 10:26 PM
P: 9
I meant within the context of the OP.

My apologies if I was not clear.

Regards,
JoeDawg
#14
Jun7-09, 10:35 PM
P: 1,330
Quote Quote by Condor77 View Post
I meant within the context of the OP.
Yeah, I didn't understand the OP either.
DaveC426913
#15
Jun7-09, 10:39 PM
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Quote Quote by JoeDawg View Post
That's like saying atoms aren't part of being a hammer, or writing materials aren't part of writing. Every instance of a 'digital object' requires some kind of hardware, or medium, as far as I know. Even if the 'hardware' is just radio waves.
No, the hammer is its atoms.

You are right about the writing thing though. I could copy every letter of a hand-written story onto a paper using a typewriter and it would be the same story. The story is not the medium it is represented with.

In the same manner, the file is an abstract, the medium used for presenting the file is not the file itself.
JoeDawg
#16
Jun7-09, 11:01 PM
P: 1,330
Quote Quote by DaveC426913 View Post
No, the hammer is its atoms.

You are right about the writing thing though. I could copy every letter of a hand-written story onto a paper using a typewriter and it would be the same story. The story is not the medium it is represented with.

In the same manner, the file is an abstract, the medium used for presenting the file is not the file itself.
A hammer is a functional definition. I can use a rock, or a screwdriver, as a hammer. The atoms don't much matter. Even atoms of water, at a certain temp, can be used as a hammer.

Similarly, the story may be similar, but its more clearly different, if say I rewrite it in french. The hardware, does matter, because it defines a different instance and form of the story. Just like a digital image being transmitted over radio waves is different from the magnetic form saved to a hard drive. One can translate from one to the other, given the proper translation hardware, because they are similar, but they are not the same.
DaveC426913
#17
Jun7-09, 11:07 PM
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Quote Quote by JoeDawg View Post
A hammer is a functional definition.
No it isn't. "The hammer" is a particular hammer.

Quote Quote by JoeDawg View Post
Similarly, the story may be similar, but its more clearly different, if say I rewrite it in french.
Yes, that is a different story.

Quote Quote by JoeDawg View Post
The hardware, does matter, because it defines a different instance and form of the story. Just like a digital image being transmitted over radio waves is different from the magnetic form saved to a hard drive. One can translate from one to the other, given the proper translation hardware, because they are similar, but they are not the same.
Right, but two copies of the same file (sans metadata) are identical, even in principle.
JoeDawg
#18
Jun7-09, 11:26 PM
P: 1,330
Quote Quote by DaveC426913 View Post
No it isn't. "The hammer" is a particular hammer.
Hammer is not a chemical or atomic property. Its either a functional definition, a category reference, or a given name reference. I guarantee I could buy two identical hammers, from a hardware store, and you wouldn't know the difference. Just like I could buy two copies of the same book. They are still different instances of the same story, just like you can have multiple instances of 'hammer'. The fact, you can't tell the difference between them, doesn't mean they are the same.
Right, but two copies of the same file (sans metadata) are identical, even in principle.
They might 'seem identical' to you, but an original manuscript and a well-made fake would as well, if you were not an expert in manuscripts. Just like, similar digital images will look the same whether they are loaded from a flash drive or a regular hard drive. A computer technician could tell you how the 'files' are different, and could even tell you how identical files on the same hard drive are different.


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