Rebirth of Reason

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Monday, October 26, 2015 - 12:33pmSanction this postReply

What is the objectivist position on information? Does it exist, for example?


This is admittedly broad, but I am told that the objectivist view is, roughly, that it does not, and that information exists only inasmuch as facts are processed. I have also been told the contra.


Which is correct in objectivist thinking?

Post 1

Monday, October 26, 2015 - 6:15pmSanction this postReply

Not sure what you mean. Objectivists would say that information is an attribute of a living consciousness and that getting it is a process that living, conscious beings engage in. They wouldn't hold, Platonically, that information subsists apart from any consciousness, just as they wouldn't acknowledge color without colored objects or motion without moving objects. This is Aristotle's primacy of entity.


Welcome to RoR.


(Edited by Peter Reidy on 10/26, 6:18pm)

Post 2

Monday, October 26, 2015 - 8:06pmSanction this postReply

There are different approaches to the use of the word "information."


There are those who see information on a cause-effect factor with or without any consciousness.  For example, DNA is seen as 'information' powering biology.  Here there is a discussion of the pattern, complexity, rate of change, etc.  This approach is more of an attempt to unify several different sciences in a mathematical way.  It is an attempt to quantify 'information.'


Another use of the word "information" is where all of the input to the sensory mechanisms of living organisms is called information.  This allows for establishing quantitative approaches that can be used to relate what an organism is subjected to relative to what it does.  Usually this is a behavioral approach of Inputs and Outputs.  E.g, this could be used to measure the degree of movement (output) of a flower to x amount of photosynthetic input.


Gregory Bateson, a systems theorist, defined "information" as a "difference that makes a difference."   His observations on systems often included concepts like feedback, as in when someone's behavior changes when they have an audience, and as their audience reacts to their performance, it influences their performance, etc.  He created the concept of the 'Double Blind' which is a situation where a person recieves two contradictory messages.  He gave examples where the two messages were delivered in different ways, such as one message delivered verbally, but the contradictory message was delivered non-verbally - i.e.,  two different information streams or two different levels of information, as well as contradictory messages. 


For me, the focus is on the context and purpose with which a word, phrase or thought is used.  There are behaviorists who want to define "information" in ways that eliminate the concepts of consciousness, awareness, volition, etc.  Others are borrowing a proper epistemological use of the word "information" to, in effect, anthropromorphize their subject area (which might be valid as an explanatory tool, or it might result in smuggling in meanings that don't apply).  When someone says, "The software performs well when it is presented with the proper information," that can be a valid kind of metaphorical use of the word "information."  But in epistemology we should be clear about our context and that it is limited to the human's perceptual and conceptual relationship to reality.  It would follow the sense of a person becoming "informed" based upon the "info" regarding the subject that they mentally grasped.  Like Peter implied, "To have information would always presume something exists that one can have information of."

Post 3

Tuesday, June 27 - 1:37amSanction this postReply

I do not exactly understand your position

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