Synthese

, Volume 191, Issue 14, pp 3447–3467

Information is intrinsically semantic but alethically neutral

Article

DOI: 10.1007/s11229-014-0457-7

Cite this article as:
Long, B.R. Synthese (2014) 191: 3447. doi:10.1007/s11229-014-0457-7

Abstract

In this paper I argue that, according to a particular physicalist conception of information, information is both alethically neutral or non-alethic, and is intrinsically semantic. The conception of information presented is physicalist and reductionist, and is contrary to most current pluralist and non-reductionist philosophical opinion about the nature of information. The ontology assumed for this conception of information is based upon physicalist non-eliminative ontic structural realism. However, the argument of primary interest is that information so construed is intrinsically semantic on a reductionist and non-alethic basis where semantic content is constituted by indication along causal pathways. Similar arguments have been presented by philosophers with respect to representation. I suggest the conception of information that I present is correct by the lights of the best applied mathematical and scientific theories of information. If so, there is no need for any separate theory of semantic information. Thus I present a theory of intrinsically semantic information which also constitutes an informational theory of truth where truth reduces to information. In the last section I discuss weakly and strongly semantic information, and reject them in favour of alethically neutral intrinsically semantic information.

Keywords

Information The philosophy of information Information theory Informational semantics Semantics Metaphysics Shannon Floridi Kolmogorov Semantic theories of information Weakly semantic information  Strongly semantic information 

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.The Department of PhilosophyThe University of SydneySydneyAustralia

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