Sets of Signals, Information Flow, and Folktales

  • Mark Alan Finlayson
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 7318)

Abstract

I apply Barwise and Seligman’s theory of information flow to understand how sets of signals can carry information. More precisely I focus on the case where the information of interest is not present in any individual signal, but rather is carried by correlations between signals. This focus has the virtue of highlighting an oft-neglected process, viz., the different methods that apply categories to raw signals. Different methods result in different information, and the set of available methods provides a way of characterizing relative degrees of intensionality. I illustrate my points with the case of folktales and how they transmit cultural information. Certain sorts of cultural information, such as a grammar of hero stories, are not found in any individual tale but rather in a set of tales. Taken together, these considerations lead to some comments regarding the “information unit” of narratives and other complex signals.

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References

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    Dretske, F.I.: Knowledge and the Flow of Information. MIT Press, Cambridge (1981)Google Scholar
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    Dretske, F.I.: Précis of knowledge and the flow of information. The Behavioral and Brain Sciences 6(1), 55–90 (1983)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
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    Finlayson, M.A.: Learning Narrative Structure from Annotated Folktales. Ph.D. thesis, Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (2011)Google Scholar
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    Lévi-Strauss, C.: The structural study of myth. The Journal of American Folklore 68(270), 428–444 (1955)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
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    Propp, V.: Morphology of the Folktale. University of Texas Press, Austin (1968)Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mark Alan Finlayson
    • 1
  1. 1.Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence LaboratoryMassachusetts Institute of TechnologyCambridgeUnited States of America

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