The philosophy of information (PI) is the area of research that studies conceptual issues arising at the intersection of computer science, information technology, and philosophy.
1. the critical investigation of the conceptual nature and basic principles of information, including its dynamics, utilisation and sciences
2. the elaboration and application of information-theoretic and computational methodologies to philosophical problems.
1.1 Logic of information
1.3 Study of language and information
2 Defininitions of “information”
2.2 Shannon and Weaver
3 Philosophical directions
3.1 Information and society
Semiotics, also called semiotic studies or (in the Saussurean tradition) semiology, is the study of signs and sign processes (semiosis), indication, designation, likeness, analogy, metaphor, symbolism, signification, and communication. Semiotics is closely related to the field of linguistics, which, for its part, studies the structure and meaning of language more specifically. Semiotics is often divided into three branches:
Semantics: Relation between signs and the things to which they refer; their denotata, or meaning
Syntactics: Relations among signs in formal structures
Pragmatics: Relation between signs and the effects they have on the people who use them
Semiotics is frequently seen as having important anthropological dimensions; for example, Umberto Eco proposes that every cultural phenomenon can be studied as communication. However, some semioticians focus on the logical dimensions of the science. They examine areas belonging also to the natural sciences – such as how organisms make predictions about, and adapt to, their semiotic niche in the world (see semiosis). In general, semiotic theories take signs or sign systems as their object of study: the communication of information in living organisms is covered in biosemiotics or zoosemiosis.
Syntactics is the branch of semiotics that deals with the formal properties of signs and symbols. More precisely, syntactics deals with the “rules that govern how words are combined to form phrases and sentences.” Charles Morris adds that semantics deals with the relation of signs to their designata and the objects which they may or do denote; and, pragmatics deals with the biotic aspects of semiosis, that is, with all the psychological, biological, and sociological phenomena which occur in the functioning of signs.
Cybernetics is the interdisciplinary study of the structure of regulatory systems. Cybernetics is closely related to control theory and systems theory, at least in its first-order form. (Second-order cybernetics has crucial methodological and epistemological implications that are fundamental to the field as a whole.) Both in its origins and in its evolution in the second half of the 20th century, cybernetics is equally applicable to physical and social (that is, language-based) systems.
A code is a rule for converting a piece of information (for example, a letter, word, phrase, or gesture) into another form or representation (one sign into another sign), not necessarily of the same type.
In communications and information processing, encoding is the process by which information from a source is converted into symbols to be communicated. Decoding is the reverse process, converting these code symbols back into information understandable by a receiver.
One reason for coding is to enable communication in places where ordinary spoken or written language is difficult or impossible. For example, semaphore, where the configuration of flags held signaller or the arms of a semaphore tower encodes parts of the message, typically individual letters and numbers. Another person standing a great distance away can interpret the flags and reproduce the words sent.
Floating signifiers or empty signifiers is a term used in semiotics to denote signifiers without referents, such as a word that doesn’t point to any actual object or agreed upon meaning.
In religious studies and social philosophy, hermeneutics (English pronunciation: /hɜrməˈn(j)uːtɨks/) is the study of the theory and practice of interpretation. Traditional hermeneutics—which includes Biblical hermeneutics—refers to the study of the interpretation of written texts, especially texts in the areas of literature, religion and law. Contemporary, or modern, hermeneutics encompasses not only issues involving the written text, but everything in the interpretative process. This includes verbal and nonverbal forms of communication as well as prior aspects that affect communication, such as presuppositions, preunderstandings, the meaning and philosophy of language, and semiotics. Philosophical hermeneutics refers primarily to Hans-Georg Gadamer’s theory of knowledge as developed in Truth and Method, and sometimes to Paul Ricoeur. Hermeneutic consistency refers to analysis of texts for coherent explanation. A hermeneutic (singular) refers to one particular method or strand of interpretation. See also double hermeneutic.
The terms exegesis and hermeneutics are sometimes used interchangeably because exegesis focuses primarily on the written text. Hermeneutics however is a more widely defined discipline of interpretation theory including the entire framework of the interpretive process and, encompassing all forms of communication and expression; written, verbal, artistic, geo-political, physiological, sociological etc.
Information theory is a branch of applied mathematics and electrical engineering involving the quantification of information. Information theory was developed by Claude E. Shannon to find fundamental limits on signal processing operations such as compressing data and on reliably storing and communicating data. Since its inception it has broadened to find applications in many other areas, including statistical inference, natural language processing, cryptography generally, networks other than communication networks — as in neurobiology, the evolution and function of molecular codes, model selection in ecology, thermal physics, quantum computing, plagiarism detection and other forms of data analysis.
A key measure of information is known as entropy, which is usually expressed by the average number of bits needed for storage or communication. Entropy quantifies the uncertainty involved in predicting the value of a random variable. For example, specifying the outcome of a fair coin flip (two equally likely outcomes) provides less information (lower entropy) than specifying the outcome from a roll of a die (six equally likely outcomes).
Applications of fundamental topics of information theory include lossless data compression (e.g. ZIP files), lossy data compression (e.g. MP3s and JPGs), and channel coding (e.g. for DSL lines). The field is at the intersection of mathematics, statistics, computer science, physics, neurobiology, and electrical engineering. Its impact has been crucial to the success of the Voyager missions to deep space, the invention of the compact disc, the feasibility of mobile phones, the development of the Internet, the study of linguistics and of human perception, the understanding of black holes, and numerous other fields. Important sub-fields of information theory are source coding, channel coding, algorithmic complexity theory, algorithmic information theory, information-theoretic security, and measures of information.
International Association for Semiotic Studies
International Association for Semiotic Studies (Association Internationale de Sémiotique, IASS-AIS) is the major world organisation of semioticians, established in 1969.
The founding members of the Association include Algirdas Julien Greimas, Roman Jakobson, Julia Kristeva, Emile Benveniste, André Martinet, Roland Barthes, Umberto Eco, Thomas A. Sebeok, and Juri Lotman.
The official journal of the Association is Semiotica, published by Mouton de Gruyter. The working languages of the association are English and French.
The Executive Committee of the IASS (le Comité Directeur de l’AIS) consists of the representatives from semiotic societies of member countries (two from each).
Logic of information
The logic of information, or the logical theory of information, considers the information content of logical signs and expressions along the lines initially developed by Charles Sanders Peirce. In this line of work, the concept of information serves to integrate the aspects of signs and expressions that are separately covered, on the one hand, by the concepts of denotation and extension, and on the other hand, by the concepts of connotation and comprehension.
Peirce began to develop these ideas in his lectures “On the Logic of Science” at Harvard University (1865) and the Lowell Institute (1866).
Pragmatic theory of truth
Pragmatic theory of truth refers to those accounts, definitions, and theories of the concept truth that distinguish the philosophies of pragmatism and pragmaticism. The conception of truth in question varies along lines that reflect the influence of several thinkers, initially and notably, Charles Sanders Peirce, William James, and John Dewey, but a number of common features can be identified. The most characteristic features are (1) a reliance on the pragmatic maxim as a means of clarifying the meanings of difficult concepts, truth in particular, and (2) an emphasis on the fact that the product variously branded as belief, certainty, knowledge, or truth is the result of a process, namely, inquiry.
The pragmatic maxim, also known as the maxim of pragmatism or the maxim of pragmaticism, is a maxim of logic formulated by Charles Sanders Peirce. Serving as a normative recommendation or a regulative principle in the normative science of logic, its function is to guide the conduct of thought toward the achievement of its purpose, advising on an optimal way of “attaining clearness of apprehension”. Here is its original 1878 statement in English when it was not yet named:
It appears, then, that the rule for attaining the third grade of clearness of apprehension is as follows: Consider what effects, that might conceivably have practical bearings, we conceive the object of our conception to have. Then, our conception of these effects is the whole of our conception of the object.
(Peirce on p. 293 of “How to Make Our Ideas Clear”, Popular Science Monthly, v. 12, pp. 286–302. Reprinted widely, including Collected Papers of Charles Sanders Peirce (CP) v. 5, paragraphs 388–410.)
Charles Sanders Peirce bibliography
This Charles Sanders Peirce bibliography consolidates numerous references to Charles Sanders Peirce’s writings, including letters, manuscripts, publications, and Nachlass. For an extensive chronological list of Peirce’s works (titled in English), see the Chronologische Übersicht (Chronological Overview) on the Schriften (Writings) page for Charles Sanders Pierce.