mind, matter, meaning and information

“It is tempting to suppose that some concept of information could serve eventually to unify mind, matter, and meaning in a single theory.” Daniel C Dennett and John Haugeland

This site explains that theory.

Information is not just what's conveyed by our messages (like this one) but also what's conveyed by all five senses. It could be said metaphorically to be the sea in which we live, breathe and swim. There's a strong sense in which it's all we know. A metaphysics based upon it is long overdue.

Information is basically form. The concept of physical information is a way of viewing material form. Genetic and cultural information are differently encoded forms of physical information. Life and culture can be defined as the survival of encoded items of physical information. Genetic and cultural information both evolve.

The ordinary sort of information, which is “about something”, is called “intentional information”. Information processing is a particular take on (some) physical processes. A mind is a conscious information processor. Communication is the transfer of information between minds. Meaning is the intended, perceived or actual effect of such a transfer. Consciousness is a stream of intentional information. The concepts of consciousness and of matter, like all concepts, are items of cultural information. The attribution of consciousness is intersubjective, but that doesn't mean consciousness is illusory—in fact, consciousness is as real as matter. But no more so: both concepts (like all concepts) have limitations.

the author

Copyright © 2000—2006 by Robin Faichney. This material may be distributed only subject to the terms and conditions set forth in the Open Publication License, v1.0 or later (the latest version is presently available at http://www.opencontent.org/openpub/). Distribution of substantively modified versions of this document is prohibited without the explicit permission of the copyright holder. Distribution of the work or derivative of the work in any standard (paper) book form is prohibited unless prior permission is obtained from the copyright holder. Last modified 09-Dec-2006 10:12:58 by Robin Faichney.