David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Ezio Di Nucci
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Philosophy of Science 69 (4):578-605 (2002)
The semantic concept of information is one of the most important, and one of the most problematical concepts in biology. I suggest a broad definition of biological information: a source becomes an informational input when an interpreting receiver can react to the form of the source (and variations in this form) in a functional manner. The definition accommodates information stemming from environmental cues as well as from evolved signals, and calls for a comparison between information‐transmission in different types of inheritance systems—the genetic, the epigenetic, the behavioral, and the cultural‐symbolic. This comparative perspective highlights the different ways in which information is acquired and transmitted, and the role that such information plays in heredity and evolution. Focusing on the special properties of the transfer of information, which are very different from those associated with the transfer of materials or energy, also helps to uncover interesting evolutionary effects and suggests better explanations for some aspects of the evolution of communication.
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Citations of this work BETA
Arnon Levy (2011). Information in Biology: A Fictionalist Account. Noûs 45 (4):640-657.
Nicholas Shea (2007). Representation in the Genome and in Other Inheritance Systems. Biology and Philosophy 22 (3):313-331.
Rosa Cao (2012). A Teleosemantic Approach to Information in the Brain. Biology and Philosophy 27 (1):49-71.
Argyris Arnellos, Luis Emilio Bruni, Charbel Niño El-Hani & John Collier (2012). Anticipatory Functions, Digital-Analog Forms and Biosemiotics: Integrating the Tools to Model Information and Normativity in Autonomous Biological Agents. Biosemiotics 5 (3):331-367.
Nicholas Shea (2011). Developmental Systems Theory Formulated as a Claim About Inherited Representations. Philosophy of Science 78 (1):60-82.
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