The informational turn in philosophy

Minds and Machines 13 (4):471-501 (2003)
  Copy   BIBTEX

Abstract

This paper traces the application of information theory to philosophical problems of mind and meaning from the earliest days of the creation of the mathematical theory of communication. The use of information theory to understand purposive behavior, learning, pattern recognition, and more marked the beginning of the naturalization of mind and meaning. From the inception of information theory, Wiener, Turing, and others began trying to show how to make a mind from informational and computational materials. Over the last 50 years, many philosophers saw different aspects of the naturalization of the mind, though few saw at once all of the pieces of the puzzle that we now know. Starting with Norbert Wiener himself, philosophers and information theorists used concepts from information theory to understand cognition. This paper provides a window on the historical sequence of contributions made to the overall project of naturalizing the mind by philosophers from Shannon, Wiener, and MacKay, to Dennett, Sayre, Dretske, Fodor, and Perry, among others. At some time between 1928 and 1948, American engineers and mathematicians began to talk about `Theory of Information' and `Information Theory,' understanding by these terms approximately and vaguely a theory for which Hartley's `amount of information' is a basic concept. I have been unable to find out when and by whom these names were first used. Hartley himself does not use them nor does he employ the term `Theory of Transmission of Information,' from which the two other shorter terms presumably were derived. It seems that Norbert Wiener and Claude Shannon were using them in the Mid-Forties

Links

PhilArchive



    Upload a copy of this work     Papers currently archived: 92,907

External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library

Similar books and articles

Putting Information First: Luciano Floridi and the Philosophy of Information.Patrick Allo - 2011-04-22 - In Armen T. Marsoobian, Brian J. Huschle, Eric Cavallero & Patrick Allo (eds.), Putting Information First. Wiley‐Blackwell. pp. 1–8.
Embodied cognition and theory of mind.Shannon Spaulding - 2014 - In Lawrence A. Shapiro (ed.), The Routledge Handbook of Embodied Cognition. New York: Routledge. pp. 197-206.
Four challenges for a theory of informational privacy.Luciano Floridi - 2006 - Ethics and Information Technology 8 (3):109–119.
The reference of de re representations.Frank Hofmann - 2001 - Grazer Philosophische Studien 62 (1):83-101.
Social Cognition and Theory of Mind.Evan Westra - 2021 - In Benjamin D. Young & Carolyn Dicey Jennings (eds.), Mind, Cognition, and Neuroscience: A Philosophical Introduction. Routledge.

Analytics

Added to PP
2009-01-28

Downloads
948 (#15,396)

6 months
33 (#104,962)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?