Authors
Brett Calcott
University of Sydney
Paul Edmund Griffiths
University of Sydney
Abstract
Recent work by Brian Skyrms offers a very general way to think about how information flows and evolves in biological networks—from the way monkeys in a troop communicate to the way cells in a body coordinate their actions. A central feature of his account is a way to formally measure the quantity of information contained in the signals in these networks. In this article, we argue there is a tension between how Skyrms talks of signalling networks and his formal measure of information. Although Skyrms refers to both how information flows through networks and that signals carry information, we show that his formal measure only captures the latter. We then suggest that to capture the notion of flow in signalling networks, we need to treat them as causal networks. This provides the formal tools to define a measure that does capture flow, and we do so by drawing on recent work defining causal specificity. Finally, we suggest that this new measure is crucial if we wish to explain how evolution creates information. For signals to play a role in explaining their own origins and stability, they can’t just carry information about acts; they must be difference-makers for acts. _1_ Signalling, Evolution, and Information _2_ Skyrms’s Measure of Information _3_ Carrying Information versus Information Flow _3.1_ Example 1 _3.2_ Example 2 _3.3_ Example 3 _4_ Signalling Networks Are Causal Networks _4.1_ Causal specificity _4.2_ Formalizing causal specificity _5_ Information Flow as Causal Control _5.1_ Example 1 _5.2_ Examples 2 and 3 _5.3_ Average control implicitly ‘holds fixed’ other pathways _6_ How Does Evolution Create Information? _7_ Conclusion Appendix >
Keywords Causation
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1093/bjps/axx022
Options
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy


Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 65,599
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

General Solution to All Philosophical Problems With Some Exceptions.Wayde Beasley - forthcoming - north of parallel 40: Numerous uncommitted.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Signals That Make a Difference.Brett Calcott, Paul E. Griffiths & Arnaud Pocheville - 2017 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science:axx022.
The Flow of Information in Signaling Games.Brian Skyrms - 2010 - Philosophical Studies 147 (1):155 - 165.
Variation of Information as a Measure of One-to-One Causal Specificity.Pierrick Bourrat - 2018 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 9 (1):11.
Biological Information as Choice and Construction.Arnaud Pocheville - 2018 - Philosophy of Science 85 (5):1012-1025.
Biological Information, Causality and Specificity - an Intimate Relationship.Karola Stotz & Paul E. Griffiths - 2017 - In Sara Imari Walker, Paul Davies & George Ellis (eds.), From Matter to Life: Information and Causality. Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press. pp. 366-390.
Propositional Content in Signalling Systems.Jonathan Birch - 2014 - Philosophical Studies 171 (3):493-512.

Analytics

Added to PP index
2020-02-22

Total views
24 ( #461,197 of 2,462,240 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
3 ( #223,271 of 2,462,240 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Downloads

My notes