Response to commentaries on “The Transmission Sense of Information” Content Type Journal Article Pages 195-200 DOI 10.1007/s10539-011-9257-3 Authors Carl T. Bergstrom, Department of Biology, University of Washington, Seattle, WA 98195-1800, USA MartinRosvall, Integrated Science Lab, Department of Physics, Umeå University, 901 87 Umeå, Sweden Journal Biology and Philosophy Online ISSN 1572-8404 Print ISSN 0169-3867 Journal Volume Volume 26 Journal Issue Volume 26, Number 2.
Biologists rely heavily on the language of information, coding, and transmission that is commonplace in the field of information theory developed by Claude Shannon, but there is open debate about whether such language is anything more than facile metaphor. Philosophers of biology have argued that when biologists talk about information in genes and in evolution, they are not talking about the sort of information that Shannon’s theory addresses. First, philosophers have suggested that Shannon’s theory is only useful for developing a (...) shallow notion of correlation, the so-called causal sense of information. Second, they typically argue that in genetics and evolutionary biology, information language is used in a semantic sense, whereas semantics are deliberately omitted from Shannon’s theory. Neither critique is well-founded. Here we propose an alternative to the causal and semantic senses of information: a transmission sense of information, in which an object X conveys information if the function of X is to reduce, by virtue of its sequence properties, uncertainty on the part of an agent who observes X. The transmission sense not only captures much of what biologists intend when they talk about information in genes, but also brings Shannon’s theory back to the fore. By taking the viewpoint of a communications engineer and focusing on the decision problem of how information is to be packaged for transport, this approach resolves several problems that have plagued the information concept in biology, and highlights a number of important features of the way that information is encoded, stored, and transmitted as genetic sequence. (shrink)
Listening to someone from some distance in a crowded room you may experience the following phenomenon: when looking at them speak, you may both hear and see where the source of the sounds is; but when your eyes are turned elsewhere, you may no longer be able to detect exactly where the voice must be coming from. With your eyes again fixed on the speaker, and the movement of her lips a clear sense of the source of the sound will (...) return. This ‘ventriloquist’ effect reflects the ways in which visual cognition can dominate auditory perception. And this phenomenological observation is one what you can verify or disconfirm in your own case just by the slightest reflection on what it is like for you to listen to someone with or without visual contact with them. (shrink)
Commentary on “The transmission sense of information” by Carl T. Bergstrom and MartinRosvall Content Type Journal Article Pages 191-194 DOI 10.1007/s10539-010-9233-3 Authors James Maclaurin, University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand Journal Biology and Philosophy Online ISSN 1572-8404 Print ISSN 0169-3867 Journal Volume Volume 26 Journal Issue Volume 26, Number 2.
A long-standing theme in discussion of perception and thought has been that our primary cognitive contact with individual objects and events in the world derives from our perceptual contact with them. When I look at a duck in front of me, I am not merely presented with the fact that there is at least one duck in the area, rather I seem to be presented with this thing in front of me, which looks to me to be a duck. Furthermore, (...) such a perception would seem to put me in a position not merely to make the existential judgment that there is some duck or other present, but rather to make a singular, demonstrative judgment, that that is a duck. My grounds for an existential judgment in this case derives from my apprehension of the demonstrative thought and not vice versa. (shrink)
Does anyone ever survive his or her bodily death ? Could anyone? No speculative questions are older than these, or have been answered more frequently or more variously. None have been laid to rest more often, or — in our times — with more claimed decisiveness. Jay Rosenberg, for instance, no doubt speaks for many contemporary philosophers when he claims, in his recent book, to have ‘ demonstrated ’ that ‘ we cannot [even] make coherent sense of the supposed possibility (...) that a person's history might continue beyond that person's [bodily] death’. (shrink)
‘Marital faithfulness’ refers to faithful love for a spouse or lover to whom one is committed, rather than the narrower idea of sexual fidelity. The distinction is clearly marked in traditional wedding vows. A commitment to love faithfully is central: ‘to have and to hold from this day forward, for better for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, till death us do part… and thereto I plight [pledge] thee my troth [faithfulness]’. (...) Sexual fidelity is promised in a subordinate clause, symbolizing its supportive role in promoting love's constancy: ‘and, forsaking all other, keep thee only unto her/him.’. (shrink)
The aim of this paper is to set out some of the ontologies amongst which some forms of anti-realism must select. This provides the appropriate setting for presenting an alternative realist ontology. The argument is that the choice between the varieties of anti-realism and realism is inevitably a choice between ontologies.
The standard foil for recent theories of hope is the belief-desire analysis advocated by Hobbes, Day, Downie, and others. According to this analysis, to hope for S is no more and no less than to desire S while believing S is possible but not certain. Opponents of the belief-desire analysis argue that it fails to capture one or another distinctive feature or function of hope: that hope helps one resist the temptation to despair;2 that hope engages the sophisticated capacities of (...) human agency, such as planning;3 or that hope involves the imagination in ways desire need not.4 Here, I focus on the role of imagination in hope, and discuss its implications for hope’s relation to practical commitment or end-setting. (shrink)
In Chapters 6 and 7 of Language, Truth and Poetry I attempted to solve the ancient problem of fictional reference by claiming that a fictional construct ‘points’ or refers to certain features of reality in rather the same way as an abstraction like ‘gravitation’ or ‘cruelty’ does. I now believe that this theory of mine is unsatisfactory; and I should like to propose a new solution to the problem.
In ‘ The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy ’ Laurence Sterne writes: That of all the several ways of beginning a book which are now in practice throughout the known world, I am confident my own way of doing it is the best—I'm sure it is the most religious—for I begin with writing the first sentence—and trusting to Almighty God for the second.
French theorist Luce Irigaray has become one of the twentieth century's most influential feminist thinkers. Among her many writings are three books (with a projected fourth) in which she challenges the Western tradition's construals of human beings' relations to the four elements--earth, air, fire, and water--and to nature. In answer to Heidegger's undoing of Western metaphysics as a "forgetting of Being," Irigaray seeks in this work to begin to think out the Being of sexedness and the sexedness of Being. This (...) volume is the first English translation of L'oubli de l'air chez Martin Heidegger (1983). In this complex, lyrical, meditative engagement with the later work of the eminent German philosopher, Irigaray critiques Heidegger's emphasis on the element of earth as the ground of life and speech and his "oblivion" or forgetting of air. With the other volumes (Elemental Passions and Marine Lover of Friedrich Nietzsche) in Irigaray's "elemental" series, The Forgetting of Air offers a fundamental rereading of basic tenets in Western metaphysics. And with its emphasis on dwelling and human habitation, it will be important reading not only in the humanities but also in architecture and the environmental sciences. (shrink)
Martin Heidegger's overt alliance with the Nazis and the specific relation between this alliance and his philosophical thought - the degree to which his concepts are linked to a thoroughly disreputable set of political beliefs - have been the topic of a storm of recent debate. Written ten years before this debate, this study by France's leading sociologist and cultural theorist is both a precursor of that debate and an analysis of the institutional mechanisms involved in the production of (...) philosophical discourse. Though Heidegger is aware of and acknowledges the legitimacy of purely philosophical issues (in his references to canonic authors, traditional problems, and respect for academic taboos), Bourdieu points out that the complexity and abstraction of Heidegger's philosophical discourse stems from its situation in the cultural field, where two social and intellentual dimensions - political thought and academic thought - intersect. Bourdieu concludes by suggesting that Heidegger should not be considered as a Nazi ideologist, that there is no place in Heidegger's philosophical ideas for a racist conception of the human being. Rather, he sees Heidegger's thought as a structural equivalent in the field of philosophy of the 'conservative revolution', of which nazism is but one manifestation. (shrink)
This article juxtaposes two of the most influential thinkers of the previous century, Georges Bataille and Martin Heidegger: my overarching claim will be that a contrastive approach allows a better understanding of two central dynamics within their work. First, I show that both were deeply troubled by a certain methodological anxiety; namely, that the practice of writing might distort and deform their insights. By employing a comparative strategy, I suggest that we can gain a better understanding of the very (...) specific form this fear takes in them: in each case, it is articulated and justified in terms of the ‘chose’ or ‘Ding’ (‘thing’) or the ‘objet’ or ‘Objekt’ (‘object’). Second, I argue that close textual comparison allows us to identify an important, new dimension in their reactions to this shared anxiety: the thing or object which was originally the site of the anxiety gradually becomes, through series of ontological and textual shifts, the solution to it. I track this transformation across a range of case studies including Heidegger’s later work on the term ‘Ding’ and Bataille’s treatment of prostitution. I close by indicating how these results might create avenues for further research. (shrink)
No one is quite sure what happened to T.S. Eliot in that rose-garden. What we do know is that it formed the basis for Four Quartets, arguably the greatest English poem written in the twentieth century. Luckily it turns out that Martin Heidegger, when not pondering the meaning of being, spent a great deal of time thinking and writing about the kind of event that Eliot experienced. This essay explores how Heidegger developed the concept of Ereignis, “event” which, in (...) the context of Eliot’s poetry, helps us understand an encounter with the “heart of light” a little better. (shrink)
The Jewish philosopher and educator Martin Buber (1878–1965) is considered one of the twentieth century’s greatest contributors to the philosophy of religion and is also recognized as the pre-eminent scholar of Hasidism. He has also attracted considerable attention as a philosopher of education. However, most commentaries on this aspect of his work have focussed on the implications of his philosophy for formal education and for the education of the child. Given that much of Buber’s philosophy is based on dialogue, (...) on community and on mutuality, it is puzzling that relatively little has been written on the implications of Buber’s thought for the theory and practice of non-formal adult education. The article provides a discussion of the philosophy underpinning this aspect of Martin Buber’s life and work, and its implications for adult non-formal education. (shrink)
T.S. Eliot’s Four Quartets is foremost a meditation on the significance of place. Each quartet is named for a place which holds importance for Eliot, either because of historical or personal memory. I argue that this importance is grounded in an ontological topology, by which I mean that the poem explores the fate of the individual and his/her heritage as inextricably bound up with the notion of place. This sense of place extends beyond the borders of a single life to (...) encompass the remembered past and the unknown future. How this broader narrative of the passing and enduring of human existence can be better understood is a primary concern of the work of Martin Heidegger, in whose Being and Time the historical, situated context of an individual within a community is an important theme. Even more important is his later work in which this theme is extended to include place and dwelling. Dwelling is a particularly rich and poetic idea, weaving the narratological, topological and temporal aspects of human existence together, offering a challenge to modern technology thinking. This paper explores Heidegger’s thoughts on the topology of Being within the context of a poem which, I contend, is also telling the story of human situatedness, and attempting to understand what it means to truly dwell. (shrink)
Martin Heidegger's commitment to the idea that _Dasein_ is ultimately gender neutral, as well as several other major aspects of his thought, raises significant questions for feminist philosophers. The fourteen essays included in this volume clearly illustrate the ways in which feminist readings can deepen our understanding of his philosophy. They illuminate both the richness and the limitations of the resources his work can provide for feminist thought. This volume engages the full scope of Heidegger's writings from_ Being and (...) Time _through his latest work, from his readings of the ancient Greek poets to his critique of modern technology. At the same time, it reflects a wide range of contemporary feminist concerns: the significance of gender difference; the role of the body in philosophical thought; the relationship between philosophy and the natural world, and between philosophy and the domestic realm; and the aspiration to move forward into a new, more just, political world. Included in this volume are important new essays by Ellen Armour, Carol Bigwood, Jack Caputo, Tina Chanter, Trish Glazebrook, Jennifer Gosetti, Luce Irigaray, Dorothy Leland, Mechthild Nagel, Gail Stenstad, and the editors—as well as a valuable historical and theoretical Introduction by Patricia Huntington, the first of Jacques Derrida's "Geschlecht" articles, and an important 1997 essay by Iris Marion Young. (shrink)
With characteristic lucidity and style, Steiner makes Heidegger's immensely difficult body of work accessible to the general reader. In a new introduction, Steiner addresses language and philosophy and the rise of Nazism. "It would be hard to imagine a better introduction to the work of philosopher Martin Heidegger."--George Kateb, The New Republic.
This paper aims to investigate the significance of mood for a philosophical approach to emotion. Are moods problematic because they constrain us in an affective cage? Or do they rather give us access to the world? The starting point for this investigation is the work of Martin Heidegger: I analyze what he defines as vorweltlich arguing that this term refers to the emotional dimension of human existence, in particular, to mood, or, in Heideggerian terms, Stimmung. Human existence is not (...) just a neutral being-there but a being-affected, a being-in-a-mood. I then move on to consider the role of mood in relation to the concept of transcendence, providing an analysis of two main source of inspiration in Heidegger’s thought: Augustine and Aristotle. This allows us to distinguish three aspects of Stimmung : Stimmung as openness to the world, Stimmung as teleological movement, and Stimmung as event of ontological difference. In the final section, I discuss the contribution of these aspects of Heidegger’s thought to the contemporary debate on emotions. (shrink)
El presente trabajo es un estudio del libro de Martin Kusch acerca den las tesis sostenidas en "Wittgenstein on Rules and Private Language" (WRPL) por Saul Kripke examinado a la luz de la controversia desatada por la publicación del mismo en 1982, una de las más intensas que han ocurrido en los últimos 25 años en el seno de la filosofía analítica. En nuestro estudio procedemos en tres etapas. En la primera, presentaremos el desafío del Wittgenstein de Kripke de (...) una manera lo más neutral que podemos. En la segunda, presentaremos las características más notables trabajo de Kusch. En la tercera parte rebasamos los límites más estrictos de un comentario crítico para proponer una hipótesis propia acerca de la manera en la que la interpretación de Kusch permite comprender el vínculo de la propuesta de Kripke con la discusión clásica acerca del lenguaje privado como así también la discusión clásica permite realizar algunas observaciones críticas acerca de la propuesta de Kusch. (shrink)
We introduce the anti-rectangle refining property for forcing notions and investigate fragments of Martin’s axiom for ℵ1 dense sets related to the anti-rectangle refining property, which is close to some fragment of Martin’s axiom for ℵ1 dense sets related to the rectangle refining property, and prove that they are really weaker fragments.
Martin Buber (1878-1965) is one of the most significant existentialist philosophers of the twentieth century and a leading scholar of the Hasidic tradition in Judaism; even more important for this article is that Buber is considered by many to be the philosopher of dialogue par excellence. This article expounds Buber’s conception of dialogue and its implications for our conception of the Other.
If national education is, as Ilan Gur-Ze’ev thinks, inevitably a matter of agents for and victims of a national system, only a “counter-education” can correct it. Martin Buber shared many of Gur-Ze’ev’s concerns, but advocated a more positive view of national education. This essay examines Buber’s development of his pedagogical theory in its context, notes his influence on several educational models, investigates how his view of national education either continues or is ignored in the modern State of Israel, and (...) shows that his positive view draws not only on his “I-Thou” dialogical insight but also on his advocacy of a myth of Zion, a myth that provides an alternative not just to the dominant myths in Israel today but also to Gur-Ze’ev’s counter-education. (shrink)