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.
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)
The studies of the Czech phenomenologist Jan Patočka has been flourishing recently. Martin Ritter’s book Into the World: The Movement of Patočka’s Phenomenology offers an important contribution to the debate and a long-awaited critical presentation of Patočka’s asubjective phenomenology as well as creative re-reading of Patočka's central doctrine of the movements of existence.
Abstract The work of Martin Buber oscillates between talk in which transcendence is experienced and talk in which transcendence is merely postulated. In order to show and mend this incoherence in Buber's thought, this essay attends to the rhetoric of verification ( Bewährung ), primarily but not solely in I and Thou (1923), both in order to show how it is a symptom of this incoherence, and also to show a broad pragmatic strain in Buber's thought. Given this pragmatic (...) strain, the essay argues that a weak notion of Buberian verification, in which taking a dialogic stance with reference to others evinces the right to talk of the real possibility of transcendence (a You-world, or God as the “eternal You“), is all that is necessary to combat despair. Strong notions of encounter are unnecessary, and also sink Buber in a morass of theodicy, in which he interprets historical misfortune and destruction as evidence of history's meaning. (shrink)
There is no adequate understanding of contemporary Jewish and Christian theology without reference to Martin Buber. Buber wrote numerous books during his lifetime (1878-1965) and is best known for I and Thouand Good and Evil. Buber has influenced important Protestant theologians like Karl Barth, Emil Brunner, Paul Tillich, and Reinhold Niebuhr. His appeal is vast--not only is he renowned for his translations of the Hebrew Bible but also for his interpretation of Hasidism, his role in Zionism, and his writings (...) in psychotherapy and political philosophy. In addition to a general introduction, each chapter is individually introduced, illuminating the historical and philosophical context of the readings. Footnotes explain difficult concepts, providing the reader with necessary references, plus a selective bibliography and subject index. (shrink)
Martin Buber appartient à plusieurs mondes : celui de la Vienne fin de siècle dans laquelle il naît en 1878, du sionisme culturel, de la République de Weimar et de la renaissance juive, celui de la lutte contre le nazisme, de l'exil dans la Palestine du Mandat où il débarque en 1938, enfin celui de la naissance du jeune État d'Israël. Philosophe, historien des religions, interprète de la mystique juive, il a correspondu avec tous les grands esprits de son (...) temps. À sa mort à Jérusalem en 1965, c'est une conscience de l'humanisme hébreu qui disparaît. Pour la première fois en français, un choix de lettres traduites de plusieurs langues permet de restituer un itinéraire intellectuel à nul autre pareil, quelques époques à jamais disparues, et la réalisation d'une utopie, le retour des juifs en Terre sainte. Professeur à Francfort et à l'Université hébraïque, traducteur de la Bible, penseur du dialogue, militant de l'entente avec les Arabes et exégète inspiré des Hassidim, ses lettres sont une pièce capitale de la pensée allemande et européenne. Y apparaissent les figures de Kafka, de Benjamin, d'Einstein, de Scholem, de Rosenzweig, mais aussi de Gandhi, de Jung, de Barth ou de Georg, de Rang, de Dibelius, de Lou Andreas-Salomé et de tant d'autres, juives ou non, qui trouvèrent en Buber un interlocuteur privilégié. (shrink)
Francesco Guala has developed some novel and radical ideas on the problem of external validity, a topic that has not received much attention in the experimental economics literature. In this paper I argue that his views on external validity are not justified and the conclusions which he draws from these views, if widely adopted, could substantially undermine the experimental economics enterprise. In rejecting the justification of these views, the paper reaffirms the importance of experiments in economics.