[lit-ideas] Re: What is information?

  • From: "Peter D. Junger" <junger@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Tue, 19 Sep 2006 19:53:03 -0400

"Phil Enns" writes:

: Robert Paul wrote:
: "Apparently [Phil] does want say something like this: that it has to be
: potentially useful (unlike 'Either it's raining or it isn't.')."
: We distinguish between giving facts regarding something and giving
: information.  Perhaps one way of making this distinction is to consider
: use.  If I go to have my driver's license renewed, I can give them all
: sorts of facts about myself, but really they only want particular facts,
: information relevant to being issued and holding a driver's license.
: That I broke my arm in Gr. 2 is a fact, that my eyesight is worsening is
: information.  What the Ministry of Transportation will process is this
: information, and hopefully I will get my driver's license soon
: thereafter.  There would be no point to note the fact regarding my
: broken arm, but the fact regarding my eyesight is informative.
: I wouldn't want to push this distinction much further, but I think it
: points out the purposiveness involved in how the word 'information' is
: usually used.

But that is not the way that the word is usually used by 
physicists, engineers, computer scientists, and, I suspect
because of the invention of computers, most who are concerned
with Boolean logic.  (It was Claude Shannon once again who
first suggested---in a master's thesis---that computer programs
could be based on Boolean logic.)

Peter D. Junger--Case Western Reserve University Law School--Cleveland, OH
 EMAIL: junger@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx    URL:  http://samsara.law.cwru.edu   
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