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On Representation in Information Theory
AbstractSemiotics is widely applied in theories of information. Following the original triadic characterization of reality by Peirce, the linguistic processes involved in information—production, transmission, reception, and understanding—would all appear to be interpretable in terms of signs and their relations to their objects. Perhaps the most important of these relations is that of the representation-one, entity, standing for or representing some other. For example, an index—one of the three major kinds of signs—is said to represent something by being directly related to its object. My position, however, is that the concept of symbolic representations having such roles in information, as intermediaries, is fraught with the same difficulties as in representational theories of mind. I have proposed an extension of logic to complex real phenomena, including mind and information (Logic in Reality; LIR), most recently at the 4th International Conference on the Foundations of Information Science (Beijing, August, 2010). LIR provides explanations for the evolution of complex processes, including information, that do not require any entities other than the processes themselves. In this paper, I discuss the limitations of the standard relation of representation. I argue that more realistic pictures of informational systems can be provided by reference to information as an energetic process, following the categorial ontology of LIR. This approach enables naïve, anti-realist conceptions of anti-representationalism to be avoided, and enables an approach to both information and meaning in the same novel logical framework.
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Brenner, J.E. On Representation in Information Theory. Information 2011, 2, 560-578.View more citation formats
Brenner JE. On Representation in Information Theory. Information. 2011; 2(3):560-578.Chicago/Turabian Style
Brenner, Joseph E. 2011. "On Representation in Information Theory." Information 2, no. 3: 560-578.
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