Objectivity


José María Díaz Nafría (Science of Information Institute, Washington, U.S.A; Universidad de León, Spain) and Mario Pérez-Montoro (Department of Information Science, University of Barcelona, Spain)

Based upon the natural limits of observation, we tackle a critical review of Dretske’s approach to information, knowledge and perception. The physics of the manifestation of an arbitrary object –tackled in Part 2 as a separate article– sets forth an informational boundary stating that information cannot be enough to support our cognitive processes. The problems do not rely –as Dretske supposes- on the lacks of the channel, but on the very nature of observation. Furthermore, Dretske’s approach –handcuffed to his maximalist support on information- presents some lacks concerning processual character of information, fuzziness of perception and knowledge, contents de dicto and conventional regularities. The posed limits and problems intend to settle new foundations for a more refined conjunction of information and knowledge.

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José María Díaz Nafría (Science of Information Institute, Washington, U.S.A; Universidad de León, Spain) and Mario Pérez-Montoro (Department of Information Science, University of Barcelona, Spain)

In this second part of our inquiry into the relation between information and cognition, we delve into the physical limits of the manifestation of an arbitrary object first with independence of any observer, then considering the nature of perception. The analysis of the manifestations of an object in a homogeneous environment by means of wave phenomena shows that the information carried by such manifestations offers a constitutive fuzziness and ambiguity of the observed object. On the one hand, the details that can be specified concerning the object are strictly limited by the wave length; on the other hand, the volumetric details of the object (i.e. its bowls) are outlawed to the observer, not in virtue of the object opacity, but to the very dimension or complexity of the wave phenomenon in the space surrounding the object. The analysis of perception, considering this physical boundary and the specificity of the animal sensitivity, shows the combined role of other concurrent or previous percept and some a priori knowledge in the perception and awareness of reality.

Juan Miguel Aguado (School of Information and Communication Studies, Universidad de Murcia, Spain)

By attempting to fix an observable magnitude, the concept of information involves a cognitive model that enables a double ontological rupture: between subject and world, on one side, and between cognition and action, on the other side. A genealogical approach to information as a simultaneously epistemological and cognitive crossroad highlights the centrality of observation theory in the resolution of its contradictions. The recursive nature of observation inherent to informational logics makes constructivist assumptions especially relevant as a key contribution for an epistemological revision of the ideas of information and communication.

  • Full article published in Triple C, 7(2), special issue What is really information?
  • Spanish article published in ¿Qué es información?, 2008

Manuel Campos (Departament de Lògica, Universitat de Barcelona, Spain)

The term “information” has an obvious ordinary use: from information we obtain in our interaction with the world, we are capable of acquiring knowledge about it. Assuming a realist point of view, information thus interpreted (measurable in propositional terms) is acquired by the subject through inductive fallible processes based, in part, on the recognition of natural correlations. This approach to the notion of information has, however, as a counterpart, that it seems to render the notion redundant.

  • Full article published in Triple C, 7(2), special issue What is really information?
  • Spanish article published in ¿Qué es información?, 2008

Alberto GALINDO (President of the Royal Academy of Sciences)

The irruption of quanta in physics has radically disturbed our view of reality. The relativity demolished the widespread belief in the space and time absoluteness; but one may safely assert that the quantum principles of complementarity and indeterminacy have been more deeply perturbing, as they have obliged us to renounce knowing one half of reality in order to know the complementary half. Moreover, the embodiment of randomness in the quantum formalism, not because of incomplete knowledge, but as an essential imposition of nature, is another feature of the new scientific discourse, implying thereby the abandonment of the Laplacean determinism. Finally, there is an even more intriguing feature of quantum physics: the entanglement. Related to the linear structure of the quantum formalism, the entanglement is responsible, in particular, for the possibility that we might know the state of a compound system while ignoring the states of each of its parties.
Information, seen as memory, processing and communication, is undoubtedly physical. It abides by the physical laws, which give to it their strength and their weakness. The classical information relies on the bits, physical entities which are both robust (under external perturbations) and clonable, and it has a dominant presence in our modern society, which is unimaginable without the support of computers or without the world wide web. But information and quanta met each other about twenty years ago, and from their encounter a promising quantum information has sprung up. Now the dramatis personae are the qubits, fragile and non-clonable. Quantum cryptography and quantum computation outstand as the main research areas in this field.

Article

Manuel LIZ (Universidad Laguna)

The paper analyses the thesis that all reality may be, in the last term, no more than information and also the thesis that our mind may be, in the last term, no more that information. Both theses are rejected. And it is argued for the need to take into account non-informational aspects of reality which are epistemically accessible. Only that way, the problem of selecting a determinate semantic content and the problem of error could be faced. The two more common strategies to deal with these problems go through the appeal to some primitive “referential capacities” or to the appeal to some special kinds of “functions”. We propose another strategy, much more simple and explanatory, based on the notion of signalization. In relation to that notion, we offer a quite suggesting definition of semantic content, and we obtain some relevant consequences.

Article

Manuel CAMPOS (Universidad Barcelona)

The term “information” has an obvious ordinary use: from information we obtain in our interaction with the world, we are capable of acquiring knowledge about it. Assuming a realist point of view, information thus interpreted (which is measurable in propositional terms) is acquired by the subject through inductive fallible processes based, in part, on the recognition of natural correlations. This approach to the notion of information has, however, as a counterpart, that it seems to make the notion redundant.

Article

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