Information in Reality: Logic and Metaphysics
AbstractThe recent history of information theory and science shows a trend in emphasis from quantitative measures to qualitative characterizations. In parallel, aspects of information are being developed, for example by Pedro Marijuan, Wolfgang Hofkirchner and others that are extending the notion of qualitative, non-computational information in the biological and cognitive domain to include meaning and function. However, there is as yet no consensus on whether a single acceptable definition or theory of the concept of information is possible, leading to many attempts to view it as a complex, a notion with varied meanings or a group of different entities. In my opinion, the difficulties in developing a Unified Theory of Information (UTI) that would include its qualitative and quantita-tive aspects and their relation to meaning are a consequence of implicit or explicit reliance on the principles of standard, truth-functional bivalent or multivalent logics. In reality, information processes, like those of time, change and human con-sciousness, are contradictory: they are regular and irregular; consistent and inconsistent; continuous and discontinuous. Since the indicated logics cannot accept real contradictions, they have been incapable of describing the multiple but interre-lated characteristics of information. The framework for the discussion of information in this paper will be the new extension of logic to real complex processes that I have made, Logic in Reality (LIR), which is grounded in the dualities and self-dualities of quantum physics and cos-mology. LIR provides, among other things, new interpretations of the most fundamental metaphysical questions present in discussions of information at physical, biological and cognitive levels of reality including, especially, those of time, continuity vs. discontinuity, and change, both physical and epistemological. I show that LIR can constitute a novel and general ap-proach to the non-binary properties of information, including meaning and value. These properties subsume the notion of semantic information as well-formed, meaningful and truthful data as proposed most recently by Luciano Floridi. LIR sup-ports the concept of ‘biotic’ information of Stuart Kauffmann, Robert Logan and their colleagues and that of meaningful information developed by Christophe Menant. Logic in Reality does not pretend to the level of rigor of an experimental or mathematical theory. It is proposed as a meth-odology to assist in achieving a minimum scientific legitimacy for a qualitative theory of information. My hope is that by seeing information, meaning and knowledge as dynamic processes, evolving according to logical rules in my extended sense of logic, some of the on-going issues on the nature and function of information may be clarified.
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