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How much information do we know and can we apply it and what is "information"?

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fakename Posted: Sun, Jun 17 2012 9:58 PM

Perhaps this question would belong on a philosphy forum (I'm conflicted over posting here even as I type) but I suppose that since general philsophical and theological topics sometimes appears on here that I am not overstepping my bounds.


My inquiry is about information: what is it? How much of it is accessible to our minds? and can it be applied to everyday life?

To better determine what exactly is the subject which I am talking about I'll mention that, Clayton once said that we only know a infinitesimally small amount of information, so that infomation can be compared with or indeed even is an infinitely small drop of something in an infinitely large ocean. Is that what infomation is? Is information as Aristotle described, i.e. particular individuals like "this bone" or "this rock" which per se has no definition and therefore could not be known per se? And similarly is information like the kantian phenomena that is drapped over the unknowable noumena, for it seems that under both Aristotle's and Clayton's forumlations, information would seem to be a sort of similie which is the only human expression of that which cannot be grasped (namely the truth consisting in the per se knowlege of particulars) ?


Secondly, can our minds grasp information? Depending on how you describe information this answer is ridiculously easy as in "one knows information, since to deny that one knows information is to know information".

Thirdly, how much information do we really know? Again depending on how you define "information" this question could be easy or difficult. I think that it is difficult, merely because I think that the unique is the essence of information and although uniqueness is defineable and universal, the unique thing is so contextualized and individualized that it is hard to find out just what it is.

Fourthly, how do we apply our grasp of information? I think this question has to do with practical and calculative rationality which implies the use of information. If information is just hyper-contextualized in its nature though, then how do we know that what we are doing will have any causal effect (for our contextualized observations cannot apply outside of its own context and surely the very act of applying something from one context must create a new context that requires to be understood and so on, etc.), and if we supplement our use of information with more universal knowlege, then are we not like people who are employing a microscope to see something on a sub-atomic level?

Anyways I hope I was clear enough and that people can come in with their own answers.

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John James replied on Sun, Jun 17 2012 10:01 PM

Yes you're right, this is basically philosophy stuff.  You might do a search or request some good beginner epistemology books.


...of course if you're interested in this in terms of economic science, we have plenty of those.


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Clayton replied on Sun, Jun 17 2012 11:09 PM

I was specifically speaking within the confines of Kolmogorov-Chaitin complexity. It might help clarify your question if you linked to the post where I mentioned this topic.

Clayton -
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