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Philosophers

Mortimer Adler
Rogers Albritton
Alexander of Aphrodisias
Samuel Alexander
William Alston
Anaximander
G.E.M.Anscombe
Anselm
Louise Antony
Thomas Aquinas
Aristotle
David Armstrong
Harald Atmanspacher
Robert Audi
Augustine
J.L.Austin
A.J.Ayer
Alexander Bain
Mark Balaguer
Jeffrey Barrett
William Belsham
Henri Bergson
George Berkeley
Isaiah Berlin
Richard J. Bernstein
Bernard Berofsky
Robert Bishop
Max Black
Susanne Bobzien
Emil du Bois-Reymond
Hilary Bok
Laurence BonJour
George Boole
Émile Boutroux
F.H.Bradley
C.D.Broad
Michael Burke
C.A.Campbell
Joseph Keim Campbell
Rudolf Carnap
Carneades
Ernst Cassirer
David Chalmers
Roderick Chisholm
Chrysippus
Cicero
Randolph Clarke
Samuel Clarke
Anthony Collins
Antonella Corradini
Diodorus Cronus
Jonathan Dancy
Donald Davidson
Mario De Caro
Democritus
Daniel Dennett
Jacques Derrida
René Descartes
Richard Double
Fred Dretske
John Dupré
John Earman
Laura Waddell Ekstrom
Epictetus
Epicurus
Herbert Feigl
John Martin Fischer
Owen Flanagan
Luciano Floridi
Philippa Foot
Alfred Fouilleé
Harry Frankfurt
Richard L. Franklin
Michael Frede
Gottlob Frege
Peter Geach
Edmund Gettier
Carl Ginet
Alvin Goldman
Gorgias
Nicholas St. John Green
H.Paul Grice
Ian Hacking
Ishtiyaque Haji
Stuart Hampshire
W.F.R.Hardie
Sam Harris
William Hasker
R.M.Hare
Georg W.F. Hegel
Martin Heidegger
R.E.Hobart
Thomas Hobbes
David Hodgson
Shadsworth Hodgson
Baron d'Holbach
Ted Honderich
Pamela Huby
David Hume
Ferenc Huoranszki
William James
Lord Kames
Robert Kane
Immanuel Kant
Tomis Kapitan
Jaegwon Kim
William King
Hilary Kornblith
Christine Korsgaard
Saul Kripke
Andrea Lavazza
Keith Lehrer
Gottfried Leibniz
Leucippus
Michael Levin
George Henry Lewes
C.I.Lewis
David Lewis
Peter Lipton
C. Lloyd Morgan
John Locke
Michael Lockwood
E. Jonathan Lowe
John R. Lucas
Lucretius
Alasdair MacIntyre
Ruth Barcan Marcus
James Martineau
Storrs McCall
Hugh McCann
Colin McGinn
Michael McKenna
Brian McLaughlin
John McTaggart
Paul E. Meehl
Uwe Meixner
Alfred Mele
Trenton Merricks
John Stuart Mill
Dickinson Miller
G.E.Moore
Thomas Nagel
Friedrich Nietzsche
John Norton
P.H.Nowell-Smith
Robert Nozick
William of Ockham
Timothy O'Connor
David F. Pears
Charles Sanders Peirce
Derk Pereboom
Steven Pinker
Plato
Karl Popper
Porphyry
Huw Price
H.A.Prichard
Hilary Putnam
Willard van Orman Quine
Frank Ramsey
Ayn Rand
Michael Rea
Thomas Reid
Charles Renouvier
Nicholas Rescher
C.W.Rietdijk
Richard Rorty
Josiah Royce
Bertrand Russell
Paul Russell
Gilbert Ryle
Jean-Paul Sartre
Kenneth Sayre
T.M.Scanlon
Moritz Schlick
Arthur Schopenhauer
John Searle
Wilfrid Sellars
Alan Sidelle
Ted Sider
Henry Sidgwick
Walter Sinnott-Armstrong
J.J.C.Smart
Saul Smilansky
Michael Smith
Baruch Spinoza
L. Susan Stebbing
Isabelle Stengers
George F. Stout
Galen Strawson
Peter Strawson
Eleonore Stump
Francisco Suárez
Richard Taylor
Kevin Timpe
Mark Twain
Peter Unger
Peter van Inwagen
Manuel Vargas
John Venn
Kadri Vihvelin
Voltaire
G.H. von Wright
David Foster Wallace
R. Jay Wallace
W.G.Ward
Ted Warfield
Roy Weatherford
William Whewell
Alfred North Whitehead
David Widerker
David Wiggins
Bernard Williams
Timothy Williamson
Ludwig Wittgenstein
Susan Wolf

Scientists

Michael Arbib
Bernard Baars
Gregory Bateson
John S. Bell
Charles Bennett
Ludwig von Bertalanffy
Susan Blackmore
Margaret Boden
David Bohm
Niels Bohr
Ludwig Boltzmann
Emile Borel
Max Born
Satyendra Nath Bose
Walther Bothe
Hans Briegel
Leon Brillouin
Stephen Brush
Henry Thomas Buckle
S. H. Burbury
Donald Campbell
Anthony Cashmore
Eric Chaisson
Jean-Pierre Changeux
Arthur Holly Compton
John Conway
John Cramer
E. P. Culverwell
Charles Darwin
Terrence Deacon
Louis de Broglie
Max Delbrück
Abraham de Moivre
Paul Dirac
Hans Driesch
John Eccles
Arthur Stanley Eddington
Paul Ehrenfest
Albert Einstein
Hugh Everett, III
Franz Exner
Richard Feynman
R. A. Fisher
Joseph Fourier
Lila Gatlin
Michael Gazzaniga
GianCarlo Ghirardi
J. Willard Gibbs
Nicolas Gisin
Paul Glimcher
Thomas Gold
A.O.Gomes
Brian Goodwin
Joshua Greene
Jacques Hadamard
Patrick Haggard
Stuart Hameroff
Augustin Hamon
Sam Harris
Hyman Hartman
John-Dylan Haynes
Martin Heisenberg
Werner Heisenberg
John Herschel
Jesper Hoffmeyer
E. T. Jaynes
William Stanley Jevons
Roman Jakobson
Pascual Jordan
Ruth E. Kastner
Stuart Kauffman
Simon Kochen
Stephen Kosslyn
Ladislav Kovàč
Rolf Landauer
Alfred Landé
Pierre-Simon Laplace
David Layzer
Benjamin Libet
Seth Lloyd
Hendrik Lorentz
Josef Loschmidt
Ernst Mach
Donald MacKay
Henry Margenau
James Clerk Maxwell
Ernst Mayr
Ulrich Mohrhoff
Jacques Monod
Emmy Noether
Howard Pattee
Wolfgang Pauli
Massimo Pauri
Roger Penrose
Steven Pinker
Colin Pittendrigh
Max Planck
Susan Pockett
Henri Poincaré
Daniel Pollen
Ilya Prigogine
Hans Primas
Adolphe Quételet
Juan Roederer
Jerome Rothstein
David Ruelle
Erwin Schrödinger
Aaron Schurger
Claude Shannon
David Shiang
Herbert Simon
Dean Keith Simonton
B. F. Skinner
Roger Sperry
Henry Stapp
Tom Stonier
Antoine Suarez
Leo Szilard
William Thomson (Kelvin)
Peter Tse
Heinz von Foerster
John von Neumann
John B. Watson
Daniel Wegner
Steven Weinberg
Paul A. Weiss
John Wheeler
Wilhelm Wien
Norbert Wiener
Eugene Wigner
E. O. Wilson
H. Dieter Zeh
Ernst Zermelo
Wojciech Zurek

Presentations

Biosemiotics
Free Will
Mental Causation
James Symposium
 
Philosophy
Information philosophy is an attempt to examine some classic problems in philosophy from the standpoint of information.

What is information that merits its use as the foundation of a new philosophical method of inquiry?

Abstract information is neither matter nor energy, yet it needs matter for its concrete embodiment and energy for its communication. Information is immaterial.
It is the modern spirit, the ghost in the machine.

Immaterial information is perhaps as close as a physical or biological scientist can get to the idea of a soul or spirit that departs the body at death. When a living being dies, it is the maintenance of biological information that ceases. The matter remains and the information vanishes, unless it has been stored somewhere outside the body.

Biological systems are different from purely physical systems primarily because they create, store, and communicate information. Biological systems are purposeful. They have what the ancients called a "telos." They are called "teleonomic," distinguished from "teleological," the Platonic notion of a pre-existing soul that carried their teleological "essense" before their "existence."

This purpose of living systems is to use their information to build themselves, to maintain themselves, and then to reproduce or replicate themselves. Living things store information (about their experiences, for example) in a memory of the past that they use to shape their future. Fundamental physical objects like atoms have no memory of such history.

And when human beings export some of their personal information to make it a part of human culture, that information moves closer to becoming immortal.

Human beings differ from other animals in their extraordinary ability to communicate information and store it in external artifacts. In the last decade the amount of external information per person may have grown to exceed an individual's purely biological information.

Information is an excellent basis for philosophy, and for science as well, capable of answering questions about metaphysics (the ontology of things themselves), epistemology (the existential status of ideas and how we know them), idealism (pure information), the mind-body problem, the problem of free will, and the "hard" problem of consciousness.

What Can We Hope from Information Philosophy?
A philosophy that is based on quantifiable information promises to solve a number of interesting philosophical problems, and throw considerable light on other philosophical schools.
Cogito, Ergo Sum
When we started seriously working on philosophy in the 1970's, (the decade after we first saw the outlines of solutions to the problem of value and the problem of free will), we called our solutions Cogito and Ergo.
Information philosophy is a philosophy of action. Our actions are decided upon by the adequately determined will of an agent who selects from alternative possibilities available as abstract information in the agent's immaterial mind. Choosing among undetermined alternative possibilities is the basis of freedom. Information philosophy can solve the problem of free will. We called our solution the Cogito.
Actionable information has pragmatic value. Information philosophy can make a case that information ("negative entropy") is a qualitative, quantitative, and objective good. We called our idea of an objective, human-independent good the Ergo.

Until the 1980's, we called our philosophy "Ergodic Philosophy." Now it is "Information Philosophy."
In information philosophy, knowledge is the sum of all the information created and preserved by humanity. It is all the information in human minds and in artifacts of every kind - from books and internetworked computers to our dwellings and managed environment. We call our solution to the problem of knowledge the Sum

Although information philosophy looks at the universe, life, and intelligence through the single lens of information, it is far from mechanical and reducible to deterministic physics. The growth of information over time is the essential reason why time matters and individuals are distinguishable. Increasing information explains all emergent phenomena, including many presumed "laws of nature." "Determinism" is itself an emergent idea, an unjustifiable extrapolation from the apparent, but only "adequate," determinism scientists saw in the Newtonian laws of motion.

Information philosophy shows us the future is unpredictable for two basic reasons. First, quantum mechanics shows that some events are not predictable. The world is causal but not determined. We call it "soft causality" because the causes are not themselves caused. Second, the early universe does not contain the information of later times, just as early primates do not contain the information structures for intelligence and verbal communication, and infants do not contain the knowledge and remembered experience they will have as adults.

In information philosophy, there is an arrow of time that is antithetical to some classical philosophical ideas like the "great chain of being" and timeless truths.

Information philosophy and other modern philosophies
Idealism. For Plato the Forms or Ideas pre-exist any particular examples. Information philosophy explains Aristotle's alternative view, that the general Idea is abstracted from common properties shared by a set of particulars. All such particulars come into existence as the universe evolves from a chaotic origin. Information philosophy shows how the information about an idea is embodied in minds and external artifacts. The Absolute Idea of Hegel is in human thoughts (Gedanken) about particular ideas first, but then postulated in an abstract Mind as a universal, where concepts (Begriffe) correspond to the things themselves by reason of their shared information content.
Positivism. Information philosophy, like positivism, only admits knowledge that can be established scientifically, that is to say via hypotheses that can be tested empirically. But unlike positivism, information philosophy offers an epistemology and metaphysics of the "things themselves," real entities in the external world for which we can access a subset of their intrinsic information. Our information is a "representation" of the external object, adequate for communications about the object between scientists and philosophers. An accurate information representation is one whose knowledge content is isomorphic to the essential information in the object itself.
Logical positivism is the vague idea that knowledge can be based on the logical combination of verifiable sentences (atomic facts). It collapsed under the unavoidable ambiguity of language. Language philosophy needs to be reexamined as an information philosophy. We communicate most of our everyday intellectual information with words. Information content can disambiguate words. Although the hope for an ideal language seems unrealizable, information philosophy promises a better mapping of the world of ideas onto the world of things.
Pragmatism. The core idea of pragmatism is that knowledge is valuable if it can be acted on with successful consequences. Our beliefs (hypotheses) are constantly tested by the results of acting on them. Pragmatism is thus a natural scientific method used by individuals in their daily experiences. When a community of inquirers shares their information openly, the sum of their knowledge approaches the ideal of pragmatic truth. Like pragamatism, information philosophy finds value in information that is actionable.
Phenomenology. Phenomenological intentionality is informational. Individual minds reflect on things and through intuition discover a meaning to their being. Epistemological and ontological questions are raised and pondered. Information philosophy shows us we can know the things themselves or answer questions of what it means to be a thing, because we are creating that meaning. Our creations are informational structures, which are adequate and actionable, testable and empirical, to the extent that they contain an accurate subset of the much greater information content of the "thing in itself."
Existentialism says that before anything has an objective essence, it exists in the world. Information philosophy confirms this basic insight of the Existentialists. Things genuinely emerge in the universe. Humans define their own essences and bear full responsibility for creating values and purposes for their lives. Information philosophy confirms that humans are unpredictable and creative, and that they are free, but that, unlike the Existentialists, that human freedom is not absurd. There is objectifiable value in the universe.

For Teachers
For Scholars
Chapter 1.3 - Information Chapter 1.5 - The Philosophers
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