Stephen Downes

Knowledge, Learning, Community

I cut my teeth on Choice and Chance by Bryan Skyrms, so I was naturally interested in this article on information and meaning. It's nice and clear and will give the reader a good sense of some of the issues involved in determining the informational content of a signal (and especially the informational content of a signal when the signaler is lying or deceiving). Personally, I don't think signals have informational content (that puts me very much in the minority). Or, if I had to say it a different way, I'd say the information is the signal. How can you say an animal crying a false warning in 'intending' to deceive? The signal is just what it does; the effect is to scatter the rest of the animals, allowing the animal access to the food. We don't need a parallel information-theoretic account to describe or explain what happened.

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Stephen Downes Stephen Downes, Casselman, Canada
stephen@downes.ca

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Last Updated: Mar 30, 2021 9:48 p.m.