Consequences of a functional account of information

Publication Year:
2017
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preprint description
An interpretation of information in terms of the function of its user is presented and defended. Throughout, the causal interpretation is treated as a foil. The advantages of a functional interpretation are threefold: (1) Traditional emphasis on the indicative aspect of information is supplemented with its counterpart instructional aspect, nudging information closer to the contemporary conception of subpersonal content; (2) An influential distinction between causal and semantic information, argued recently to be misconceived, is further denigrated; (3) Mathematical results adverting to utility are recast in terms of function, justifying the application of information theory in cognitive science, evolutionary biology, and elsewhere.