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The Art of Interpretation in the Age of Computation$
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Paul Kockelman

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780190636531

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: July 2017

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190636531.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 03 December 2021

Meaning, Information, and Enclosure

Meaning, Information, and Enclosure

(p.81) 4 Meaning, Information, and Enclosure
The Art of Interpretation in the Age of Computation

Paul Kockelman

Oxford University Press

This chapter argues that information is a species of meaning that has been radically enclosed, such that the values in question seem to have become radically portable. They are not so much independent of context, as dependent on contexts which have been engineered so as to be relatively ubiquitous, and hence ostensibly and erroneously ‘context-free’; not so much able to accommodate all contents, as able to assimilate all contents to their contours, and hence ostensibly and erroneously ‘open content’. To make this argument, the chapter highlights the ideas of Donald MacKay in relation to those of Claude Shannon, and it foregrounds the semiotic framework of Charles Sanders Peirce in relation to cybernetics and computer science. It offers two alternative definitions of information. The first focuses on interaction, while the second focuses on institutions, and both effectively mediate between relatively quantitative theories of information and relatively qualitative theories of meaning.

Keywords:   John MacKay, Claude Shannon, Charles Sanders Peirce, open content, cybernetics, value, computer science, information, enclosure

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