Thinking about Semantic Information

Avant, Vol. XI, No. 2, doi: 10.26913/avant.2020.02.08
published under license CC BY-NC-ND 3.0

Marcin Miłkowski orcid-id
Institute of Philosophy and Sociology
Polish Academy of Sciences
mmilkows @

Received 25 February 2019; accepted 4 April 2019; published Online First 23 February 2020

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Abstract: In his recent book, Daniel Dennett defends a novel account of semantic information in terms of design worth getting (Dennett, 2017). While this is an interesting proposal in itself, my purpose in this commentary is to challenge several of Dennett’s claims. First, he argues that semantic information can be transferred without encoding and storing it. Second, this lack of encoding is what makes semantic information unmeasurable. However, the argument for both these claims, presented by Dennett as an intuition pump, is invalid.

Keywords: semantic information; information theory; encoding; satisfaction conditions; information measures


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