[Fis] information(s)

2008-12-06 Thread Michel PETITJEAN
Hello FISers.

Recently, one of my colleagues attract my attention on the following point.
In French, we often use information as a countable quantity,
so that we can write informations.
In English, it seems that it is unusual, if not incorrect, to do that.
(1) Please can some English native FISers give their opinion about that ?
(2) Please can some FISers from non English-speaking countries tell us
how is the situation in their own language ?

Thank you very much.

Michel.

Michel Petitjean,
DSV/iBiTec-S/SB2SM (CNRS URA 2096), CEA Saclay, bat. 528,
91191 Gif-sur-Yvette Cedex, France.
Phone: +331 6908 4006 / Fax: +331 6908 4007
E-mail: [EMAIL PROTECTED]
http://petitjeanmichel.free.fr/itoweb.petitjean.html

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Re: [Fis] information(s)

2008-12-06 Thread Stanley Salthe
Michel -- Of course, a countable quantity certainly inheres in one 
aspect of information -- the Shannon version.  But in English we 
would not say 'many informations'.  Rather 'much information' could 
be used.  'Many' does have a countable sense of individual pieces, 
while 'much' is a holistic locution.  'More' is also holistic, 
insofar as it does not specify particular amounts.  It is directive 
toward increase, just as 'less' is directional toward decrease.  But 
surely there are equivalent words in French for 'much', 'more', 
'less', etc.  Also, it would be possible in English to say 'many 
pieces / bits of information'.  But here we have added the sense of 
individual bits that may be countable.

Other aspects of information, such as 'pattern', 'constraint' 
'difference' might have numerical interpretations -- 'great 
difference', 'large constraint', 'complicated pattern', but I don't 
think they are intrinsically quantitative in themselves.

STAN


Hello FISers.

Recently, one of my colleagues attract my attention on the following point.
In French, we often use information as a countable quantity,
so that we can write informations.
In English, it seems that it is unusual, if not incorrect, to do that.
(1) Please can some English native FISers give their opinion about that ?
(2) Please can some FISers from non English-speaking countries tell us
how is the situation in their own language ?

Thank you very much.

Michel.

Michel Petitjean,
DSV/iBiTec-S/SB2SM (CNRS URA 2096), CEA Saclay, bat. 528,
91191 Gif-sur-Yvette Cedex, France.
Phone: +331 6908 4006 / Fax: +331 6908 4007
E-mail: [EMAIL PROTECTED]
http://petitjeanmichel.free.fr/itoweb.petitjean.html

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Re: [Fis] information(s)

2008-12-06 Thread Guy A Hoelzer
Hi Michel,

You are correct about the use and concept of information in English.
General use of the term information refers to a fuzzy concept that is
continuously distributed from none to much, so the plural form
informations feels incorrect.  Of course, in scientific discourses the
term has been operationally sharpened and discretized into bits.

Cheers,

Guy


on 12/6/08 6:35 AM, Michel PETITJEAN at [EMAIL PROTECTED] wrote:

 Hello FISers.
 
 Recently, one of my colleagues attract my attention on the following point.
 In French, we often use information as a countable quantity,
 so that we can write informations.
 In English, it seems that it is unusual, if not incorrect, to do that.
 (1) Please can some English native FISers give their opinion about that ?
 (2) Please can some FISers from non English-speaking countries tell us
 how is the situation in their own language ?
 
 Thank you very much.
 
 Michel.
 
 Michel Petitjean,
 DSV/iBiTec-S/SB2SM (CNRS URA 2096), CEA Saclay, bat. 528,
 91191 Gif-sur-Yvette Cedex, France.
 Phone: +331 6908 4006 / Fax: +331 6908 4007
 E-mail: [EMAIL PROTECTED]
 http://petitjeanmichel.free.fr/itoweb.petitjean.html
 
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Re: [Fis] information(s)

2008-12-06 Thread Joseph Brenner
Dear FIS Colleagues,

For me, information is a typical English collective noun, with no plural in 
s, that subtends a number of individuals. These are designated by some 
modifying phrase, as a piece of information. But I slightly disagree with 
Guy, since I see the distribution not from zero (the empty set), but from 
the smallest real value of one bit of information.

Merci, Michel. It's good to think these things through from time to time.

Cheers,

Joseph



- Original Message - 
From: Michel PETITJEAN [EMAIL PROTECTED]
To: fis@listas.unizar.es
Sent: Saturday, December 06, 2008 3:35 PM
Subject: [Fis] information(s)


Hello FISers.

Recently, one of my colleagues attract my attention on the following point.
In French, we often use information as a countable quantity,
so that we can write informations.
In English, it seems that it is unusual, if not incorrect, to do that.
(1) Please can some English native FISers give their opinion about that ?
(2) Please can some FISers from non English-speaking countries tell us
how is the situation in their own language ?

Thank you very much.

Michel.

Michel Petitjean,
DSV/iBiTec-S/SB2SM (CNRS URA 2096), CEA Saclay, bat. 528,
91191 Gif-sur-Yvette Cedex, France.
Phone: +331 6908 4006 / Fax: +331 6908 4007
E-mail: [EMAIL PROTECTED]
http://petitjeanmichel.free.fr/itoweb.petitjean.html

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Re: [Fis] information(s)

2008-12-06 Thread Walter Riofrio
Hello Michel,

It seems to me the situation with the use of information (in colloquial terms) 
in Spanish is similar than that in French.

Of course, Spanish has many intrinsic details in its uses of words, verbs, 
expressions, etc; depending of the country we are talking about.

In Peru, for instante, we use the expressions: (1) “hemos obtenido suficiente 
información 
sobre este tema” [we obtained enough information about this issue] 
but also (2) “dos informaciones que provienen de  distintas fuentes se apoyan 
entre sí” [two “informations” coming from different sources support each other]

And both are correct.

Sincerely,


Walter






***
Walter Riofrio
Theoretical and Evolutionary Biology Researcher
- Researcher, Complex Thought Institute “Edgar Morin”,
University Ricardo Palma, Lima-Peru.
- Chercheur Associé; Complex Systems Institute (ISC-PIF).

E-mail: [EMAIL PROTECTED]



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Re: [Fis] information(s)

2008-12-06 Thread Rafael Capurro
Michel

this is an interesting question and you can find a plausible answer for 
if you take a look at the etymology of this word.
http://www.capurro.de/infoconcept.html

Latin informatio as a noun is used, as far as I know, only in the 
singular and means giving form to something in a 'material' as well as 
in a 'spiritual' (education, communication) sense. It would be possible 
to say in (ancient and medieval) Latin informationes but not in the 
sense we use it today. It would mean different processes of formation, 
not 'pieces' of 'information'.

The ontological (or 'material') use of 'informatio' becomes (partly) 
obsolete in Modernity (and is rediscovered today). In English the use of 
the plural goes back to the 14th Century, but is rare later. The use of 
the singular is a reminiscence also in the case of British empiricists 
who prefer the term impressions of Aristotelic philosophy probably 
because it sounds less Aristotelian .

Nevertheless the epistemological context that prevails in Modernity 
(information = communicating something to someone) (since the 
ontological sense became obsolete with the disappearence of Aristotelian 
philosophy) makes possible (and meaningful...) the use of the plural (as 
in the case of French, Spanish, Italian)

Take a look at this text quoted from the article by Capurro/Hjoerland I 
mentioned before (or go directly to my Dissertation written in German 
some 30 years ago! http://www.capurro.de/info.html where you will find 
in detail many of the sources):

Peters (1988, p. 12) asserts that Bacon's (1967) Great Instauration:

criticizes the logicians of his day for receiving as conclusive the 
immediate informations of the sense... Instead, those informations 
must be subjected, according to Bacon, to a sure plan that will sort the 
true form the false. Though Bacon's usage may not appear irreconcilable 
with our own, the inverted pluralization should tip us off that he does 
not completely share our prejudices (we should say the information of 
the senses). In fact, this locution exemplifies a perfectly hylomorphic 
notion of the workings of the senses: they are a kind of matter (wax 
being a favorite empiricist instance) on which objects of the world may 
leave their shapes or stamps. What is interesting here is that the site 
of information is being shifted from the world at large to the human 
mind and senses. This shift requires no break with scholastic notions of 
mind or nature.

Indeed this epistemological notion of information(s), particularly the 
wax metaphor, was a key higher-level concept throughout the Middle Ages. 
Consider Locke's (1995, p. 373) statement: No existence of anything 
without us, but only of GOD, can certainly be known further than our 
senses inform us. Peters (1988, pp. 12-13) concludes:


Information was readily deployed in empiricist philosophy (though it 
played a less important role than other words such as impression or 
idea) because it seemed to describe the mechanics of sensation: objects 
in the world in-form the senses. But sensation is entirely different 
from form — the one is sensual, the other intellectual; the one is 
subjective, the other objective. My sensation of things is fleeting, 
elusive, and idiosynchratic [sic]. For Hume, especially, sensory 
experience is a swirl of impressions cut off from any sure link to the 
real world... In any case, the empiricist problematic was how the mind 
is informed by sensations of the world. At first informed meant shaped 
by; later it came to mean received reports from. As its site of action 
drifted from cosmos to consciousness, the term's sense shifted from 
unities (Aristotle's forms) to units (of sensation). Information came 
less and less to refer to internal ordering or formation, since 
empiricism allowed for no preexisting intellectual forms outside of 
sensation itself. Instead, information came to refer to the fragmentary, 
fluctuating, haphazard stuff of sense. Information, like the early 
modern worldview more generally, shifted from a divinely ordered cosmos 
to a system governed by the motion of corpuscles. Under the tutelage of 
empiricism, information gradually moved from structure to stuff, from 
form to substance, from intellectual order to sensory impulses.

Later developments on etymology are partly covered by the next section. 
Here we will conclude that the modern uses of information show a 
transition period in which the medieval ontological concept of molding 
matter is not just abandoned but reshaped under empirical and 
epistemological premises. It has been extremely interesting to observe 
how the concept of information is closely connected to views of 
knowledge. This conclusion is important when we later analyze the 
concept of information in information science, because it indicates a 
severly neglected connection between theories of information and 
theories of knowledge.


Probably the opposition between Aristotle and Empircism is less stronger