Of all the things dubbed “representations” in ordinary language, we will be interested in the ones that, by design, are supposed, if they are successful, to express a content or proposition. We may call them propositional representations.
A second (see correlation) and more frequent use of the term “information” concerns the contents expressed by declarative tokens of languages or codes. We may call these tokens propositional representations. The content of a propositional representation −i.e., the proposition expressed by it, or what it says to competent users of the language− is frequently referred to as the information carried by the representation. In contrast with what happens with the former notion of information, the content carried by a propositional representation doesn’t depend on the existence of any correlation, but on the design history of the corresponding language or code. In this view, also, contents can be false, and a propositional representation may thus carry false information.
While in the case of the first notion of information, it seems that it could be reduced to the idea of correlation, in the case of the second notion, it seems that it could be reduced to the idea of content.
Millikan, Ruth (2004). Varieties of Meaning: The Jean-Nicod lectures 2002, Cambridge: MIT Press.
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Manuel Campos (03-30-2009)
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