So What?

Towards a mathematical theory of meaningful communication starts from Shannon’s information theory and examines its rôle in biology. Sometimes “meaningful” is taken to refer to the utility of some information—i.e. “So What?”. Meaning arises in the middle of the complicated chain described here. That chain gets longer as language is used to confer this ‘understanding’ between animals (mostly humans).

When I read “Evolutionary Epistemology” I was startled to realize that ‘truth’ was not fundamental but an encapsulation of useful complex patterns in the brain.

The eye was once thought by some to be too complex to have evolved. Today there are highly plausible explanations as well as evidence that the eye has indeed evolved independently many times. The evolution of the brain’s ‘truth tool’ has not been speculated upon to my knowledge. Being useful is not an explanation—jet engines are useful and they did not evolve. We designed jet engines without knowledge of the evolution of flight. Yet I think it may be useful from an engineering perspective to speculate on how intelligence evolved. That is a long road but it may be the only road.

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Deconstruction, tangent,