Non-Symbolic Information #cck11

Information is a very wide idea or concept. I do not dare to give a definition, because information is almost the cornerstone of every definition. In connectivism I would say that information is anything that can change the state of a network.

LeahGrrl you made me think deep on this.
In the symbolic approach communication involves transformation of symbols according to rules. (grammar) And computation involves transformation of symbols according to rules (rules for arithmetic, using = – ./. * and numbers).
In computers data are transformed in symbolic manipulation by rules in a ‘program’.
The connectionist view focusses on causal processes by which units excite and inhibit each other and does not provide for stored symbols or rules that govern manipulations. This is the model of learning and thinking in connectivism.
The idea of thinking as logical manipulation of symbols is very old, Hobbes and Descartes and Leibnitz, Hume conceived symbols as ideas and formulated rules to manipulate the symbols/ideas. So it is no surprise we need a Kuhnian revolution to get used to the network view of connectionism and connectivism.
In a neural network or in a computer (which is also a network of transistors and memory etc.) no representation or symbol is stored. It is impossible to read a neural network or a memory from a computer without the human body or a computer. In these networks it is only information or just input, electrical and magnetic differences and chemical reactions. No symbols in your Mind.

I did not try to give a definition of symbol. Even in semiotics every author has at least some definitions of symbol.


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