Around the Infonosphere

Philosopher Mandel Cabrera over at Lexilalia discusses the virtual photography of Robert Overweg in connection to Heidegger’s distinction between ‘the Earth’ and ‘the World’.

At the International Cognition and Culture Institute Nicolas Baumard blogs about Philippa Foot, the philosopher of ethics famous for the trolley dilemma, writing, “indeed, in anthropology, the accepted view is that moral norms are explicitly taught and that’s why they differ from one place to the other. But what if people do not know the rationale of their intuitions and are unable to provide arguments or even cues to their judgement?.”

Keith Hart reviews Daniel Miller’s new book Stuff over at the Open Anthropology Cooperative.

Finally Ronald Kephart, our favorite cranky linguist, continues taking the ‘broken’ out of ‘broken English’.

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Introduction to Situation Theory Part IV

Situation Semantics

Situation theory was developed to support situation semantics. Natural language semantics are rich and the topic of how to represent these semantics, in situation theory or otherwise, is too complex to give justice to here. We will give a basic account of situation semantics as a situated relational theory of meaning, and work out a few illustrative examples.
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Introduction to Situation Theory Part III

Infon Logic

Devlin develops an infon logic framework to be used either by a theorist or by an agent. The description of this logic is relatively informal. Infon logic combines basic infons to form non-basic compound infons. Conjuction and disjunction of infons may be recursively applied to create larger expressions. Continue reading

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Introduction to Situation Theory Part II

Fundamentals of Situation Theory

Situation theory is built on a rich ontology of objects including infons, situations, n-place relations, individuals, spatial and temporal locations, types, parameters, and polarities. We will adopt the account in (Devlin 1991) and assign to each of these a corresponding basic type: INF, SIT, RELn, IND, LOC, TIM, TYP, PAR, and POL. In general we indicate that an object x has type T by writing x:T. In general there is no restriction on the number of elementary types something may have. For example, we may want to treat an event like a football game as a situation on one occasion, and as an individual on another occasion. Continue reading

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Around the Infonosphere

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Introduction to Situation Theory Part I

What Is Situation Theory?

Situation theory is an information theoretic mathematical ontology developed to support situation semantics, an alternative semantics to the better known possible world semantics originally introduced in the 1950s. Rather than a semantics based on total possible worlds, situation semantics is a relational semantics of partial worlds called situations. Situations support (or fail to support) items of information, variously called states of affairs or infons. The partial nature of situations gives situation theory and situation semantics a flexible framework in which to model information and the context-dependent meaning of sentences in natural language. Continue reading

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References and Footnotes

These are footnotes and references for the introduction to situation theory series of articles.

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Notes on “What is information” by David Israel and John Perry

I will be presenting a series of articles introducing various forms of situation theory and situation semantics. I open up with an edited collection notes on an important paper by David Israel and John Perry, entitled “What is Information”.

David Israel and John Perry introduce a series of working principles of a theory of semantic information, outline a situation theoretical framework, and apply this framework to an analysis of agent action with respect to the usefulness of having information, attempting to resolve an apparent conflict between a notion of information as relative to external background constraints and facts, and the notion of an agent having information that X and acting appropriately to that information. Israel and Perry wrote a sequel to the article presently being discussed, called Information and Architecture which is highly relevant and which I have blogged about several times before, here, here, here, and here. Continue reading

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stuff out there

This looks interesting. Note: there are streaming videos of past talks of the Human Complexity series.

HUMAN COMPLEXITY SPEAKER 1:30-3:20 Friday October 8, 2010

Yen-Sheng Chiang, Asst. Professor, Sociology & Mathematical Behavioral
Sciences, UCI

Cooperation Dynamics in Networks When Cued by the Structural Attributes of

3030 Anteater I&R Bldg (AIRB) UCI
285 Powell Library UCLA
260 Galbraith Hall UCSD
230 Olson Hall UC DAVIS

Abstract: Recent research endeavors in science investigate how cooperation
evolves in complex networks. In the models, the network is either
exogenously given or is formed endogenously. In either case, actors are
modeled to occupy the nodes, play the prisoner’s dilemma game with their
network neighbors and adapt behavior in reference to either their local
network neighborhood or the whole population. Yet, in these models an
actor’s decision of cooperation or defection in the game is independent of
the network structure. A cooperator, for example, would cooperate
unconditionally with all his network neighbors despite their differences
in network positions. In this talk, I introduce a new direction for
modeling cooperation dynamics in networks where an actor’s decision making
can be cued by the structural attributes of nodes. In the new model,
cooperators are conditional in the sense that they follow some rules that
govern whether they would cooperate or defect dependent on the network
structural properties, such as betweenness, clustering and degree, of the
nodes they occupy as well as their neighbors’. Simulating the evolution of
cooperation across a variety of networks shows that conditional
cooperators who are selective in choosing the recipients of cooperation
based on the cues of nodal attributes increases the pervasiveness of
cooperation across the population.
Streaming videos for all past talks (2005-2010) are at

Next and following speaker announcements and signup for listserve at
UC4-HumanComplexity mailing list

UC4-HumanComplexity mailing list

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Semiotics of Programming Part I

Book Cover of Kumiko Tanaka-Ishii's book Semiotics of ProgrammingI am reading a fascinating new book by Kumiko Tanaka-Ishii, The Semiotics of Programming published this year by Cambridge University Press. In the book Tanaka-Ishii analyzes the semantics of programming languages from the perspective of Saussurian and Peircian semiotics, that is, as systems of signs. In so doing, Tanaka-Ishii not only gives us a clearer picture of the semantics of programming languages, but gives us a critical analysis of key concepts in semiotic theory. Continue reading

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