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Title: Biological information
Author: Lean, Oliver Miles
ISNI:       0000 0004 6056 6495
Awarding Body: University of Bristol
Current Institution: University of Bristol
Date of Award: 2016
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This thesis addresses the active controversy regarding the nature and role of informational concepts as applied to the biological sciences - in particular, the relationship between statistical or correlational information on one hand and meaningful, semantic, intentional information on the other. It first develops a set of basic conceptual tools that can be applied to any, or at least most, putative cases of information processing in biological systems. This framework shows that, contrary to popular belief, we can make sense of biological information in the former, statistical sense, without it trivially applying to any and all physical processes that take place in living things. I then demonstrate the utility of this framework by applying its tools to specific information-related controversies: the concept of innateness, and information versus influence in animal communication. These chapters demonstrate that these issues can be clarified with the tools previously developed. I also discuss the notion of primitive content - the simplest form of biological phenomenon that can reasonably be said to be contentful. This issue serves as a biological basis for future research regarding the ongoing philosophical problem of relating the physical to the mental.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available