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Philosophers

Mortimer Adler
Rogers Albritton
Alexander of Aphrodisias
Samuel Alexander
William Alston
Anaximander
G.E.M.Anscombe
Anselm
Louise Antony
Thomas Aquinas
Aristotle
David Armstrong
Harald Atmanspacher
Robert Audi
Augustine
J.L.Austin
A.J.Ayer
Alexander Bain
Mark Balaguer
Jeffrey Barrett
William Belsham
Henri Bergson
George Berkeley
Isaiah Berlin
Richard J. Bernstein
Bernard Berofsky
Robert Bishop
Max Black
Susanne Bobzien
Emil du Bois-Reymond
Hilary Bok
Laurence BonJour
George Boole
Émile Boutroux
F.H.Bradley
C.D.Broad
Michael Burke
C.A.Campbell
Joseph Keim Campbell
Rudolf Carnap
Carneades
Ernst Cassirer
David Chalmers
Roderick Chisholm
Chrysippus
Cicero
Randolph Clarke
Samuel Clarke
Anthony Collins
Antonella Corradini
Diodorus Cronus
Jonathan Dancy
Donald Davidson
Mario De Caro
Democritus
Daniel Dennett
Jacques Derrida
René Descartes
Richard Double
Fred Dretske
John Dupré
John Earman
Laura Waddell Ekstrom
Epictetus
Epicurus
Herbert Feigl
John Martin Fischer
Owen Flanagan
Luciano Floridi
Philippa Foot
Alfred Fouilleé
Harry Frankfurt
Richard L. Franklin
Michael Frede
Gottlob Frege
Peter Geach
Edmund Gettier
Carl Ginet
Alvin Goldman
Gorgias
Nicholas St. John Green
H.Paul Grice
Ian Hacking
Ishtiyaque Haji
Stuart Hampshire
W.F.R.Hardie
Sam Harris
William Hasker
R.M.Hare
Georg W.F. Hegel
Martin Heidegger
Heraclitus
R.E.Hobart
Thomas Hobbes
David Hodgson
Shadsworth Hodgson
Baron d'Holbach
Ted Honderich
Pamela Huby
David Hume
Ferenc Huoranszki
William James
Lord Kames
Robert Kane
Immanuel Kant
Tomis Kapitan
Jaegwon Kim
William King
Hilary Kornblith
Christine Korsgaard
Saul Kripke
Andrea Lavazza
Keith Lehrer
Gottfried Leibniz
Leucippus
Michael Levin
George Henry Lewes
C.I.Lewis
David Lewis
Peter Lipton
C. Lloyd Morgan
John Locke
Michael Lockwood
E. Jonathan Lowe
John R. Lucas
Lucretius
Alasdair MacIntyre
Ruth Barcan Marcus
James Martineau
Storrs McCall
Hugh McCann
Colin McGinn
Michael McKenna
Brian McLaughlin
John McTaggart
Paul E. Meehl
Uwe Meixner
Alfred Mele
Trenton Merricks
John Stuart Mill
Dickinson Miller
G.E.Moore
Thomas Nagel
Friedrich Nietzsche
John Norton
P.H.Nowell-Smith
Robert Nozick
William of Ockham
Timothy O'Connor
Parmenides
David F. Pears
Charles Sanders Peirce
Derk Pereboom
Steven Pinker
Plato
Karl Popper
Porphyry
Huw Price
H.A.Prichard
Protagoras
Hilary Putnam
Willard van Orman Quine
Frank Ramsey
Ayn Rand
Michael Rea
Thomas Reid
Charles Renouvier
Nicholas Rescher
C.W.Rietdijk
Richard Rorty
Josiah Royce
Bertrand Russell
Paul Russell
Gilbert Ryle
Jean-Paul Sartre
Kenneth Sayre
T.M.Scanlon
Moritz Schlick
Arthur Schopenhauer
John Searle
Wilfrid Sellars
Alan Sidelle
Ted Sider
Henry Sidgwick
Walter Sinnott-Armstrong
J.J.C.Smart
Saul Smilansky
Michael Smith
Baruch Spinoza
L. Susan Stebbing
Isabelle Stengers
George F. Stout
Galen Strawson
Peter Strawson
Eleonore Stump
Francisco Suárez
Richard Taylor
Kevin Timpe
Mark Twain
Peter Unger
Peter van Inwagen
Manuel Vargas
John Venn
Kadri Vihvelin
Voltaire
G.H. von Wright
David Foster Wallace
R. Jay Wallace
W.G.Ward
Ted Warfield
Roy Weatherford
William Whewell
Alfred North Whitehead
David Widerker
David Wiggins
Bernard Williams
Timothy Williamson
Ludwig Wittgenstein
Susan Wolf

Scientists

Michael Arbib
Bernard Baars
Gregory Bateson
John S. Bell
Charles Bennett
Ludwig von Bertalanffy
Susan Blackmore
Margaret Boden
David Bohm
Niels Bohr
Ludwig Boltzmann
Emile Borel
Max Born
Satyendra Nath Bose
Walther Bothe
Hans Briegel
Leon Brillouin
Stephen Brush
Henry Thomas Buckle
S. H. Burbury
Donald Campbell
Anthony Cashmore
Eric Chaisson
Jean-Pierre Changeux
Arthur Holly Compton
John Conway
John Cramer
E. P. Culverwell
Charles Darwin
Terrence Deacon
Louis de Broglie
Max Delbrück
Abraham de Moivre
Paul Dirac
Hans Driesch
John Eccles
Arthur Stanley Eddington
Paul Ehrenfest
Albert Einstein
Hugh Everett, III
Franz Exner
Richard Feynman
R. A. Fisher
Joseph Fourier
Lila Gatlin
Michael Gazzaniga
GianCarlo Ghirardi
J. Willard Gibbs
Nicolas Gisin
Paul Glimcher
Thomas Gold
A.O.Gomes
Brian Goodwin
Joshua Greene
Jacques Hadamard
Patrick Haggard
Stuart Hameroff
Augustin Hamon
Sam Harris
Hyman Hartman
John-Dylan Haynes
Martin Heisenberg
Werner Heisenberg
John Herschel
Jesper Hoffmeyer
E. T. Jaynes
William Stanley Jevons
Roman Jakobson
Pascual Jordan
Ruth E. Kastner
Stuart Kauffman
Simon Kochen
Stephen Kosslyn
Ladislav Kovàč
Rolf Landauer
Alfred Landé
Pierre-Simon Laplace
David Layzer
Benjamin Libet
Seth Lloyd
Hendrik Lorentz
Josef Loschmidt
Ernst Mach
Donald MacKay
Henry Margenau
James Clerk Maxwell
Ernst Mayr
Ulrich Mohrhoff
Jacques Monod
Emmy Noether
Howard Pattee
Wolfgang Pauli
Massimo Pauri
Roger Penrose
Steven Pinker
Colin Pittendrigh
Max Planck
Susan Pockett
Henri Poincaré
Daniel Pollen
Ilya Prigogine
Hans Primas
Adolphe Quételet
Juan Roederer
Jerome Rothstein
David Ruelle
Erwin Schrödinger
Aaron Schurger
Claude Shannon
David Shiang
Herbert Simon
Dean Keith Simonton
B. F. Skinner
Roger Sperry
Henry Stapp
Tom Stonier
Antoine Suarez
Leo Szilard
William Thomson (Kelvin)
Peter Tse
Heinz von Foerster
John von Neumann
John B. Watson
Daniel Wegner
Steven Weinberg
Paul A. Weiss
John Wheeler
Wilhelm Wien
Norbert Wiener
Eugene Wigner
E. O. Wilson
H. Dieter Zeh
Ernst Zermelo
Wojciech Zurek

Presentations

Biosemiotics
Free Will
Mental Causation
James Symposium
 
The Quantification of Form
We need to quantify the amount of information in a material object, and therefore the amount of information implicit in a reference to the object designated by a word or other symbol. References to objects in the external world are called ostensive definitions (made by pointing a finger at the object and uttering its name). They are relatively uncontroversial.

This will be a small step toward the information content of pure ideas or concepts designated by other words. Since one cannot point at an idea or concept, their names are more controversial. Definitions are said to be "intensive," dependent on elaborate descriptions of what we mean by a word, what we "have in mind" when we use a term. This is often called the "sense" of a word, after Gottlob Frege's German term Sinn, which he distinguished from "reference" or Bedeutung, literally fingering.

We need to agree on some preliminary facts about human language to avoid spilling more philosophical ink on theories of language and theories of meaning (semantics).

With the exceptions of some symbols that are iconic (rudimentary pictures of objects), and what Charles Sanders Peirce called indexicals (symbols with causal connections to their designated objects, e.g., onomatopoeic words or sounds, smoke as a symbol for fire), all symbols in natural languages have an arbitrary connection with their objects or concepts.

Both words (graphemes) and their voiced sounds (phonemes) are equally arbitrary. The Greeks knew this (e.g, Plato's Cratylus). Peirce used it in his triadic theory of signs known as semiotics (icons, indexicals, symbols). Ferdinand de Saussure ' s semiology describes a sign as a dyadic relationship between a signifier and its signified (usually a concept, described by other signifiers, as words in a dictionary are all circular definitions).

Every word in every language only has a definite meaning (or meanings) by a conventional agreement among its users in some community (generally smaller than the total number of speakers of the language).

“When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, “it means just what I choose it to mean—neither more nor less."
Names (or proper nouns) generally have been invented to designate uniquely an individual person, animal, or thing. No description of any or all attributes (a "bundle of properties") of that person can as precisely and efficiently identify the person as can the name. No property or group of properties is therefore "identical" to the name. Such "descriptions" cannot be substituted for the name in sentences or propositions. Furthermore, since all names are arbitrary and can be used for multiple persons or things, they share the same fundamental ambiguity as any words and can be used figuratively and metaphorically to refer to anything.

Saul Kripke's view that once created (or "baptized" by association with its referent) a name is a necessary or "rigid designator" for its referent and true in all possible worlds does severe violence to the logical concept of necessity, which does not apply to anything in the material world, any aspect of which could have been otherwise. And of course any particular name is arbitrary and could have been otherwise, unless one's view of the material universe is deterministic .

The information content of the codes used in biological communication, inside cells, between cells, and between multicellular organisms, are equally arbitrary, so their "meanings" depend on conventions "agreed upon" by the members of their species. Biosemioticians see human language as the natural evolutionary extension of all biological information creation and communication.

Quantifiers for Propositions
In ordinary grammar, words or numbers that modify a noun to indicate the quantity of some thing (for example, “many,” “few,” “some,” “two,” “2,” "each," "no") are called quantifers.

In analytic language philosophy and philosophical logic, Charles Sanders Peirce, Gottlob Frege, and others invented quantification operators, for example, x ("for all x")

Willard van Orman Quine described these prefixed operators as "binding" the variables in a logical formula by specifying their quantity.

Quantity of Information
By analogy, we can specify the amount of abstract information in a physical object, Q(x), as a number that would include the many qualitative bits of information that describe the various individual properties, relations, and other attributes of a subject or object.

Although Q(x) may be impossible to calculate in many cases as a practical matter, it is a philosophical tool that "binds" an "ontological commitment," as Quine would put it, to the existence of such information. It asserts the reality of form as an ontological entity.

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