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Computer Science | Wittgenstein, Language and Information: "Back to the Rough Ground!"

Wittgenstein, Language and Information: "Back to the Rough Ground!"

Blair, David

2006, XIII, 358 p.

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This book is an extension of the discussions presented in Blair’s 1990 book "Language and Representation in Information Retrieval", which was selected as the "Best Information Science Book of the Year" by the American Society for Information Science (ASIS). That work stated that the Philosophy of Language had the best theory for understanding meaning in language, and within the Philosophy of Language, the work of philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein was found to be most perceptive. The success of that book provided an incentive to look more deeply into Wittgenstein’s philosophy of language, and how it can help us to understand how to represent the intellectual content of information. This is what the current title does, and by using this theory it creates a firm foundation for future Information Retrieval research.

The work consists of four related parts. Firstly, a brief overview of Wittgenstein’s philosophy of language and its relevance to information systems. Secondly, a detailed explanation of Wittgenstein’s late philosophy of language and mind. Thirdly, an extended discussion of the relevance of his philosophy to understanding some of the problems inherent in information systems, especially those systems which rely on retrieval based on some representation of the intellectual content of that information. And, fourthly, a series of detailed footnotes which cite the sources of the numerous quotations and provide some discussion of the related issues that the text inspires.

Content Level » Research

Keywords » Ludwig Wittgenstein - Text - berck - document - language - organization - philosophy of language - robot

Related subjects » Computer Science - Database Management & Information Retrieval - Linguistics - Philosophical Traditions - Philosophy

Table of contents 

Part I: Introduction. Why Language? Why Philosophy? Why Wittgenstein? – Surveying Wittgenstein's Landscape.- Part II: Wittgenstein's Philosophy of Language and Mind. Language and Thought. Benjamin Lee Whorf. Problems With Whorf's Conjecture. Wittgenstein on Language and Thought Wittgenstein's Methodology. Wittgenstein at Work. Philosophical Investigations. 'Five Red Apples'. The 'Builder's Language'. Language Games. Language and Categorization. Universals and Particulars-An Old Debate. Wittgenstein's Approach: The Rejection of Strict Nominalism and Realism. Wittgenstein's Categories: Family Resemblances. Wittgenstein's Place in the Nominalist-Realist Debate. Forms of Life. Language Games and Forms of Life. The Big Picture: Philosophy of Language and Metaphor. Language as a Kind of Calculus. The Structure of Language is like the Dynamic. Structure of a Game. Language and Chess. Words are Like Tools and Language Use is like Tool Use. Language as a City. The Implications of the 'Language as City' Metaphor. Language as a Labyrinth. Reality and Myth: The Background of Reality on Which Language is Based is like a Mythology, and its Structure is like a Riverbed. The Foundation of Language in Instinctive Behavior. Instinctive Behavior and Forms of Life. Language and Cognition: What do We Have in Our Heads, and What is it Good for? Externalism. Psycho-physical Parallelism. The Mind and Reality: Mental Models or Scribbled Jottings? Wittgenstein and Crime: The Breakdown of the Distinction Between Inner and Outer Processes. Wittgenstein and Drama: A Dramatic Theory of Meaning. The Inner and the Outer. Imponderable Evidence (Unwägbare Evidenz). The Objective Correlative. Imponderable Evidence and Real Life. Conversational Implicatures. Wittgenstein and Behaviorism. Wittgenstein vs. Behaviorism. What is 'Behavior'? Wittgenstein vs. Behaviorism. Reductionism. Wittgenstein vs. Behaviorism. The Existence of Mental Phenomena . Wittgensteinvs. Behaviorism. Intersubjective Knowledge Wittgenstein vs. Behaviorism. Logical Behaviorism . Why Wittgenstein is not a Behaviorist. A Summary.- Part III: Wittgenstein, Language and Information. Support for Wittgenstein’s Philosophy of Mind: Robotics and 'Scaffolding.'. Where is the Mind? – The Mind: 'Who's in Charge Here?' – Scaffolding. Scaffolding and the Rational Model of Choice. Scaffolding and Computerized Information Systems. The Boundaries of the Mind. Scaffolding and the Role of Language. Mental Models. Externalism and the Philosophy of Language. Why is the 'Mind' Important for Information Systems? The Structure of Information Systems. The Fundamental Relationship in Information Systems. The Fundamental Issue of Information Systems: The 'Determinacy of Representation'. 'Escalating Uncertainty of Retrieval': The Problem with Large Systems and Indeterminately Represented Information. The Nature of Representational Indeterminacy in Information Systems. Indeterminacy in Information Systems: An Empirical Study: The STAIRS Study (examples). The 'Determinacy of Sense'– an Old Logical Problem. Description and Discrimination. The Consequences of Indeterminacy in Information Retrieval. What Do Inquirers Want? - Information Systems – A Wittgensteinean View. The 'Meaning' of a Document. The 'Diseases of Thinking' in Information Retrieval. How Do Computers Influence Information Retrieval Systems? - Managing the Retrieval of Indeterminate Information Content: Some Practical Consequences. Representing Intellectual Content. Reducing Indeterminacy in Content Retrieval. Large vs. Small Content Retrieval Systems. Using Documents Themselves as Instruments of Organization and Indeterminacy Reduction: 'Exemplary Documents' and 'Seed Searching'. Measuring the Effectiveness of Content Retrieval. The STAIRS Evaluation – A Final Look. Summary of the Design Criteria for Large Content Retrieval Systems.

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