Great Problems: #Epistemology, How do we know what there is? How do we know that we can really know anything? What is #Knowledge?

Epistemology asks the question “how do we know what there is?”

Immaterial information provides a new ground for epistemology, the theory of knowledge. We know something about the “things themselves” when we discover an isomorphism between our abstract ideas and concrete objects in the material world. Information philosophy goes beyond the logical puzzles and language games of analytic philosophy. It identifies knowledge as information in human minds and in the external artifacts of human culture.

Abstract information is the foundation – the metaphysical ground – of both logic and language as means of communication. It is the part of a dualism parallel to the material substrate that the Greeks called ὑποκείμενον – the “underlying.” It gives matter its form and shape. Form informs.

Knowing how we know is a fundamentally circular problem when it is described in human language, as a set of logical propositions. And knowing something about what exists adds another complex circle, if the knowing being must itself be one of those things that exists.

These circular definitions and inferences need not be vicious circles. They may simply be a coherent set of ideas that we use to describe ourselves and the external world. If the descriptions are logically valid and/or verifiable empirically, we think we are approaching the “truth” about things and acquiring knowledge.

How then do we describe the knowledge itself – an existing thing in our existent minds and in the existing external world? An information epistemology does it by basing everything on the abstract but quantitative notion of information.

Information is stored or encoded in physical and biological structures. Structures in the world build themselves, following natural laws, including physical and biological laws. Structures in the mind are partly built by biological processes and partly built by human intelligence, which is free, creative, and unpredictable.

Knowledge is the Sum of information created and stored in minds and in human artifacts like stories, books, and internetworked computers.

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