Re: [OPE] Reply to critics (Cockshott mainly)

From: Paul Cockshott <>
Date: Sun Oct 03 2010 - 16:59:37 EDT

In information management, we can find literally hundreds of different
"scientific" definitions of "information", all of which have been proposed
by reputable scientists, and a historian would point out, that these
definitions continue to change. When Marxists embrace a new bourgeois
ideology as supremely "scientific" we ought to be critical, and not go along
with the fad.

Paul C
Shannons theory of information is hardly a flash in the pan, if within information
management there are thousands of theories of information, within telecoms
computer science and physics Shannons theory is universally accepted.
The other influential theory is the Chaitin Kolmogorov theory, but this is
not in contradication with the Shannon theory, but an extension to other domains.

Its objective correctness has been convincingly demonstrated in practice -
the whole of modern IT rests on it. It stands in the same relationship to
modern technology as Clausius theory stood in relation to the steam engine
technology of the 19th century. The great insight of Shannon was to see the
connection between the thermodynamics required by power technology and
the information theory required by telecoms.

What Jurriaan is doing here when he describes information theory as a new
bourgeois ideology is exactly what the ideologists in the USSR did in the
late 40s and early 50s when Shannons theory was denounced as bourgeois
and in order to have it discussed Soviet electrical engineers had to translate the titleof Shannons
paper as the 'statistical theory of errors in signal transmission'. This and the similar
denunciation of Weiner's theory of cybernetics as another example of bourgeois ideology, like
'Mendel Morganism'. The combined effect of these prejudices was to setback
soviet computer technology, IT and genetics by several years.

The University of Glasgow, charity number SC004401
ope mailing list
Received on Sun Oct 3 17:01:20 2010

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.8 : Sun Oct 31 2010 - 00:00:02 EDT