Continuing in the vein of challenging and stimulating ....
It seems there are several people attributed with the saying "the map is not the territory". The debate around maps and territories came up in discussion and is frequently raised on psychology and therapy discussion lists. At DTMD I referred to h2cm as a cognitive periplus, which I came across in Cunliffe's book The Voyages of Pytheas. Basically, ancient mariners would draw a map, a periplus of the coastlines for navigation and an outline of land masses. During the meeting I came to equate the basic features on the coast as data; buildings or smoke as information; and the conclusions derived as knowledge. Whether to proceed inland well, that is about pioneering, courage and wisdom.
A challenge comes with the DTMD talk of information theories. The DTMD workshop was promoted as a forum to discuss and expand our collective understanding of what we mean by information in our different disciplines.
What would an information theory based on the knowledge domains look like? Given the presence of the SCIENCES domain then the mathematical and logic-based theories are already determined for us, are the specific information theories and models that relate to the physicality, the entropic journey of the body? What information theories can we identify for the other domains:
- and the spiritual, unknown?
Here is part of the listing c/o Prof. Rocchi and with many thanks:
- The statistical theory of information by Shannon (1949);
- The algorithmic theory of information by Solomonoff, Kolmogorov (1965), and Chaitin (1977);
- The economic theory of information by Marschak (1971);
- The living system information theory by Miller (1978);
- The autopoietic theory of information by Maturana, Varela (1980);
- The biological information theory by Jablonka (2002);
- The cybernetic information theory by Nauta jr. (1970);
- The dynamic theory of information by Chernavsky (1990);
- The fisherian theory of information by Fisher (1950);
- The general information theory by Klir (1991);
- The general theory of information by Burgin (2009). ...
What is the result? What criteria determines the final domain 'home'? On what basis can we differentiate such theories - quantitatively and qualitatively? As noted at DTMD where are the family resemblances? Perhaps they can be found within the care domains:
Sciences - inclusion of a mathematical - logical underpinning (There be equations in the hold!)?
Social - reference to social and family networks without explicit recourse to mathematics? The use of psycho-social concepts?
Interpersonal - reductionist-wholist rendering that incorporates perception, individual information processing? What can be drawn from the latest research in anxiety and psychoses for example? Is it appropriate to wonder if ontological* approaches have anything to offer?
Political - Theories that cover economics and also explain power relations, decision making, and choice for example?
Even though when we see / read the word 'unified' you tread carefully, Hodges' model ultimately presupposes a unified view. Recall again the DTMD2011 challenge:
to discuss and expand our collective understanding of what we mean by information in our different disciplines.
So the purpose here on W2tQ and through h2cm is to focus on all the domains simultaneously; at least when information in the context of health is our concern. As I mentioned in my presentation, there are clear exceptions in emergency and crisis situations. Then 'holism' is suspended. Information (re)sources, selection, analysis, synthesis and salience are focussed; specialised individual, team and organisational memory are brought into play with varying degrees of technology in support. The second-by-second, minute-by-minute demand for data, information and knowledge increases, its longevity in terms of significance may decrease, replaced by updated values by turn until 'stability' is restored: by human effort or nature.
To be sustainable (applicable, creditable, relevant ...) for me a unified theory of (health) information must span situations such as the emergency and all the h2cm domains and care contexts. Now that is a challenge!
*What would it mean to create four ontologies that could be merged together?