Information concepts pervade biology—transcription, translation, noise, redundancy, computation, network, complexity, processing, signal, digital, code, blueprint – yet, questions about what information is, how it is to be measured, and whether such notions are even useful in science, remain unanswered. For example, in evolutionary studies, the notion of information transfer is commonplace: DNA stores information that is later transmitted along a signaling pathway and translated by a ribosome. How can we both qualitatively as well as quantitatively analyze this information, and how might other disciplines such as computer science, neuroscience, and genetics shed some light on the theory and application of information in biology? Appealing to the metaphor and language of information theory is tempting, but understanding how these information concepts are related, useful, and meaningful, is a challenge. “Information & Transmission” will examine these questions, as well as the relationship between the philosophy of information and the philosophy of biology.
This year the conference is hosted by Duke’s Center for the Philosophy of Biology, and cosponsored by Duke’s Biology Department, Computer Science Department, IGSP and the Bass Connections Information, Society & Culture Theme.