Shannon and Interpretation

For this morning’s entry, I’ll just flag up (again, sorry) my article in Horizons in Biblical Theology, wherein I make the connection that links Claude Shannon’s information theory (a very good thing), Roman Jakobson’s redeployment of it (a questionable thing), and the way it has become an ossified set piece in the conventional discourse about the singularity and discoverability of meaning (a very bad thing). As Shannon himself says, ‘Our fellow scientists in many different fields, attracted by the fanfare and by the new avenues opened to scientific analysis, are using these ideas in their own problems. Applications are being made to biology, psychology, linguistics, fundamental physics, economics, the theory of organization, and many others…. The subject of information theory has certainly been sold, if not oversold.’ Don’t buy it!

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