PHIL-773 Information & Experimentation
Fall for 2017-2018
This is a seminar investigating the connection between experimental practice and the flow of information. We will be concerned in the course with the question of how observations of one system allow inferences about other systems. My basic orientation toward this question is that it is best answered by appealing to facts about how information flows in various kinds of distributed systems.
There are many analyses of experimentation in the literature, and we’ll look at some of those. More than focusing on standard cases of experimentation however, I hope that the work we do in the seminar will allow us to extend our account of experimentation to other domains of inquiry that are generally taken less seriously as experimental practice. My main hope is that we will, by getting clearer on the basic notion of experimentation and how knowing the world through experimentation is possible, see how these other practices count as interestingly and robustly experimental.
We begin with some background on information and follow this with some background on experimentation. The remainder of the seminar will be devoted to developing an information-theoretic account of experimentation and attempting to extend it to cover such practices as thought experimentation, simulation, analogical experimentation, etc.
Prerequisites: Permission of instructor and department chair.
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