Notre invité sera Paul Griffiths (University of Sydney), il interviendra sur le thème suivant : "Causation and Information in Living Systems".
Résumé: Biologists tend to think of structures as carrying information when they are involved in causally specific relationships” (Woodward 2010, 314). We analyze three examples in which biologists have singled out some causes as sources of information for their effects. These are (1) Francis Crick’s use of the idea of information to state the Central Dogma and sequence hypothesis, (2) distinctions between ‘instructive’ and ‘permissive’ interactions in development, (3) recent work seeking to locate the 'missing information' for mRNA splicing. These case studies provide significant support for Woodward's proposal. We briefly summarize earlier work in which we have developed a quantitative measure of causal specificity using tools from information theory, and use this to analyze and argue against two proposals to define biological information as specificity plus some extra ingredient. We conclude that the idea of causal specificity is a promising explication of the idea that some but not all causes in biology are sources of information for their effects.