Theoria: An International Journal for Theory, History and Foundations of Science

Volume 10, Issue 3, Septiembre 1995

John Corcoran
Pages 55-78

Information Recovery Problems

An information recovery problem is the problem of constructing a proposition containing the information dropped in going from a given premise to a given conclusion that folIows. The proposition(s) to be constructed can be required to satisfy other conditions as well, e.g. being independent of the conclusion, or being “informationally unconnected” with the conclusion, or some other condition dictated by the context. This paper discusses various types of such problems, it presents techniques and principles useful in solving them, and it develops algorithmic methods for certain classes of such problems. The results are then applied to classical number theory, in particular, to questions concerning possible refinements of the 1931 Gödel Axiom Set, e.g. whether any of its axioms can be analyzed into “informational atoms”. Two propositions are “informationally unconnected” [with each other] if no informative (nontautological) consequence of one also follows from the other. A proposition is an “informational atom” if it is informative but no information can be dropped from it without rendering it uninformative (tautological). Presentation, employment, and investigation of these two new concepts are prominent features of this paper.