‘According to informational semantics, if it's necessary that a creature can't distinguish Xs from Ys, it follows that the creature can't have a concept that applies to Xs but not Ys.’ (Fodor, 1994, p. 32)
There is, indeed, a form of informational semantics that has this verificationist implication. The original definition of information given in Dretske's Knowledge and the Flow of Information (1981, hereafter KFI), when employed as a base for a theory of intentional representation or ‘content,’ has this implication. I will argue that, in fact, most of what an animal needs to know about its environment is not available as natural information of this kind. It is true, I believe, that there is one fundamental kind of perception that depends on this kind of natural information, but more sophisticated forms of inner representation do not. It is unclear, however, exactly what ‘natural information’ is supposed to mean, certainly in Fodor's, and even in Dretske's writing. In many places, Dretske seems to employ a softer notion than the one he originally defines. I will propose a softer view of natural information that is, I believe, at least hinted at by Dretske, and show that it does not have verificationist consequences. According to this soft informational semantics, a creature can perfectly well have a representation of Xs without being able to discriminate Xs from Ys.