Thus, what is necessary in any communication is an exchange of consciousness in the form of meaning. What is missing...

Thus, what is necessary in any communication is an exchange of consciousness in the form of meaning. What is missing…

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Thus, what is necessary in any communication is an exchange of consciousness in the form of meaning. What is missing when we mistakenly refer to communication as ‘information’ exchange is an appreciation of the cardinal distinction between the skeleton computational language used by information technology and the rich, ordered sensibilities of discourses that make and carry meaning between organisms.


  1. Excellent article! Says much of what I’ve been saying for decades from when I seriously delved into AI/Information/Shannon/Core Physics….

    Something I summarized in a short piece reposted on my Bleeding Edge Blog: – The Evolution of Knowledge

  2. I’m increaingly convinced Claude Shannon’s field should be called signal theory, and that labeling it “information” was a mistake.

  3. Kenny Chaffin, very good article. Thanks for pointing it out.

  4. Edward Morbius, excellent distinction.

  5. I see information as a state (property or set of them) and meaning as an event (process of state changes). Meaning happens in a mind exposed to information. What happens (the meaning) depends entirely on the mind and the information. Thus the subjectivity of meaning.

    Information has no meaning in itself, but it can have meaning to a mind (and different meanings to different minds).

    Meaning is a function of an agent’s goals, emotions, knowledge, … the agent in it’s entirety, generally.

    events, signs, signals, symbols, propositions, communication, ersatz experience, …

  6. Joe Repka Truth in that.

  7. and only slightly off topic:

    “Human speech is like a cracked kettle on which we tap crude rhythms for bears to dance to, while we long to make music that will melt the stars.”

    – Gustave Flaubert 12/12/1821

  8. I love this article so much

  9. Gideon RosenblattTalk about adding ambiguity! ;’) The author cannot see (because he is so deep into the subject) that it is the nature of science itself that is the problem with the information/meaning divide. By definition science does not attempt to deal with meaning.

    But leave even science out of it, and just look at Reason! “Reason cannot establish values, and its belief it can is the stupidest and most pernicious illusion.” (Max Weber, Science as a Vocation as paraphrased in Bloom, The Closing of the American Mind , p. 194).

    This is one of the most important ideas for Americans because our regime is built upon the idea that is posited as self-evident (no reason or meaning or discussion necessary) (the rationalist’s child-like dream).

    But go past Bloom and leave Reason out of it too, as Einstein said, Imagination is more important than reason. And meaning goes hand-in-hand with imagination (not science). Human good is the measure of meaning!

    There is no way for science to understand, imagine, or dream. It is indifferent to human good. Science is limited: and it is its limits which give it such power in the material world. But man is not only material. As President Obama said today, he cannot live by bread alone. He can put up with anything except the lack of meaning.**

    Science can kick and AI can scream, but neither can be a foundation for faith, hope, or love.

    **And President Obama acknowledged that we need some bread too. ;’)

  10. kiara peter hi ….me too…

  11. Meaningful Article

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