The Disposition of Information LO29408

From: Don Dwiggins (
Date: 10/28/02

Replying to LO29366 --

At and Dileep write:
>> .....(snip) and then on Tuesday Ralph Stacey of University
>> of Hertfordshire in UK led a workshop on Complexity
>> theory and KM. He insists that knowledge is only in the
>> interactions between people, because people are modified
>> during that interaction.

> I do not think so. For example, i have explored many a desert and they
> with their geology, climate, plants and animals have changed my knowledge
> considerably. Stacey's definition would then entail that deserts also have
> knowledge.

I believe there's an important point lurking here. It seems to me that
Stacey was primarily thinking in terms of sensory inputs that people get
from each other in a social context, while At's point above deals with a
person's perception of his non-human environment. By "social context"
here, I mean that one person speaks, writes, draws, gestures, etc. with an
intent to have others perceive it. We could say that only artifacts of
that kind qualify as information. This would imply that information
exists specifically to affect people's knowledge (I carefully avoid saying
"knowledge transfer" here).

Could we then say, using Smuts' terms, that information sent and received
constitutes part of the field of a person's knowledge? And that
information does in a sense live, to the extent that it's embedded in an
interpersonal evolution of knowledge?

Of course, this leaves the question of what to call perceptions like those
that changed At's knowledge in the desert. I'll let that slide for now.

Thank you both for a fascinating thread.


Don Dwiggins "...there are two types of truth: superficial truth and deep truth. In a superficial truth, the opposite is false. In a deep truth, the opposite is also true." -- Nils Bohr

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