How to Produce a Transdisciplinary Information Concept for a Universal Theory of Information?

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If we want to define a universal concept of information, we have to cover not only objective statistical information, but also subjective experiential and meaningful cognition as well as intersubjective meaningful communication in nature, technology, and society. In that case the main problem is to decide which transdisciplinary philosophy of knowledge framework the concept of information should be based on and integrated in. All the ontological attempts to create objective concepts of information result in concepts that cannot encompass meaning and experience of embodied living and social systems. There is no conclusive evidence that proofs that the core of reality across nature, culture, life and mind is purely either statistical or of a computational nature. Therefore the core of the information concept should not only be based on pure logical or mathematical rationality. We need to include interpretation, signification and meaning construction in our transdisciplinary framework for informa-tion as a basic aspect of reality alongside the physical, chemical and molecular biological. It is difficult to produce a pure quantitative statement independently of a qualitative analysis based on some sort of relation to the human condition as a semiotic animal. But this direction of research leads us out of the world of technology into the world of the living. To follow the transdisciplinary ambition in much information science and philosophy leading to cognitive science we need to include a phenomenological and hermeneutical ground in order to encompass a theory of interpretative meaning and signification to achieve a transdisciplinary theory of knowing and communication. This is also true if we start in cybernetics and system theory that also have transdisciplinary aspirations for instance in Bateson’s ecological concept of information as a difference that makes a difference and in Luhmann’s triple autopoietic communication based system theory, where information is always a part of a message. Charles Sanders Peirce’s pragmaticist semiotics differs from other paradigms in that it integrates logic and information in interpretative semiotics. I therefore suggest alternatively building information theories based on semiotics from the basic relations of embodied living systems meaningful cognition and communication. I agree with Peircean biosemiotics that all transdisciplinary information concepts in order to work across the natural, technical, social and humanistic sciences must be defined as a part of real relational meaningful sign-processes manifesting as tokens. Thus Peirce’s information theory is empirically based in a realistic worldview, which through modern biosemiotics includes all living systems.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationInformation Studies and the Quest for Transdisciplinarity : Unity Through Diversity
EditorsMark Burgin, Wolfgang Hofkirchner
Number of pages48
Place of PublicationSingapore
PublisherWorld Scientific
Publication date2017
ISBN (Print)9789813108998
ISBN (Electronic)9789813109018, 9789813109001
Publication statusPublished - 2017
SeriesWorld Scientific Series in Information Studies


  • Transdisciplinary information
  • Peirce’s information concept
  • Cybernetics
  • Systems and semiotic
  • Luhmann’s communication theory
  • Realistic worldview
  • Phenomenology
  • Hermeneutics

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