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Distinguishing between information as info'mation v in*formation Re: [xmca] The distinction between "information" and "knowledge" A response to Brandom

I am proposing a distinction based on the difference between "information" in its older sense, more related to "formation" in the sense of education -understood-as-"formation" (formacao, Bildung, etc.) -- a sense of "information" that is all but lost in current English usage -- versus the sense of "information" as the word is used today.

In its older sense, I could say that his character is informed by her influence, or that my ideas about something are informed by what I heard from you last night. This is the information of my thinking by your speaking, or the information of his character by her influence. Your speaking did and DOES participate in the formation of my thinking about something.

The short form "info" denotes stuff, rather than active participation in a formation (of persons, ideas, institutions, concepts, customs, etc., _as formations_). I don't deny the reality or importance of information as "info," but I think we need to recover the older sense, which we cannot do without differentiating between "information" in the sanse of "info," and "information" as a participatory, "informing" relationship, for which the shortened "info" does not work. I am now using "info'mation" and "in*formation" to mark this difference.

This way of marking the difference is changed slightly from how I did it in a book review for MCA, which has not appeared yet in a printed issue, but is available now online (pending final editing). That discussion (which follows sections addressing each of the three books in the review) includes OED definitions, but also some historical background on the relationship between the now-prevailing idea of information and mathematical information theory at the birth of cybernetics and cognitivism in psychology.

On Fri, 16 Sep 2011, Larry Purss wrote:

Andy, Arthur
Ingold has an interesting position on the giving and asking for reasons.
Ingold suggests information may be communicated in propositional form from
generation to generation. But for Ingold information is NOT knowledge nor do
we become any more knowledgeable through accumulating information. Our
"knowledgeability consists in the capacity to SITUATE such information
within the context of a DIRECT PERCEPTUAL ENGAGEMENT within our
environments. Ingold emphasizes, we develop this knowledgeability not
through gathering information but rather by having things SHOWN to us in
order that we "experience" by touch, taste, smell, hearing, seeing, by the
other person so it can be apprehended directly. In that way the world is
revealed or DISCLOSED bit by bit to the novice. Ingold refers to this
process as an EDUCATION OF ATTENTION [borrowed from Gibson]. Through the
fine-tuning of perceptual SKILLS the relational contexts of the perceiver's
INVOLVEMENT dwelling in the world are not so much constructed as discovered

A very interesting stance on "information" and "knowlege"

The term "environment" is contrasted with "nature"  We are INVOLVED and
ENGAGED within environments but we take a stance of distance FROM "nature"
Ingold is critical of the phrase "natural environment" as conflating two
very distinct notions.

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Tony Whitson
UD School of Education
NEWARK  DE  19716


"those who fail to reread
 are obliged to read the same story everywhere"
                  -- Roland Barthes, S/Z (1970)
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