mind, matter, meaning and information


the word

From Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary, 1913 Edition:

Information, n. [F., fr. L. informatio representation, cinception. See Inform, v. t.]...
2. News, advice, or knowledge, communicated by others or obtained by personal study and investigation; intelligence; knowledge derived from reading, observation, or instruction...
Inform, v. t.... [OE. enformen, OF. enformer, F. informer. L. informare; pref. in- in + formare to form, share, fr. forma form. See Form.]...
2. To communicate knowledge to; to make known to; to acquaint; to advise; to instruct; to tell; to notify; to enlighten...
Form, v. t.... [F. former, L. formare, fr. forma. See Form, n.]
1. To give form or shape to; to frame; to construct; to make; to fashion...
2. To give a particular shape to; to shape, mold, or fashion into a certain state or condition; to arrange; to adjust; also, to model by instruction and discipline; to mold by influence, etc.; to train...
Form n. [OE. & F. forme, fr. L. forma; cf. Skr. dhariman. Cf. Firm.]
1. The shape and structure of anything, as distinguished from the material of which it is composed; particular disposition or arrangement of matter, giving it individuality or distinctive character; configuration; figure; external appearance...
6. A shape; an image; a phantom...
14. (Metaphysics) That assemblage or disposition of qualities which makes a conception, or that internal constitution which makes an existing thing to be what it is; — called essential or substantial form, and contradistinguished from matter...

What that linked set of definitions is mainly intended to convey is that “information” derives from “form.” Starting from the noun “form,” we get the verb “to form,” meaning something like “to shape,” then “to inform,” which means “to shape the attitudes, opinions, beliefs, behaviour, etc.” Finally we get back to a noun, “information,” as “that which shapes attitudes, etc.”



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Last modified 04-Mar-2005 20:25:12 by Robin Faichney .