Re: It don't mean a thing ...

From: x <>
Date: Wed, 2 Jun 2004 18:21:06 +0300
Message-ID: <>

  • Post for FREE via your newsreader at ****

"mAsterdam" <> wrote in message news:40bd0220$0$563$
> x wrote:
> [snipped parts, summary left:]
> > mAsterdam wrote:
> >><quote>
> >> Data on its own has no meaning, only
> >> when interpreted by some kind of data
> >> processing system does it take on
> >> meaning and become information.
> >></quote>
> >>Does it have a source?
> >>Is it bad?
> >
> > Let's see.
> > If we call data the typeless binary representation of a fact in some
> > computer memory, it has no meaning.
> > If we call data the typed binary representation of a fact in some
> > memory ("data" + "code"), it has some "meaning".
> Hmmm. Is a different 'type' creeping in here? 'Type' as set of possible
> values would not yet imply meaning, IMHO. 'fact' is more crucial it
> seems - do you need the binary rep?

About 'type'.
Not necessarily. To define the set of possible values one can use many methods.
Type could mean "similar pattern". It's just a method to define the set of possible values.
Another method is to define the set as the codomain of some operators. In The Third Manifesto a type is:

- a pattern (possible rep)
- a domain for some operators (THE_xxx operators)
- a codomain for some operators (the "constructors")
And there is a requirement for the 'domain' and the 'codomain' to be the same set.

About the binary rep.
I was trying to differentiate between data as fact in the 'real world' and data as a record on a medium of some fact in the 'real world'. I choosed binary computer memory.

About "meaning".
A typed "record" of a fact has some "meaning" IF you know the type system. You know something about it.
You can discriminate among "records" of different types.

> > If we call data the fact (that can be represented in some computer
> > then it has some "meaning".
> > Information has meaning.
> That is what the same site says about information. I have seen several
> definitions of information more to my liking, but let's keep focus, here.
> > How can we tell apart data and information ?
> > We can choose a definition of data that exclude meaning.
> Not necessary at all.
> > We can choose to say data and information are the same thing.
> Heh. Marketing guys do that all the time - if you can't beat them join
> them.
> > We can choose to differentiate data and information by some other
> Several:
> (1) new data to the receptor.
> (2) relevant to some decision or action.

How about:

          Data - the meaning is independent of the receptor Information - the meaning is dependent of the receptor

> > We can choose to differentiate meaning.
> >
> > Murphy law say that all of the above will happen (or already happened).
> In one system!
> > Let's take an example.
> > John and Mary are good friends.
> > Paul, the father of Mary, doesn't like John and forbidded John to visit
> > Mary.
> > Ann, the mother of Mary, has nothing against John visiting Mary in her
> > presence.
> > So Mary and her mother decided that John can visit Mary when Paul is not
> > home.
> > They agreed to put a blue flower in the window when Paul is not home and
> > other flower or none when Paul is home.
> >
> > The fact that "there is a blue flower in Mary's home window" is data for
> > Paul or anybody else except Ann, Mary and John.
> > The same fact is (valuable) information for John.
> >
> > What is the meaning of "there is a blue flower in Mary's home window" ?
> > This fact has a meaning for Paul ?
> Nice example.
> Yes it has meaning to Paul. What you are demonstrating here is that a
> signs can carry different sets of data, and that some data is relevant
> to decisions/actions.

The fact "there is a blue flower in Mary's home window" has meaning:

- it is a well formed English sentence (or not :-)
- it is not an absurd sentence.
- it happen to describe an event in the "real world"
- everybody know its "meaning" : there is some home with a window, blue
flower, person called Mary, etc.
but nothing more.

The fact "there is a blue flower in Mary's home window" means "there is a blue flower in Mary's home window" .
Similarly the fact "Paul is not home" means "Paul is not home" to almost anybody. But to John it means "I can visit Mary".


Received on Wed Jun 02 2004 - 17:21:06 CEST

Original text of this message