Information, Knowledge, Representation

  • Michael K. BergmanEmail author


Gregory Bateson defined information as the “difference that makes a difference.” Claude Shannon, the founder of information theory, emphasized the engineering aspect of information, defining it as a message or sequence of messages communicated over a channel; he specifically excluded meaning. C.S. Peirce emphasized meaning and related it to the triadic relationship between immediate object, representation, and interpretation. Depending on the context, information embraces all of these interpretations. Information also has a physical aspect, reflected through its structure. Peirce’s triad forms a sign and is the basis for the process of sign-making and understanding that he called semiosis. Three kinds of sign are indispensable in reasoning. The first is the diagrammatic icon, exhibiting similarity or analogy. The second is the index, like a pronoun or relative that forces attention to a particular object. The third is the symbolic name or description that signifies its object by means of an association of ideas or habitual connection. We associate knowledge and its discovery with terms such as open, dynamic, belief, judgment, interpretation, logic, coherence, context, reality, and truth. Peirce’s pragmatic view is that knowledge is fallible information that we believe sufficiently to act upon. I argue in this book that knowledge representation is a complete triadic sign, with the meaning of the information conveyed by its symbolic representation and context, as understood and acted upon by the interpreting agent. A challenge of knowledge representation is to find structured representations of information—including meaning—that can be simply expressed and efficiently conveyed.


Information Knowledge Knowledge representation Semiosis 


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Cognonto CorporationCoralvilleUSA

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