Dear FIS colleagues,
Knowledge is a wide and interesting subject as applied to us humans. But what 
about knowledge in the world of animals ?
What about an evolutionary approach to knowledge that takes into account 
simpler forms of knowledge management as existing in animals ? 
We Humans can consciously manage knowledge. But the performance of human 
consciousness does not imply that knowledge is absent in animals. We also 
manage knowledge unconsciously.
And knowledge is a personal and social construction. It is a tool we use all 
the time in our everyday life to satisfy various constraints. For finding our 
way in a city as well as for doing math. We acquire and use knowledge 
automatically as well as consciously by introspection. But the difference is 
more about complexity than about nature. In both cases we manage meaningful 
information for some purpose. 
Animals also have constraints to satisfy, the key one being to stay alive. Most 
animals miss a conscious self to be in a position of conscious introspection 
(perhaps some of our cousins like chimpanzee or bonobo have a minimum sense of 
conscious self that allow them a minimum of introspection). 
So I feel that the concept of knowledge deserves being addressed in an 
evolutionary background in order to allow a bottom-up approach highlighting 
simpler cases than human one (just to work as long as possible without the 
“hard problem”, and bring it back in explicitly later). Animals are submitted 
to constraint satisfaction processes as we humans are (with different 
constraints coming in addition). So the foundations of knowledge look to me as 
constraint satisfaction driven.
Such a bottom-up approach allows to bridge knowledge with meaning generation, 
and perhaps what is available for the latter can be used for the former 
Following the same thread, let me tell you also about an extension of the 
notion of meaningful information to the one of meaningful representation. It is 
proposed that a meaningful representation of an entity for an agent submitted 
to constraints is the network of meanings relative to that entity. These 
networks of meanings contain the dynamic aspect of meaning generation with the 
consequences of implemented actions, as well the action scenarios with past 
experiences or simulations making available anticipation performances. We are 
far from the GOFAI types of representations. Such meaningful representations 
are interactive and imbed the agent in its environment (more on this at
To echo Jose Maria, we could consider that meaningful information and 
representations are somehow ‘nourishing’ knowledge.
All the best
> Date: Tue, 6 Oct 2009 12:32:46 +0200
> From:
> To:
> Subject: [Fis] Fw: Definition of Knowledge? (FIS Digest, Vol 530, Issue 1)
> ---------- Mensaje reenviado ----------
> De: Rafael Capurro <>
> Fecha: 6 de octubre de 2009 02:28
> Asunto: Re: [Fis] Definition of Knowledge? (FIS Digest, Vol 530, Issue 1)
> Para: José María Díaz Nafría <>
> dear jose maria and fis colleagues,
> greetings from japan
> I very much agree with pedro's suggestions about naturalizing the
> concept of knowledge i.e. of not reducing it to the propositional
> traditional (platonic and partly arisotelian) concept (as suggested
> also by floridi building a hierarchy where the top is propositional
> scientific knowledge). the concept of implicit knowldge or
> fore-knowledge in hermeneutic terms is a key issue that links in some
> way the 'typical' human propositional knowledge with knowledged in
> non-human agents. we should diversify our concepts and avoid
> hierarchical and dogmatic human-centered views also through a classic
> connection of data becoming information becoming knowledge, where
> 'becoming' is some kind of black box that explains nothing.
> kind regards
> rafael
> Zitat von José María Díaz Nafría <>:
> > Dear FIS colleagues:
> >
> > I apologize for being so quiet, considering the interesting topics
> > arisen with the occasion of our proposal to the COST open call of past
> > March, which we thank once again. This proposal as revisited by FIS
> > came to coincide in time with a call for themes proposal by the
> > European Science Foundation (Eurocores Theme Proposal), which we also
> > presented with a short timing. We may not succeed in the first
> > attempt, but anyhow it aims at opening a new scientific topic in the
> > ESF. If the proposed theme were selected, new projects in the
> > delimited field (well fitted to FIS interests) from any European state
> > could be presented to joint the research network. I say that, to
> > justify our silence in the FIS arena, while we were actually working
> > on it, although in the background. Afterwards, it was too late to
> > answer, when already other issues were under discussion… To keep on
> > the argument thread of our COST essays: we were not among the few
> > selected proposals, but were given reasons to hope and reworked the
> > proposal and applied again one week ago. About the theme proposal for
> > Eurocores, we do not have any evaluation yet.
> >
> > Even if I am not answering straight forward Pedro’s words, I feel that
> > we should let FISers know our efforts in finding new cooperative
> > research scenarios within the realm of FIS interests. Now taking back
> > Pedro’s proposal of discussion about knowledge: on the one hand, I
> > cordially thank Pedro’s initiative of bringing to this outstanding
> > stage a part of our elucidation; on the other hand, before saying
> > something about the topic, I feel the need to set the context were the
> > strive for this definition take place, which also implies giving a
> > general idea about BITrum project (see
> > <>),
> > where we pursue an interdisciplinary approach to the information
> > concept from a maximally open perspective, aiming at the mutual
> > understanding of all the concerned points of view. As you may see in
> > the given link, one of the main means to get such a mutual
> > understanding is a glossary of concepts, metaphors, theories and
> > problems concerning information. At the first stage, it should help in
> > the definition of working teams, while in following stages it may
> > become an arena of discussion about particular issues, a reference of
> > specific themes and crystallization of both research (within working
> > teams) and consensus.
> > Hence, the elucidation itself will be somehow reflected in this
> > glossary, which edition has already started and its first public
> > version -although very incomplete- will see the light at the end of
> > this year.
> >
> > Although BITrum members are committed to feed the glossary, any
> > interested author is wellcomed to contribute. The managing schema of
> > the glossary includes: 1) a coordination board for glossary edition;
> > 2) an editor per article, who takes over the integration of every
> > contribution to such voice in a non redundant and rather systematic
> > article; 3) any other may contribute, as author or coauthor, with
> > entries, which will be afterwards integrated by the editor in an
> > article.
> > As an example, Pedro is editor of the voices: “Action-perception
> > cycle”; “Cognit”; “Foundations of Information Science”; “Knowledge
> > recombination”. Other FISers, like Rafael Capurro, Wolfgang
> > Hofkirchner or Peter Fleissner also contribute as editors of other
> > voices.
> >
> > After having given a general picture of the glossary and the projects
> > where it is a main axis, I feel free to go to the settled discussion
> > about knowledge, in which I contributed with the following entry to
> > the voice (I do not bring the other two entries to this voice, since
> > they are still in Spanish):
> >
> > * * * KNOWLEDGE * * *
> > NOTE: “>[voice]” denotes that such voice is developed among glossary voices.
> >
> > From the most viewpoints regarding information and knowledge, the
> > relationships between these two concepts are close, especially as far
> > as the common use of both terms is concerned. As a rule, the position
> > of information is lower than that of knowledge, with information
> > somehow ‘nourishing’ knowledge. Nevertheless, this connection is
> > ignored in case of a radical syntactic vision, where the problem of
> > the relationship is avoided to address only its technical dimension
> > (as in the >Mathematical Theory of Communication), or also from a
> > radical pragmatic point of view, in which only what-is-being-done is
> > called into question. If that were the case, information is just
> > considered as a mere instrument of the action and, therefore, the
> > problem of whether information refers to objects is ignored (be it in
> > terms of whether we are dealing with a correct perception or if it is
> > known that p is the case).
> >
> > Although conceptions of knowledge are and have been very different,
> > such as for the opinions regarding its definition, possibility, basis
> > or its modes, we can say that two fundamental models have prevailed:
> > the iconic one, according to which knowledge is an accurate picture
> > (of mental nature) of the object of knowledge, and the propositional
> > model, whereby knowledge is a real proposition. The problems of the
> > iconic model, where perception and apprehension play a key role, lies
> > in the specification of the limits between object and subject, as well
> > as in the explanation of non-iconic knowledge (such as logical,
> > mathematical and relational “truths”). However, in the propositional
> > model, where the scientific statement plays an exemplary role, the
> > inevitable circle, which comprises the justification of knowledge,
> > becomes problematic (>Gödel´s incompleteness theorem). But, whatever
> > the model of representation, there would be a difference between
> > knowledge and a true opinion, insofar as only that one knows how to
> > justify himself (although its justification is only partial or
> > problematic).
> >
> > According to what is said, it is clear that in all those ideas on
> > information in which semantic dimension is considered, its link with
> > knowledge must appear. Normally, a more analytic concept for
> > information is adopted and a more synthetic one for knowledge, as well
> > as a bigger proximity to the object on the part of the information and
> > to the subject on the part of knowledge.
> >
> > For >Dretske “knowledge is belief produced by information”, and belief
> > always relates to a background of knowledge. From a naturalistic
> > perspective, in which a casual dependence occurs among the internal
> > states of a living being and external conditions, information for
> > Dretske creates experience (sensory representations) and causes
> > beliefs (cognitive experiences), which underlie the sedimentation of
> > knowledge.
> >
> > According to Floridi’s semantic approach, knowledge is constituted in
> > terms of justifiable semantic information, i.e. information
> > constitutes the elements for further inquiry. In its turn, information
> > is the result of a data modelling process, which unlike the Dretske’s
> > naturalistic assumption does not necessarily represent the intrinsic
> > nature of the studied system (or is not necessarily directly linked to
> > it by a causal chain), instead, it will depend on the development of
> > the data by knowledge. In turn, the data are conceived as resources
> > and restrictions that allow for the construction of information.
> > Therefore, one can say that Floridi proposes an architectural
> > relationship between knowledge, information and data, where the first
> > one is situated on the summit and the data on the base. At the same
> > time, and as a result of this interrelationship, he replaces the
> > requirement of truth of Dretske (who also endorses the situational
> > semantic theory) by a requirement of truthfulness, so that instead of
> > searching for a correspondence between the statement and the content
> > of the information, a correspondence is rather being sought between
> > what is reported and the informant.
> >
> > In the >Unified Theory of Information, knowledge is constituted by
> > means of interpreting the data (or assigning meaning), which, in turn,
> > is the basis for decision-making that makes up “practical wisdom”. In
> > this case, we are talking about different levels of information rather
> > than a dependency relationship, so that information is gradually
> > processed: first, at the syntactic or structural level, then at the
> > semantic or state level, and, finally, at the pragmatic or behavioural
> > level. The information processing is performed by means of
> > interrelationship between the adjacent strata and not in terms of a
> > casual progression (as in Dretske’s naturalism).
> >
> > * * *
> > Sorry if it was too long:  I just wanted, besides contributing to
> > Pedro’s opened discussion, to show how we are developing the glossary,
> > to which all of you are very kindly invited. I thank again Pedro for
> > giving us this opportunity.
> >
> > Best regards to all,
> >
> > José María Díaz Nafría
> > BITrum project Coordination board
> > Universidad Alfonso X el Sabio
> > Madrid (Spain)
> >
> >
> >
> >> Date: Thu, 01 Oct 2009 18:16:12 +0200
> >> From: "Pedro C. Marijuan" <>
> >> Subject: [Fis] Definition of Knowledge?
> >> To: fis <>
> >>
> >> Dear FISers,
> >>
> >> I was asked several months ago, in the context of the Leon conference
> >> (BITrum & interdisciplinary elucidation of the information concept, last
> >> June) to participate in the definition of some info-related concepts.
> >> "Knowledge" was one of them (if I am not wrong). After some trials I
> >> have realized that the task is outside the bounds of my competence
> >> --except in a rather trivial, anthropomorphic sense, one gets caught in
> >> regressions almost inevitably... Maybe one has to take care
> >> simultaneously of the whole lot of basic characteristics pertaining to
> >> informational entities ("concepts" included...). Well, sorry to the Leon
> >> colleagues that I have failed to fulfill the compromise, but I think
> >> there is interesting discussion to be advanced  behind it.
> >>
> >> best
> >>
> >> Pedro
> >>
> >> PS. We are starting the firs steps in the neurodynamic central theory
> >> proyect (NCT). Interested parties might have openings yet, contact Fivos
> >> Panetsos ( and me (
> >
> > _______________________________________________
> > fis mailing list
> >
> >
> >
> --
> Prof. Dr. Rafael Capurro
> Hochschule der Medien (HdM) - Stuttgart Media University, Wolframstr. 32
> 70191 Stuttgart, Germany
> Private: Redtenbacherstr. 9, 76133 Karlsruhe, Germany
> E-Mail:;
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> Information Ethics Senior Fellow, 2007-2008, Center for Information Policy
> Research, School of Information Studies, UW-Milwaukee, USA
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