structural, referential and normative information

Information and Culture 3 (56):303-322 (2021)
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This article provides a comprehensive conceptual analysis of information. It begins with a folk notion that information is a tripartite phenomenon: information is something carried by signals about something for some use. This suggests that information has three main aspects: structural, referential, and normative. I analyze the individually necessary and jointly sufficient conditions for defining these aspects of information and consider formal theories relating to each aspect as well. The analysis reveals that structural, referential, and normative aspects of information are hierarchically nested and that the normative depends on the referential, which in turn depends on the structural.

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Liqian Zhou
Shanghai Jiao Tong University


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