Past, present, and future of the concept of information

  • Rafael Capurro Steinbeis-Transfer-Institute Information Ethics (STI-IE)
Keywords: information, concept, history, message, informatio, angeletics


This text provides an overview of the complex history of the concept of information in the Greek-Latin as well as in the Medieval and Modern traditions. It connects the Latin etymology of the term informatio with the Greek concepts of eidos/idea and morphé and shows how the objective meaning of information (‘giving form to something’) becomes obsolete in modernity where only the communicational meaning (‘telling something (new) to someone’) remains. Information theories in the 20th Century are related to the development of technical systems of message transmission. They give rise to a renaissance of the objective notion of information but under a different framework as the one of the classic pre-modern philosophy. Establishing a connection between the concepts of information and message several options are presented leading to a concept of information based on a theory of messages.

Author Biography

Rafael Capurro, Steinbeis-Transfer-Institute Information Ethics (STI-IE)
Director of Steinbeis-Transfer-Institute Information Ethics (STI-IE)
Special Issue: What is Really Information? An Interdisciplinary Approach.