Scientific journal
European Journal of Natural History
ISSN 2073-4972

PUBLIC INFORMATION AND PUBLIC KNOWLEDGE

Goncharov V.N.
The necessity of revelation of correlation of public information and public knowledge is connected with the uncertainty in differentiation of concept "social information" and "knowledge´. It is marked in "Philosophic Encyclopedic Dictionary" that "information" (lat. information - introduction, explanation) - is a concept used in philosophy from ancient times and thanks to cybernetics got a new wider meaning in recent times, where it is one of the centre categories along with the concepts of relation and administration... The original understanding of information as data was till the middle of XX century...The development of the concept information in contemporary science has led to appearance of different ideological, especially philosophical interpretations (transcendent, in other words supernatural kind of information in neotheism; information as subjective phenomenon in neopositivism and existentialism")[1]. So as understanding of information is different, there are different criteria of delimitation depending on what meaning is put into concept "information".

Believing that such situation is due to unexacting use of informative approach, A.V. Sokolov marked several points of view on criteria of delimitation. "Another example of uncertainty, coming from incorrect use of informative approach, - A.V. Sokolov says, - may be an issue of delimitation of concepts "social information" and "knowledge", to which many social scientists applied". His suggested criteria of delimitation may be summed as followed:

  1. Information is an objective bioenergy process that is happening in society, machine or a life form and knowledge is a subjective resultant of conscience, something ideal. In this case, a question of knowledge objectification, in other words its transformation into information, remains open, otherwise other people can´t learn about ideal products, elaborated by subject´s conscience; it is also unclear how a recipient turns "objective" information into subjective content of his conscience.
  2. Information is knowledge in its communicative form, a way of knowledge delivery, moving knowledge. Here information is not a special, different from knowledge phenomenon, but designation of a certain condition of knowledge, like steam is an aggregative condition of water. Theoretically, strange to think, that knowledge itself is "not information", but it "turns into information" as soon as it´s used.
  3. Information is raw material to get knowledge, semi-product, and imitation of knowledge; in turn, data is semi-product of information. Thus, concepts data - information- knowledge are logically relative as concepts grain - flour- bread. But these logical relations are not criteria of delimitation, as any knowledge may be information, and any data is knowledge - a result of human experience.
  4. Semiotic handling of information is stated in two contrary, as it may seem, judgments: a) knowledge is information that got a new significant form; b) information is knowledge embodied in sign-oriented form. These judgments are compatible, as in first case cognitive process is meant and in the second - communicative process. But both they are not complete, as first keeps knowledge beyond sensual images, emotions, wishes that are not verbalized, and the second keeps information beyond the same.

So, there´s no clarity. The reason of the failure is incorrect approach: firstly, knowledge has been disguised as information, and then the two concepts were tried to be distinguished. Only one conclusion can be made out of these points of view: social information is knowledge, more precisely- knowledge´s pseudonyms as part of incorrect informative approach [2].

Stating these points of view, A.V.Sokolov doesn´t give clear answer to a question about correspondence of concerned concepts, as he believes, that information is just " artificially created intellectual construct, creation of informative approach", moreover the informative approach is primary and information is secondary [2]. The essence of informative approach, with the help of which A.V.Sokolov explains existence of different criteria of delimitation of "social information" and "knowledge", is that category "information" is inducted as "knowledge´s" pseudonym and the objects of study are considered through this category perspective.

But there´s a question: why has figment "information" and not "knowledge" found such a widespread use. A.V.Sokolov explains it in the following way. The thing is that informative approach in its incorrect condition carries the following useful functions:

A. Normative function: initially the word "information" has been used to name really existing things, for instance, "Scientific and Technical Information Service", "information officer", "information equipment". In this case "information" appears not as scientific concept, but as a name of a subject of specific kind.

B. Constructive function: engineers who construct and use information equipment perceive information as "working body", like liquid in hydraulics or current in electrotechnics, they don´t feel incorrectness of the perception (here signals and information are equal) and can´t give it up.

C. Descriptive- explicative function is often realized in natural and social sciences. Moreover, there´s a peculiar explanation of "unknown by unknown". For example, we know nothing about how memory, understanding, thinking really work, but we can intelligibly discuss these difficult psychic phenomena by instinctively comprehending the concepts of information: memory is information storage; understanding is information coding; thinking is information adaptation. Communication among people and animal indication, administration and relation in technical equipment and biological systems are especially successfully depicted by means of informative models. Here potential of generalization is realized, that is always present in a concept of information. We may say that in descriptive- explicative schemes of specific sciences information is not "a removed uncertainty" as it appears in mathematical model of information, but "a constant uncertainty", general scientific mental aid, with the help of which the ascension from relative to absolute truth is performed [2].

A.V.Sokolov distinguishes correct and incorrect informative approaches. Informative approach is a methodological principle of scientific cognition, which includes consideration of objects of study through information category perspective. Two models of informative approach use are real: correct, when information models and reality are separated from each other, and incorrect, when information is identified with real objects (signals, knowledge, reflectance property. structure). Incorrect approach is widespread used in science and practice as it may fulfill useful functions: nominative, constructive, descriptive- explicative.

Public spread of correct and incorrect informative approaches is explained by quantitative growth of communicative channels and growth of significance of social communications in industrial neoculture. The formation of a cycle of information sciences, which include family of informatics, is due to the same reason.

We should also mark that if we take into consideration the way A.V.Sokolov understands "information" (figment, pseudonym, knowledge), then both approaches appear incorrect. And the thing is that not what informative approach is used- correct or incorrect, but what is understood by information and how it differs from knowledge.

To learn in what correlation concepts "public information" and "public knowledge" are, we should learn what they have in common and what the difference is. For this, we should remember logical laws. In accordance with logics concepts may differ or coincide by such characteristics as volume, contents and level of abstraction.

What can be detached in common? Knowledge, the same as information, appears on the ground of sensual and rational forms of reflection; the same as information, knowledge gives data. Both concepts fixate the results of reflection. The concepts are the same by the volume of fixated fragment of reality. Therefore, differences are real only at levels of abstraction. As we´ve marked earlier, levels of abstraction are formed depending on what phenomena are fixated while concepts are formed. If concepts are formed by abstracting from objectively current things, then it is abstraction of first order. If the concept is formed from abstractive concepts of the first order, then it is abstraction of the second order. Abstraction of the second order can be formed from both abstraction from concepts of first order and from objectively current things, processes. Abstraction of the third order comes from formation of concepts from concepts of the second order and so on.

In logical form, knowledge is presented as specific summation of interdependent judgments about something or somebody. In public memory different knowledge is encoded in terms of gradually fixated judgments. The system of such judgments gives conceptual image, conceptual contents of concerned phenomena and happening to it changes. Concept "knowledge" corresponds to high level of abstraction from material and ideal reality, conceptual contents without human´s respective relation to it is fixated in it.

Concept "information" relates to higher level of abstraction in comparison to concept "knowledge". "Information" appears as a result of abstraction from concepts "knowledge", "needs", "interests" of a human. Substantial content of "knowledge" is fixated in concept "information", considering human´s relation to it. Concept "information" relates to a system of axiological concepts, judgments from the point of view of human´s needs, interests and wants are fixated in it. That´s why information is incentive. Reflecting the same reality fragment, concepts "information" and "knowledge" differ by the level of abstraction. On this basis, we may conclude that the same difference consists in concepts "public information" and "public knowledge".

Therefore, we come to the following conclusions:

  1. Uncertainty in correlation of "social information" and "knowledge" is connected with that "information" is given different meaning and there´s no analysis of the concepts within the limits of logical laws.
  2. Correlation of "public information" and "public knowledge" gets certainty by taking into account logical rules of concept formation. These concepts have something in common and differ at the same time.
  3. The following is in common. Public knowledge as well as public information appears on the ground of sensual and rational forms of reflection of reality. But differ by the levels of abstraction. Concept "public information" corresponds to a higher level of abstraction. Concept "public knowledge" corresponds to high level of abstraction from material and ideal reality, conceptual contents without human´s respective relation to it is fixated in it. Concept "public information" comes as a result of abstraction from concepts "public knowledge", "need", ‘interests" of a human and society. Concept "public information" relates to a system of axiological concepts, judgments from the point of view of needs and interests are fixated in it.

References

  1. Philosophical Encyclopedic Dictionary. - Moscow: INFRA-M, 2001
  2. Sokolov A.V. General Theory of Social Communication. - St. Petersburg. 2002

The work was submitted to international scientific conference « Basic and applied research. Education, economics and law», Italy (Rome, Florence), September 6-13, 2009. Came to the editorial office on 03.07.2009.