Information Definition

1. Set of facts, data, texts or codes collected about something or someone that generate new knowledge with a certain value for the receiver.

2. News of public interest communicated or received in written, oral or audiovisual form about a fact that involves an individual or a situation. It can be political, scientific, everyday, social, entertainment, etc. and trying to always be based on the reality of the facts.

3. Data used in different areas to name something innate or obtained. a) genetic information (biology); b) Judicial (criminal) investigation; c) Data of a process (law); d) Physical attention space to clear doubts.

Etymology: By the modes of Latin information, informationisformed over the prefix in- insofar as it alludes to inner knowledge, and formatio, formationonisfrom ‘formation’, constructed from the Latin term forma and the suffix -uncle, -ōnisin action-effect property.

Grammatical category: noun fem.
in syllables: information.


lilen gomez
Professor in Philosophy

The term information refers, on the one hand, to the action of shape to something (in-form), or, on the other hand, in its most common use, to the act of communicating knowledge or data about a certain fact, whose notion has been treated by many different disciplines, from Exact Sciences — for example, Biological Sciences, Physics or Computer Science—, to Social Sciences and Humanities. This is due to the relevance that the idea of ​​information has taken on for contemporary social life, to the extent that it crosses multiple dimensions of it. In current usage, the notion of information refers to news distributed by the press and other media.

The subjective approach to the concept of information

From the point of view of a subjective definition of information, it is characterized according to its role within the communication process between different actors. In this context, information is understood to be those data or knowledge considered relevant by a given recipient, thus modifying their state of ignorance or uncertainty regarding a certain issue. Such a conception of information is limited to a conceptualization of communication between human actors. This is called subjective because it studies information as a social phenomenon —part of the process by which people relate to their environments— which is why subjective factors intervene in it, such as beliefs, values, use of language, among others.

From the subjective approach, the information is interpreted in different ways. For example, it has been thought of as an event that constitutes a specific stage of the communication process between a sender and a receiver, linked to the reception of a message. It was also interpreted as any sign capable of modifying the structure of the current state of knowledge about the world of the receiver.

Information as an objective phenomenon

From the logical reasoning approach, information is considered an objective reality that, through a symbolic system, can be captured, stored and communicated by entities capable of processing said system, not necessarily humans. The phenomenon of information, from an objective point of view, is not considered a social fact, but a basic property of the universe itself.

The notion of information in philosophy

The Latin term informatio, whose meaning can be translated as “to shape matter”, has had a fundamental importance in the context of classical and medieval philosophy. The Aristotelian work already made reference to the idea of ​​informing while printing a form on the material, identifying the first with the soul and, therefore, with the highest. The Aristotelian ontology is then reinterpreted, in the medieval Christian context, by Thomas Aquinas. The philosopher distinguishes between informatio and creatio, to the extent that the Christian God, in creation, does not inform matter —unlike the Platonic demiurge—, but creates from nothing.

From modernity, the concept of information was thought from the point of view of communication between subjects. After the Second World War, with the emergence of Information Sciences, information theories acquired more and more weight in the social field. Currently, contemporary societies are described as information societies, based on the profound changes brought about by the new digital technologies.

Information became the basis of present societies, insofar as the control of population data —under phenomena such as Big Data— implies, today, the exercise of considerable power over the millions of individuals that make up. That is why, in turn, access to information has become a human right, understood both as the right to know public information related to government actions, and the right to access information transmitted by the media.



Marco, FJG (1998). The concept of information: A transdisciplinary approach I: Towards an objective definition. General magazine of information and documentation, 8(1), 303.

Fernandez-molina, JC (1994). Objective and subjective approaches to the concept of information. Spanish Journal of Scientific Documentation, 17(3), 320-331.

Capurro, R. (2020). Past, present and future of the notion of information. Ápeiron: Studies in Philosophy, (12), 9-35.

Rock, A.P. (2020). Information society, digital society, control society. Inguruak. Basque Journal of Sociology and Political Science, (68).