Instantiation of information

Mario Vaneechoutte (
Fri, 14 Nov 1997 18:36:00 -0800

Message-Id: <>
Date: Fri, 14 Nov 1997 18:36:00 -0800
From: Mario Vaneechoutte <>
Subject: Instantiation of information

Mark Mills wrote:
> Mario,
> >May I refer again to what Luc Claeys has to say about this.
> >He writes about 'instantiations of information'
> I've scanned the Claeys material. I did not find anything that addressed
> the process issues regarding 'information storage' which Ton raised.
> Ton's premise that 'information can never be stored' is very thought
> provoking.
> Going to my dictionary, I've discovered 'Information' is defined to mean
> 'the act of informing' or 'knowledge gathered in any way.' 'Inform'
> means to 'give form.' Thus, 'information storage' is defined to mean
> 'storing the act of giving form.' Alternatively, since 'knowledge' means
> 'the clear and certain perception of that which exists,' 'information
> storage' can be translated to mean 'storage of true perceptions.'
> I doubt that we can store 'acts' or 'perceptions.' At best we can store
> reminders to act or perceive.
> As to 'instantiation,' it seems to mean 'Producing a more defined version
> of some object by replacing variables with values (or other variables).'
> In this context, 'instantiation of information' would me 'producing a
> more defined version of an act of giving form by replacing unknowns with
> knowns.'
> I use the term 'information storage' regularly, but Ton is quite right to
> assert that all that is 'stored' is a 'carcass' or 'reminder' of
> information. Off hand, it seems both 'information storage' and
> 'instantiation of information' are code words for some unique meaning
> rather than understandable usages of the words 'information,' 'storage'
> and 'instantiation.'

Dear Mark

A tough topic indeed. We should ask cybernetics people, semiotics
people, information theorists and other weirdos about it (and understand
even less after they explained!).

I understand it like this: Instantiation of information might be a
better term than storage of information. When one claims to store
information, he/she in facts stores the instantiations of information. A
book is instantiated information. And therefore you can store books, but
indeed not information. Again it is language which causes troubles.
Instead of using the shorthand expression by saying that we store
information, we should say that we store instantiated information.
Instantiation happens in our minds, by writing, etc. I would call it
also 'encoding' of information into a coded language, which requires
decoding before the information can be interpreted and transmitted

Is this a satisfactory explanation to you?

Mario Vaneechoutte
Laboratory Bacteriology & Virology
Blok A, De Pintelaan 185
University Hospital Ghent
Belgium 9000 Ghent
Tel: +32 9 240 36 92
Fax: +32 9 240 36 59

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