The 7th International Conference Buddhism & Australia
Chinese Buddhist Encyclopedia Illustrations
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Information, in its most restricted technical sense, is a sequence of symbols that can be interpreted as a message. Information can be recorded as signs, or transmitted as signals. Information is any kind of event that affects the state of a dynamic system. Conceptually, information is the message (utterance or expression) being conveyed. The meaning of this concept varies in different contexts. Moreover, the concept of information is closely related to notions of constraint, communication, control, data, form, instruction, knowledge, meaning, understanding, mental stimuli, pattern, perception, representation, and entropy.
The English word was apparently derived from the Latin stem (information-) of the nominative (informatio): this noun is derived from the verb "informare" (to inform) in the sense of "to give form to the mind", "to discipline", "instruct", "teach": "Men so wise should go and inform their kings." (1330) Inform itself comes (via French informer) from the Latin verb informare, which means to give form, or to form an idea of. Furthermore, Latin itself already contained the word informatio meaning concept or idea, but the extent to which this may have influenced the development of the word information in English is not clear.
The ancient Greek word for form was μορφή (morphe; cf. morph) and also εἶδος (eidos) "kind, idea, shape, set", the latter word was famously used in a technical philosophical sense by Plato (and later Aristotle) to denote the ideal identity or essence of something (see Theory of Forms). "Eidos" can also be associated with thought, proposition, or even concept.
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