Dissecting the General Definition of Information (GDI)

According to the General Definition of Information (GDI), X is an instance of information, understood as semantic content if and only if (1) X consists of n data, for n >= 1 (2) the data are well-formed (3) the well-formed data are meaningful. So information is made of data, whose nature is itself an interesting topic. ‘Well-formed’ here means that the data are composed according to the rules (syntax) governing the chosen system in question and ‘meaningful’ means that the well-formed data comply with the meanings (semantics) of the chosen system. All this seems straightforward enough, though it does raise some questions.

Is it possible to have data that is meaningful but not well-formed? If not, then condition (3) renders condition (2) redundant and this definition is basically saying that information = data + meaning. On the other hand, a stipulation of (2) would rule out counting something like the string ‘bananas green are not ripe’ (String1) as information in the English language, because it is not well-formed, even though it could be meaningful to a semantic agent. In such a case, String1 could perhaps be considered as a piece of data that can be mapped to the information ‘green bananas are not ripe’. At any rate, I think that the point to be extracted from this is that ultimately factual semantic information can be identified with propositions.

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