Knowledge, Information and Data

JANUARY 13, 2005


I propose the following hierarchy: data -- information -- knowledge. Where items in one category are refined and filtered in the process of going to the next.

Short Quotes

Information is not knowledge. Knowledge is not wisdom. Wisdom is not truth. Truth is not beauty. Beauty is not love. Love is not music. Music is the best.

Source: Frank Zappa, Album: Joe's Garage, Track: Packard Goose

Where is the wisdom we have lost in knowledge?
Where is the knowledge we have in information?

Source: T.S. Eliot Choruses from The Rock

Information and Knowledge

Information may be defined as data relating to states of the world and the state-contingent consequences that follow from events in the world that are either naturally or socially caused. The total set of data is closed in that there is a closed set of states and consequences.


.... Following the philosopher Dretske (1982), the tight coupling [between information and knowledge] may be expressed in the following way: information is a commodity that is capable of yielding knowledge; and knowledge is identified with information-produced (or sustained) belief. As this formulation makes clear, the line of causation is from information to knowledge. Knowledge is processed information. [emphasis added]

Fransman, Martin in dosi_ea_1998, p. 148-149