ANGELETICS - A MESSAGE THEORY

Rafael CAPURRO

Abstract


The Greek word angelia means message. We use the word angel with regard to a divine messenger. There is an old theological tradition dealing with the study of such messengers, namely angelology. Angeletics is different from angelology as it is concerned with the study of natural and particularly of human messages and messengers. This does not mean that the analysis of the religious phenomenon is irrelevant (Serres, 1993). Quite the contrary, it is a contribution to the study of production, distribution, interpretation, storage, and control of messages and messengers in premodern societies. Angeletics in a narrow sense belongs to the Humanities and Social Sciences and is closely related to rhetoric (McElholm, 2001; Capurro, 1992). In a wider sense it deals with the study of messages as a natural phenomenon. In the first part of this paper I will briefly refer to angeletics as an interdisciplinary theory (Capurro, 2003). The second part deals with some questions concerning the difference between messages at the organic and the human level. Some insights are based on the online discussions at the „Electronic Conference on the Foundations of Information Science” (FIS, 2002). The concepts of message and information are closely related (Capurro/Hjørland, 2003). The twofold meaning of the Latin term informatio as 'moulding matter' and 'moulding the mind', i.e., the ontological meaning and today's prevailing epistemological use of information as message communication gives prima facie rise to an analogy between human communication and the question of message transmission at the sub-human level. I will argue that the interpretation of life processes as angeletic ones can be considered in its own right, i.e., beyond the realm of an analogy. An interdisciplinary message theory can become the basis of a complex, non-reductive view of the manifold hierarchies of communication.

Keywords


angelia; information; angeletics; message; theory of communication

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