#
The General Theory of Information as a Unifying Factor for Information Studies: The Noble Eight-Fold Path^{ †}

^{†}

## Abstract

**:**

## 1. Introduction

- ❖ The axiomatic foundations
- ❖ The mathematical core
- ❖ The functional hull

## 2. Axiomatic Foundations of the General Theory of Information

- ✧ Principles describe and explain the essence and main regularities of the information terrain.
- ✧ Postulates are formalized representations of principles.
- ✧ Axioms describe mathematical and operational structures used in the general theory of information.

- ❖ Ontological principles explain the essence of information as a natural and artificial phenomenon.
- ❖ Axiological principles explain how to evaluate information and what measures of information are necessary.

- ◊ Substantial ontological principles (O1, O2 and its modifications O2g, O2a, O2c) define information.
- ◊ Existential ontological principles (O3, O4, O7) describe how information exists in the physical world [8].
- ◊ Dynamical ontological principles (O5, O6) show how information functions.

**Ontological**

**Principle**

**O1**

**Ontological**

**Principle**

**O2**

**Ontological**

**Principle**

**O2g**

**Ontological**

**Principle**

**O2a**

**Information is energy in the Platonic World of Ideas.**

**Ontological**

**Principle**

**O2c**

**Ontological**

**Principle**

**O3**

**Ontological**

**Principle**

**O4**

**Ontological**

**Principle**

**O5**

**Ontological**

**Principle**

**O6**

**Ontological**

**Principle**

**O7**

**Axiological**

**Principle**

**A1.**

**Axiological**

**Principle**

**A2.**

**Axiological**

**Principle**

**A3.**

**Axiological**

**Principle**

**A4.**

**Axiological**

**Principle**

**A5.**

**Axiological**

**Principle**

**A6.**

**Axiological**

**Principle**

**A7.**

## 3. The General Theory of Information as a Unifying Factor for Information Studies

**First**, the general theory of information gives a flexible, efficient and all-encompassing definition of information [1,15]. In contrast to other definitions and descriptions used before, this definition is parametric allowing specification of information in general, as well as information in any domain of nature, society and technology.

**Second**, the general theory of information explains and makes available constructive tools for discerning information, measures of information, information representations and carriers of information. For instance, taking a letter written on a piece of paper, we see that the paper is the carrier of information, the text on it is the representation of the information contained in this text and it is possible to measure the quantity of this information using Shannon entropy or algorithmic complexity.

**Third**, the general theory of information provides efficient mathematical models. There are models of three types: information algebras, operator models based on functional analysis and operator models based on category theory. Functional representations of information dynamics preserve internal structures of information spaces associated with infological systems as their state or phase spaces. Categorical representations of information dynamics display external structures of information spaces associated with infological systems. Algebraic representations of information dynamics maintain intermediate structures of information spaces. These models allow researchers to discover intrinsic properties of information.

**Fourth**, the general theory of information supplies methodological and theoretical tools for the development of measurement and evaluation technologies in information studies and information technology. Moreover, any science needs theoretical and practical means for making grounded observations and measurements. Different researchers in information theory have developed many methods and measures. The most popular of them are Shannon’s entropy [13] and algorithmic complexity [14]. The general theory of information unifies all these approaches opening new possibilities for building efficient methods and measures in areas where the currently used methods and measures are not applicable.

**Fifth**, the general theory of information offers organization and structuration of the system of all existing information theories.

**Sixth**, the general theory of information explicates the relevant relations between information, knowledge and data demonstrating that while knowledge and data are objects of the same type with knowledge being more advanced than data, information has a different type. These relations are expressed by the Knowledge-Information-Matter-Energy Square in Figure 1.

**information**is related to

**knowledge (data)**as

**energy**is related to

**matter**.

**Seventh**, the general theory of information rigorously represents static, dynamic and functional aspects and features of information. These features are modeled and explored by algebraic, topological and analytical structures of operators in functional spaces and functors in the categorical setting forming information algebras, calculi and topological spaces.

**Eighth**, the general theory of information explicates and elucidates the role of information in nature, cognition, society and technology clarifying important ontological, epistemological and sociological issues. For instance, this theory explains why popular but not exact and sometimes incorrect publications contain more information for people in general than advanced scientific works with outstanding results.

## Conflicts of Interest

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**MDPI and ACS Style**

Burgin, M. The General Theory of Information as a Unifying Factor for Information Studies: The Noble Eight-Fold Path. *Proceedings* **2017**, *1*, 164.
https://doi.org/10.3390/IS4SI-2017-04044

**AMA Style**

Burgin M. The General Theory of Information as a Unifying Factor for Information Studies: The Noble Eight-Fold Path. *Proceedings*. 2017; 1(3):164.
https://doi.org/10.3390/IS4SI-2017-04044

**Chicago/Turabian Style**

Burgin, Mark. 2017. "The General Theory of Information as a Unifying Factor for Information Studies: The Noble Eight-Fold Path" *Proceedings* 1, no. 3: 164.
https://doi.org/10.3390/IS4SI-2017-04044