The following articles
were published in the year 2000 in The
International Information & Library Review, Volume 32,
Numbers 3-4, Sept/Dec. as a response to my keynote at the EEI21
Symposium (The Ethics of Electronic Information in the 21st Century
Symposium, Memphis, USA, 2000): "Ethical Challenges of the
Information Society in the 21st Century"
Capurro and the Challenge of Information Ethics (277-282)
"Media conglomerates and
the church in earlier times were at the top of a hierarchy that
distributed messages to the masses. In the networked society, such a
hierarchy which is challenged and may be radically displaced by
dialogical media, each person can be creator, producer, distributor and
receiver of messages. Rather than a pyramidal structure for the
distribution of media, a horizontal one has emerged, thanks to the
Internet. And for this reason, Professor Capurro advocates a new
science of angeletics, not derived from some supposed incorporeal
beings, but whose roots are related to the messages (angelía in
Greek) that were conveyed between gods and men (by the poets or god of
messages, Hermes, from which hermeneutics is derived).
Professor Capurro's use
of angeletics embraces a decidedly secular meaning. Martha Montague
Smith, in her response to Professor Capurro's paper, embellishes on the
theme of the science of angeletics, seeing it a historically grounded
and a unifying the disparate information disciplines. For Capurro, it
could act as a productive way for seeing the discourse(s) of the
information society, not only with regard to the different kinds of
messages (sociological, esthetic) that are deployed in systems, but
also with respect to power elites, information moralities and ethical
discourses derived from the message practices of the information
Martha M. Smith: A
Prologue to Angeletics: A Response to Rafael Capurro and Suggestions
for a Research Agenda (283-289)
the science of
messages and messengers, Angeletics has much appeal. As a term,
Angeletics may sound like an invitation to study angels and the divine
real, a theological endeavor. That is not Capurro's intention. Rather,
he seeks to focus attention not on the divine butr on the human and the
approaches that the human sciences, the social sciences, might bring to
phenomena of message making and message sharing. Capurro's interest is
to find unifying ways to understand information and its role in human
life and global society.
roots in relation to current issues, Capurro asks if there is help to
be found in the study of the message.
is the relationship between the message and the messenger?
- Is the
meaning in the medium of the message?
content and form separate?
form and content be separated in order to understand how knowledge is
created, transmitted, and used?
is the relationship between hermeneutics and Angeletics? Could
hermeneutics be said to dealwith the interpretation of the message or
messenger in the aftermath of delivery and prior to another
are the practices of message creation, dissemination, storage,
retrieval, evaluation, and utilization? How do these practices shape
the interfacing activity?
are the messengers in these practices? What are the technologies of
the question he raises offer a rich agenda for further research.
For example, Angeletics
can cast new light on the collected wisdom of traditional academic
disciplines, from established fields of study such as:
- World History as Message, Great Messengers;
and Literature - Etymological Roots of the term Message in All
Languages; Message Mediation in Literary Genres, Reader Response
Criticism and Message Reception;
Music, Dance, Film - Messengers and Imagination;
Chemistry and Biology - DNA Messengers;
- Robot Messengers;
Psychology, Political Science, Economics - The Social, Psychological,
etc. Aspects of Messages and Messengers.
gained can be used to build the conceptual foundations of Angeletics.
There are similarities to the agenda of social epistemology as
described in 1967 by Jesse Shera (Shera, J. (1967): The sociological
foundations of librarianship. Sarada Ranganathan lectures, 3. New York.
Asia Publishing House) and by Steve Fuller in 1988 (Fuller, S. (1988):
Social epistemology, Bloomington. Indiana University Press.), both of
whom see the structures and uses of knowledge and knowledge
transmission a keys to understanding social institutions and human life.
While shifting away from
a preocupation with the term "information", with all its problematic
conceptual ambiguities, Angeletics probes the depths of another
etymological river and its tributaries. Angeletics also moves in the
direction of studying the processes of message transfer, at the
interface as well as before and after. It heightens the role of the
transaction, the mediation - the interface, and the mediator - human,
print, electronic, cyberspatial/cyberspacial, bricks and mortal.
Angeletics does not ignore definition and the value of asking
ontological, epistemological, and theological questions. The nature of
the message and its goal or purpose are important.
go in the direction of
critical theory, other questions might arise. For example:
interests do they represent?
determines the content and the delivery form of the messages?
receives which messages?
receives messages first? Last?
any receivers excluded?
To stretch a bit beyond
the present discussion into potential uses for Angeletics in knowledge
organization and management. Could it be that the agenda for Angeletics
might be expanded into specific domain areas, drawing from academic,
professional, and popular discourse communities and their practices of
knowledge creation. Are the styles, methods, practices and content
domains sufficiently different to justify analysis? To plat common
elements and patterns as well as disticntive characteristics? Could
this be another approach to building controlled vocabularies for
information retrieval and domain specific portals to serve particular
user communities on the Web? For example, could there be American
studies angeletics? Business angeletics? Engineering angeletics?
Environmental angeletics? Medical angeletics? Historial angeletics?
Biblical angeletics? Medieval angeletics? If the goal of abstract
conceptual analysis is to provide a unifying foundation for life in the
real world, then angeletics analysis may be the key. We are all
creatures of messages and messengers ourselves. How can we unite to
understand each other and peacefully separate to preserve identity,
unique communities, and accomplish the tasks of life?
contribution by suggesting Angeletics as a new field of study
challenges scholars to think of other historical and philosophical
streams that may converge into a better broading understanding for
practicing the art of living as Digital Cosmopolitans. While specific
etymological traditions can enlighten research, they also should not
constrain contemporary enquiry. Angeletics, tempting us to explore
messengers and messages in the realms of art and imagination, may open
our eyes to images, sound, and experiences as well as in our electronic
and print texts. Where this may lead is the next challenge." (283-289)
Willard McCarthy, Centre for Computing in the Humanities, King's College
London Humanist Discussion Group, vol. 17, 469: "information"
Tadashi Takenouchi, Leslie M. Tkach Kawasaki, Toshikazu Iitaka: On Hermeneutics, Angeletics,
and Information Technology: Questions and Tentative Answers
Development of Hermeneutic Information Science (Ph.D.)
Siehe auch ders.: Hermeneutic Information Studies of Rafael Capurro.
Ethos of the Information Society and the Development of 'Angeletics'.
2003, No. 951, 89-99.
Hans H. Diebner: Operational Hermeneutics and Communication. In:
Hans H. Diebner, Lehan Ramsay (Eds.): Hierarchies of Communication. ZKM
/ Center for Art and Media, Karlsruhe 2003, 30-57.
this paper we make
some cautious steps towards a cybernetics model for a system of coupled
agends, i.e., a communication system, and the gain of knowledge. Each
agent per-/re-ceives 'messages'  from the environment / medium (15),
whereby the latter as well as the agents' own actions and locomotion,
are to be optimized under consideration of the given constraints. In
other words, we formulate a model of how brains model the world
and compute strategies therewith.
Fernando Flores pointed in a convincing way towards a connection
between computer science and hermeneutics . In the following we
develop on their work bridging the gap between cybernetics and
hermeneutics (Fig. 1). Our hermeneutic stance has also been fruitfully
influenced by the works of Ichiro Tsuda, Peter Erdi, and Rafael Capurro
We feel certain, that the
art of interpretation, specifically the 'hermeneutics circle' manifests
itself also in the methodology of sciences with the Bayesean inference
principle as a prominent representative. The hermeneutic circle
describes the evolution of knowledge by anticipating the whole,
experiencing the part, therewith re-think the whole and so on.
Likewise, the Bayesean inference principle and other so-called
boots-trapping methods are constructed so as update given knowledge"
Winograd and Fernando
prefer to use the term medium
to emphasize the fact that the brain and the environment in which it is
embeded are not strictly separable due to Maturana's autopoiesis.
Rafael Capurro, Angeletics. This issue.
 Terry Winograd and Fernando Flores, Understanding Computers and Cognition - A
New Foundation for Design. Addison-Wesley, Reading, Mass., 14th edition, 1999.
Peter Érdy and Ichiro Tsuda. Hermeneutic approach tothe brain:
process versus device? Theoria et
Historia Scientiarum, VI: 307- 321, 2002.
Capurro and B. Hjørland. The concept of
information. In B. Cronin, editor, Annual Review of Information Science and
Technology, volume 37, pages 343-411. Medford, New Jersey, 2003.
Tadashi Takenouchi: Capurro's
Hermeneutic Approach to Information Ethics: Ethos in the Information
Society and the Development of "Angeletics". In: International Review of
Information Ethics (IRIE)
Capurro's Hermeneutic Approach to Information Ethics: Ethos in the
Information Society and the Development of "Angeletics". In: International
Review of Information Ethics (IRIE)
Cardoso de Castro: Capurro's
hermeneutic approach to information ethics, Tadashi Takenouchi
Information Science: Rafael Capurro's Responses to Chaim Zins
Beata Sirowy: Understanding
the Information Society: The Potentials of Phenomenological Approach.
Eckardt (Ed.): Media and Urban Space: understanding, investigating and
approaching mediacity, Berlin: Frank & Timme, 2008, 45-64.
is a philosophical current with a considerable tradition, it still
proves its pertinence being in the center of interests of many
contemporary thinkers. The influence of phenomenology has not been as
wide-spread as post-structural thought, but what is important –
phenomenological hermeneutics is currently seen as one of possible
conceptual directions after postmodernism (Madison 1997 & Capurro
Capurro, R. (2003). On Hermeneutics, Angeletics, and Information
Techology. Questions and Tentative Answers. http://www.capurro.de/tsukuba.html
Madison, G.B.(1992). The Hermeneutics of Postmodernity and After. http://www.focusing.org/agm_papers/madison.html
translation by Mohammad Khandan.
In Journal of Librarianship. A Quarterly Journal on Academic
Librarianship. Vol. 39 (Spring & Summer) 2009, pp. 77-93. [This is
a Persian journal published by the Central Library and Documentation
Center of Tehran University, Tehran, Iran].