A Message Theory 

Rafael Capurro


This paper was presented at the symposium: "Hierarchies of Communication. An inter-institutional and international symposium on aspects of communication on different scales and levels"  organized by Center for Art and Media (ZKM) Karlsruhe, Germany and Future University - Hakodate (FUN), Hakodate, Japan, July 4-6, 2003. Organizers: Hans H. Diebner (ZKM) and Lehan Ramsay (FUN). (PowerPoint). It was published in: Hans H. Diebner, Lehan Ramsay (Eds.): Hierarchies of Communication. An inter-institutional and international symposium on aspects of communication on different scales and levels. ZKM - Center for Art and Media, Karlsruhe, Germany July 4-6, 2003. Karlsruhe: Verlag ZKM (2003), 58-71. See also: Rafael Capurro & John Holgate (eds.): Messages and Messengers. Angeletics as an Approach to the Phenomenology of Communication. München: Fink 2011.



I. Angeletics as an Interdisciplinary Theory 
II. Angeletics at the Crossroad of Hermeneutics and Biology 




This paper deals with some questions concerning the concept of message at different levels, particularly as a specific human phenomenon as well as a phenomenon of non-human living organisms. I argue that we need an interdisciplinary approach to this phenomenon. I use the word angeletics, derived from Greek angelia, i.e., message, as a possible name for this science dealing with the production, distribution, interpretation, storage, and control of messages and messengers. Angeletics in a narrow sense belongs to the Humanities and Social Sciences. In a wider sense it deals with the study of messages as a natural phenomenon. The first part of the paper deals with the conceptual foundations of angeletics as an interdisciplinary theory. In the second part I develop some thoughts about the difference between message at the human and non-human levels and I deal particularly with the relation between angeletics and hermeneutics. 


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 pre-modern 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.  

I. Angeletics as an Interdisciplinary Theory

Claude Shannon's theory of communication (Shannon 1948) is not a theory about information transmission but about message transmission. Shannon uses the term 'message' instead of 'information' in its usual meaning as 'knowledge communicated'. The concept of information within this theory refers to the number of binary choices in order to create or codify – a message. In reality – as it was conceived an applied – the theory is about signal transmission and the ways in which to make it more reliable. Shannon correlates information and uncertainty, as opposed to the everyday meaning of information. The semantic and pragmatic aspects are excluded from this engineering perspective of communication. Warren Weaver found Shannon's definition of information as counterintuitive (Shannon/Weaver 1972). But Shannon had indeed substituted the everyday meaning by using the word message. 

Message and information are related but not identical concepts: 

  • a message is sender-dependent, i.e. it is based on a heteronomic or asymmetric structure. This is not the case of information: we receive a message, but we ask for information,
  • a message is supposed to bring something new and/or relevant to the receiver. This is also the case of information,
  • a message can be coded and transmitted through different media or messengers. This is also the case of information,
  • a message is an utterance that gives rise to the receiver's selection through a release mechanism or interpretation. 
Following Luhmann we make a difference between message ("Mitteilung") i.e., the action of offering something (potentially) meaningful to a social system ("Sinnangebot"), information ("Information") i.e. the process of selecting meaning from different possibilities offered by a message, and understanding ("Verstehen") i.e., the integration of the selected meaning within the system, as the three dimensions of communication within social systems (Luhmann 1987: 196). 

Messages can be of imperative, indicative or optional nature. A human sender, an individual or a group, may believe to have a message for everybody and for all times and vice versa, someone may think everything is a message to him/her. Between these two poles there are several possible hierarchies. In order to select or interpret a message the receiver must have some kind of common pre-understanding with the sender of the message, for instance a similar form or (linguistic) code. 

What kind of specific criteria can be postulated by a message theory concerning the way a sender, a medium and a receiver of messages should act in order to be successful under finite conditions? By finite conditions I mean that neither the sender, nor the messenger, nor the receiver have any kind of certainty that their actions will fit the ideal situation in which: 

  • a sender addresses a receiver, sending him/her a message that is new and relevant for him/her, i.e., he/she follows the principle of respect,
  • a messenger brings the message undistorted to the receiver, i.e., he/she follows the principle of faithfulness,
  • a receiver reserves judgement, based on a process of interpretation, about whether that the message is true or not, i.e., he/she follows the principle of reservation.
Messages can be studied according to their form, content, goal, producers, and recipients. In his theory of communication or "communicology" Vilem Flusser makes a basic distinction concerning two goals of communication: 
  • the dialogical goal, aiming at the creation of new information,
  • the discursive goal, aiming at the distribution of information (Flusser 1996).
According to Flusser the age of mass media with their hierarchical one-to-many structure of information distributors we could call this the CNN-principle would finally dominate all forms of information creation. In other words, the possibility for a receiver to become a sender of messages within a dialogical system remains a subordinate option. Since the rise of the Internet things started to change, at least concerning the easier and cheaper possibility for many receivers to become senders, including such hierarchical distribution options as one-to-one, one-to-many, many-to-many and many-to-one. There is an ongoing debate on the future structure of the Internet. The pressure of established information oligopoles (= concentration of power in few hands) will not vanish although it may decrease. At the same time new forms of domination and exclusion arise (ICIE 2004). 

Digital messages have a deep impact on cultural, political, and economic activities leading to what can be called a message society. In other words, angeletics or the study of messages plays a paradigmatic role in 21st century science and society. The social issues concern different aspects such as origin, purpose, and content of messages, power structures, techniques and means of diffusion, history of messages and messengers, coding and interpreting messages, as well as psychological, political, economic, aesthetic, ethical and religious aspects. A scientific cosmos that can be explored only through a patient and long-term interdisciplinary effort. 

The question, 'what is a message?' opens a new perspective not only with regard to media studies but also to the study of signs and their interpretation. Angeletics is a research field at the crossroad of media studies, semiotics, and hermeneutics. Each interpretation presupposes a process of message transmission. Hermes is the messenger of the gods, not just an interpreter of these messages. The message-bearing nature of communication is what angeletics aims to analyse. But any process of message transmission presupposes indeed a hermeneutic situation in which sender and receiver have some common basis of understanding. In other words, angeletics operates with the sender/receiver difference based on the belief that understanding or, more generally, that a selection process between two systems is possible. Hermeneutics operates with the difference between pre-understanding and interpretation based on the belief that what is object of the process of interpretation has been successfully transmitted, i.e., offered to the receiver as an object of selection. Semiotics is concerned with the whole process by which a sign, what it intends to signify and what the interpreter is supposed to select are viewed as a dynamic, self-organising structure. 

Peter Sloterdijk has pointed out that we live in a “time of empty angels” or “mediatic nihilism”, in which we forget what message is to be sent while the messengers multiply: “This is the very disangelium of current times” (Sloterdijk 1997). Nietzsche's word Disangelium (Nietzsche 1999, 211) in contrast to evangelium, points in this case to the empty nature of the messages disseminated by the mass media, culminating in Marshall McLuhan's dictum: "The medium is the message." The question now is to what extent the internet creates a new angeletic space producing new synergies of messages and messengers without the hierarchical one-to-many structure of mass media, i.e. giving the receiver the opportunity to become a sender. Information ethics deals with these new forms of human communication in a world where the classic local parameters for the creation and distribution of messages are more and more dependent on the global digital network and vice versa (Capurro 2003). 

II. Angeletics at the Crossroad of Hermeneutics and Biology

How do we distinguish messages at the human level from messages, say, at the DNA-level? I call the view of natural processes as angeletic processes the postal paradigm. Taking into consideration the original twofold meaning of the term 'information' as 'moulding matter' and as 'knowledge communicated'  we can say that a cell or, more generally, a living system, is in-formed on the basis of message selection in order to satisfy its constraints. The physicist Carl-Friedrich von Weiszäcker remarks that the modern concept of information is a new way of asking for what Plato and Aristotle called idea or morphe (Weizsäcker 1974). But what is the main difference between Plato's concept of participation (methexis) as in-formation and today's view of communication? Answer: the inversion of the relation between time and form. According to today's evolutionary perspective forms evolve within the horizon of time not the other way round. What does it mean for angeletic processes to be in time? 

The biologist Koichiro Matsuno puts it this way creating implicitly a hierarchy between human and non-human communication: 

"Folks, Ted's crisp summary reminds me once again of one recurring theme surrounding the sturdy issue on the difference between dynamics in time and dynamics of time. Recently, I had an opportunity to spend some time with a young fellow just 1 year and 2 months old both in the morning and in the evening for about a month. Of course, she does not speak, but is very sharp in pointing to what she would like to do. She likes to eat pear much more than apple. She never fails in pointing to a piece of peeled pear when both pear and apple are on the plate. When her mouth is full of juicy pear, she does not care even if I have eaten up all pieces of peeled pear on the plate. But, she got angry to find no pear to take when she was ready for another piece. This incidence has again waken[ed] me up to the simple fact that dynamics of time is more basic empirically. Even if one does not have a clear perception of what time looks like, experiencing time-phenomena or dynamics of time can  proceed as facing no obstacles. A difficult problem, however, arises to those who can speak. Those who take framing whatever statements in present tense for granted has to have some preconception of time as a criterion of what present tense is all about. One popular vehicle for this objective is space-time continuum. Theoretically, it may be okay. Empirically, it is not. My young fellow has been quite sensitive to the discontinuity between the movement in progress (pear in her mouth) and the movement perfected (ready for another piece) without being bothered by the global context referred to in the present tense (somebody eats up all the pieces on the plate)." (Koichiro Matsuno, FIS 2002, 17.01.03)
When we observe dynamics in time, i.e. from the point of view of a neutral or objective observer, we do it methodologically in the same way in the case when, say, a DNA-messenger intends to in-form a cell or when we observe how this young fellow eats pears. Such an observation concerns, as Koichiro remarks, what is going on within the objective framework of a "space-time continuum". It is a view from nowhere. There is a leap if we switch to the internal perspective, the view from "now-here". Of course neither the young fellow nor the cell have a "preconception of time as a criterion of what present tense is all about". As far as we are using an objective methodology we neither understand the internal perspective nor can we understand how far the internal perspective of our young fellow is different from the one of a cell. Of course, when we take the internal or hermeneutic perspective in order to see these differences from the inner perspective we are indeed also taking a distance from life itself. This tension between life and our explicit explanations or interpretations, is inherent to both methodologies. What I am developing right now is a second order hermeneutics. 

What happens if we, as Koichiro does, interpret this process of our young fellow in an effort to reconstruct what is going on during the present progressive tense i.e. within the framework of a specific situation? Answer: We see an implicit process in which something is being grasped AS different from something else pear instead of apple and we see that there is a choice between several possibilities. This is a very accurate example of Martin Heidegger's (1889-1976) existential hermeneutics, who follows the paths opened by Wilhelm Dilthey (1833-1911). The young fellow has a key hermeneutic or practical capability, namely the one of being able to choose between several possibilities without an explicit linguistic reflection about what she is de facto doing. This is exactly the structure described by Heidegger in his seminal work "Being and Time" (Heidegger 1987). He stresses that before we start with a theoretical and objective interpretation of human knowledge, human existence is characterised by the fact of being already practically concerned with specific situations within a horizon of choices. Heidegger argues in favour of a pragmatic turn in epistemology and against cognitivism. Our choices rest upon a pragmatic pre-understanding of our existential needs such as the need of eating and the choice of eating something more pleasant than apple. 

Understanding means originally this very fact of being able to answer to possibilities or, as we could also say, to messages. In other words, the capability of being addressed by something gives us the opportunity to produce and not just to reproduce life creating a specific network Heidegger calls this network "world" , according to our needs (Jung 2002). Our young fellow is not just eating a piece of pear but has made her choices considering pear much better than apple. She is in the process of pragmatic understanding i.e. not in the position of a neutral observer but in the condition of constructing her life. Of course, she will be (later on) able of an explicit (linguistic) interpretation of such a pragmatic understanding, as we are doing it right now. Heidegger postulates the primacy of hermeneutic or pragmatic understanding over theoretical interpretation. Our young fellow does not need words, as Koichiro remarks, in order to understand. But why does such explicit interpretation arise at all? Answer: Because we many times deal with situations of breakdown in which our expectations are not fulfilled or something goes wrong. In our case: our young fellow got angry as she saw no pear or even apple. This is a strong feeling that gives rise to utterances and (later on) questions about why this is the case. In other words, there is a change-over from the know-how  into the know-that perspective: 

(1) situation -> pre-understanding (need) -> choice ->  
-> situation ->... 
Or, in a more general way and modifying the stimulus/response scheme: 
(2) message  -> release mechanism -> response -> 
-> message -> ... 
(3) know-how -> breakdown -> interpretation -> know-that -> 
-> know-how -> ... 
When needs and release mechanisms are more or less fixed as in the case of non-human organisms with a great variety of possibilities concerning this 'more or less' we deal with different kinds of responses to messages on the basis of, for instance, the genetic code aiming at the literal construction of form or at the in-formation of an organism. Weizsäcker calls this process of form generation "objectivised semantics" (Weizsäcker 1974). 

There is another difference between the pre-spoken experience of this young fellow and the one of a cell as she can refer to what is not there. In order to do this she must have an implicit pre-understanding of time that allows her to make a pre-verbal difference between what she sees and what she wants and what she does not see. In other words, our young fellow must be able to make a difference not just between beings but also between being and not being. We, as hermeneutic observers, may be able to understand not only the information processes as selective ones but also to make explicit the basic difference allowing our young fellow to refer to what is not there and to analyse the implicit ontology.  We may consider that for our young fellow the difference between things that can be eaten and things that cannot is also a very basic one. We may infer that what cannot be eaten is of less importance and has therefore a less degree of being. In a more fundamental sense it seems as if the meaning of 'to be' is being grasped as the difference between 'to be there' and 'not to be there'. But in some way 'not to be there' is for our young fellow also a way of being, otherwise she would not be able to relate to things that have only the possibility of being there. 

With such pre-understanding she is probably not far from Aristotelian ontology! What we do, when we try to interpret hermeneutically this pre-verbal situation is thus not just an objective description of dynamics in time but an interpretation of what we suppose to be the case within a dynamics of time which is indeed also our own. To take such an explicit interpretative position means thus becoming involved in the process itself. Implicit and explicit interpretations, to choose between several meaningful messages and to be able to reflect on this process, is the very essence of our own being. We may even start thinking about being itself as a message and on the different possibilities to interpret it. We then become philosophers! 

Koichiro is perfectly right when he points that in a pre-verbal situation the global context of the present tense, i.e., the viewpoint from 'nowhere' is irrelevant and that there is no bridge just a leap between dynamics in time and dynamics of time. Also the hermeneutic path of interpretation is not a bridge in the sense that we may be able to switch into another subjectivity. This would presuppose not only a kind of magic identification but would lead into another paradox. In order to understand this fusion we should be able to interpret it once again, creating another fusion and so forth. We may conclude that this tension is specific, as far as we know, to human life and human knowledge. But we may say that understanding creates links between networks of interpretation. 

Heidegger's formula "being-in-the-world" means to be pragmatically embedded in a network of relations and being able to answer to the messages things offer to us within specific situations and according to our specific needs. Heidegger calls this way of being "world forming" ("weltbildend") in contrast to the world of non-human living beings as "world-poor" ("weltarm"), and to non-living beings as "worldless" ("weltlos") (Heidegger 1983, Capurro 2002). This means that we can only make hermeneutic interpretations ex negativo about, say, the present progressive tense situation of a cell. But, on the other hand, "world-poor" does not mean, as Heidegger remarks, 

"that life ("Leben") with regard to human existence ("Dasein") is of poorer quality or a lower level. Rather is life a field with an own richness of openness that probably the human world does not know about." (Heidegger 1983, 371-372)
Heidegger describes this peculiar openness of animal life as a drive ("Trieb") to lose its inhibition remaining basically in a dazed state ("Benommenheit"). In other words, animals and, more generally, organisms are primarily characterised neither by a multiplicity of parts or organs (Greek organon = instrument) nor of isolated drives, but by the unity of a "ring-like" structure. "World-poor" means that  organisms do have an openness or a horizon of choices but that this openness is not of the kind of human world-openness. Poor means this 'not having' a world on the basis of having their own kind of dazed ring-like openness. On this premises we can say that the meaning of a message for a living organism and, consequently, for human beings, is basically dependent of the range of choices as well as on the release mechanisms. 

The biologist Jerry Chandler remarks: 

"The process of organic communication in natural systems admits multiple dynamics to form (biological plasticity or adaptability or flexibility). One type of dynamic can be called "error" if one has created a norm that admits a variance from that norm. Thus, organic communication can admit error in the process of  generating a message, in the process of transmitting the message or  in the process of responding to the message. (...) The natural history of living systems created an efficient form of message transmission. The generating function is one set of organic components. The transmitted message is another organic component. The response generating function is still another set of organic components. All of these functional components collaborate (work together in a thermodynamic sense). The system functions locally. This internal collaboration negates the need for a separate system to generate errors. (From a cynical perspective, one could say modern management methods are foreign to biological design)." (Jerry LR Chandler, FIS 2002, contribution from 6.07.02)
Life proceeds symptomatically on an in-formational and on an angeletical basis. It transforms given forms following rules or by making a difference through abduction. A cell constructs itself through angeletic processes that may make possible for an information or, sit venia verbo, for a form-as-message to inform it in both original senses of the word, namely the ontological (moulding matter) and the epistemological (moulding of the mind) ones. In other words, message phenomena at the biological level are processes of form production (Andrade 2002). 


These few remarks on the concept of message in the social and natural sciences make us aware about the possible road ahead towards an interdisciplinary message theory that takes seriously the hierarchical differences and similarities of communication at different levels. The basic questions of such a theory are not new, at least since the rise of cybernetics and system theory. But the main stream discussions so far have dealt mainly with the concept of information and they were often biased by the computer analogy and the digital paradigm (Capurro 2003). If we take the concept of message as a second-order category we may be able to avoid reductionism and to look for the complexity of the message phenomenon. 

The key question is to know, why, when and how some form-as-messages are accepted or denied by a receiver and how the receiver mutates into a sender. The metaphor of the hermeneutic circle is indeed, as Wolfgang Stegmüller with regard to the development of scientific theories in the sciences and the humanities once remarked, an expression that embraces "a whole conceptual family of problems" (Stegmüller 1979, 82). If all our observations are theory-laden this is not less the case with regard to all our actions, and not only of our actions. This hermeneutic insight seems to be also the core question when we try to understand the hierarchies of communication at the human and the non-human level from an endo-perspective (Diebner 2003). 

The postal paradigm conveyed by a message theory or angeletics should not be misunderstood as an anthropomorphic theory of living beings or even of human beings as merely signal systems. It is just a marker for a network of questions and theories whose family resemblance can help us to become more acquainted of the fact that the phenomenon of communication implies at least a sender, a receiver, a medium and a message. If "the medium is the message" (McLuhan), what is a message?


Thanks to Thomas J. Froehlich (Kent State University, USA) and Hans H. Diebner (ZKM) for critical reading of this paper. 


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Last update: September 20, 2013



R. Capurro: "What is Angeletics?" Japanese translation: Messeji-ron towa nanika (2002) by Tadashi Takenouchi.
R. Capurro: "Homo Informaticus" (in German). Published in: R. Capurro: Leben im Informationszeitalter (Berlin 1995, 51-62). See: original version. Japanese translation by Tadashi Takenouchi, in: Shiso (Thought), Tokyo. Iwanami shoten, 2003, 7, No. 951, 69-88.
See: Website of Tadashi Takenouchi 

Persian translation by Mohammad Khandan. Forthcomming in: Mohammad Khandan (Ed.) Epistemological Explorations in the Realm of Information Studies. Tehran: Chapar (2010).



Peter Sloterdijk:  Exkurs 7 Über den Unterschied zwischen einem Idioten und einem Engel. In: ders.: Sphären I Blasen. Frankfurt a.M.: Suhrkamp, 479-485.

"Die klassische Christologie zeigt die Gesandten- und Botschaftsmetaphysik auf dem Höhepunkt ihrer Macht. Sie gehört einer Welt- und Theoriesituation an, die durch das Dogma des starken Absenders charakterisiert ist. Ja vielleicht ist die diskursive Struktur, die wir Metaphysik zu nennen gewohnt waren, nur ein Reflex der Unterwerfung des Denkens unter die Vorstellung von einem Sein, das als absoluter Absender alle Throne, Mächte und Gewalten mitsamt ihren Ausflüssen an Zeichen und Vermittlern monopolisiert. In diesem unbedingten Absender-Sein konnten der Gott der Bibel und der Gott der Philosophen konvergieren.

Verständigt man sich für das weitere auf die Formel, daß die Neuzeit ein Informationsprozeß ist, der die Krise der Absender-Metaphysik erzwingt, so hält man auch schon das Mittel in der Hand, zu begreifen, wieso eine zeitsensible Theologie nach Gutenberg mit einer angeletischen (207) Lehre vom Erlöser als Gesandten nicht mehr durchkommt. In der neuzeitlichen Vermehrung der Absender-Mächte und in der Boteninflation auf dem freien Nachrichtenmarkt kann ein Hyperbote vom Typus Erlösergott, vergegenwärtigt durch apostolische Vertreter, seine feudale Vorrangstellung nicht behaupten. Wer auf die Menschen in einem spezifischen Sinn befreiend einwirken möchte, darf in Zukunft nicht mehr so sehr ein Bote mi einer transzendentalen message sein, sondern muß als ein menschliches Wesen erscheinen, dessen unmittelbar auffälllige Andersheit in realer Gegenwart den Überbringer einer Botschaft von drüben vollständig ersetzt. Es bezeichnet Dostojewskijs religionsphilosophische Genialität, daß er die Chance, die Christologie vn der Angeletik auf die Idiotik umzustellen, als erster erkannt und bis zum äußersten durchdacht hat (208). Gerade weil die moderne Welt überfüllt ist vom Lärm der Machtpartei-Boten und vom Kunstgetöse der Genies, die auf ihre Werke und Wahnsysteme aufmerksam machen, läßt sich die religiöse Differenz nicht länger im Modus des Botschafterwesens überzeugend markieren. Nicht als Bote kann der präsente Gottmensch die Sterblichen erreichen, sondern nur noch als Idiot. Der Idiot ist ein Engel ohne Botschaft – ein distanzloser intimer Ergänzter aller zufällig begegnenden Wesen. Auch sein Auftritt ist erscheinungshaft, aber nicht, weil er im Diesseits einen transzendenten Glanz vergegenwärtigte, sondern weil er inmitten einer Gesellschaft von Rollenspielern und Ego-Strategen eine unerwartbare Naivität und ein entwaffnendes Wohlwollen verkörpert. Wenn er redet, dann niemals mit Autorität, sondern immer nur mit der Kraft seiner Offenheit. Obwohl ein Fürst der Abstammung nach, ist er ein Mensch ohne Statuszeichen – er gehört hierin vorbehaltlos der modernen Welt an, denn wenn zum Engel die Hierarchie gehört, dann zum Idioten der egalitäre Zug. (Engelhierarchien verstehen sich von selbst, während Idiotenhierarchien verblüffen.) er bewegt sich zwischen den Menschen der hohen und niederen Gesellschaft wie ein großes Kind, das es nie gelernt hat, den eigenen Vorteil zu berechnen." (S. 480)


207 Den Ausdruck "angeletisch" verdanken wir Rafael Capurro; zur Begriffsgeschichte vonangelía vgl. dessen Buch, Leben im Informationszeitalter, Berlin 1995, siebtes Kapitel "Genealogie der Information", S. 97-114.

208 Allenfalls Herman Melville könnte den Anspruch erheben, in seiner Erzählung Bartleby, publiziert 1856, die Wende von der Angeletik zur Idiotik antizipiert zu haben, die  Dostojewskijs Roman von 1868/69 dann spektakulär vollzieht.


Folgende Beiträge erschienen in The International Information & Library Review, Volume 32, Numbers 3-4, Sept/Dec. 2000 als Antwort auf mein keynote beim EEI21 (The Ethics of Electronic Information in the 21st Century Symposium, Memphis, USA, 2000): "Ethical Challenges of the Information Society in the 21st Century"

Thomas J. Froehlich: Rafael 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 society." (281-282)

Martha M. Smith: A Prologue to Angeletics: A Response to Rafael Capurro and Suggestions for a Research Agenda (283-289)

"As 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. 


Exploring the cultural roots in relation to current issues, Capurro asks if there is help to be found in the study of the message.
  • What is the relationship between the message and the messenger?
  • Is the meaning in the medium of the message?
  • Are content and form separate?
  • Can form and content be separated in order to understand how knowledge is created, transmitted, and used?
  • What is the relationship between hermeneutics and Angeletics? Could hermeneutics be said to deal with the interpretation of the message or messenger in the aftermath of delivery and prior to another transmission?
  • What are the practices of message creation, dissemination, storage, retrieval, evaluation, and utilization? How do these practices shape the interfacing activity?
  • Who are the messengers in these practices? What are the technologies of messenger practice?
Capurro's insights and 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:

  • History - World History as Message, Great Messengers;
  • Language and Literature - Etymological Roots of the term Message in All Languages; Message Mediation in Literary Genres, Reader Response Criticism and Message Reception;
  • Art, Music, Dance, Film - Messengers and Imagination;
  • Physics, Chemistry and Biology - DNA Messengers;
  • Engineering/AI - Robot Messengers;
  • Sociology, Psychology, Political Science, Economics - The Social, Psychological, etc. Aspects of Messages and Messengers.
The new understanding 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 preoccupation 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. 

To go in the direction of critical theory, other questions might arise. For example:
  • Who are the messengers?
  • How are they chosen?
  • What interests do they represent?
  • What determines the content and the delivery form of the messages?
  • Who receives which messages?
  • Who receives messages first? Last?
  • Are 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?

Finally, Capurro's 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

Tadashi Takenouchi: The 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'. In:SHISO, 2003, No. 951, 89-99.

Angelica Walser: Infocalypse now. Gefährlich und erotisch zugleich ist das Internet. Betrachtungen des Philosophen Rafael Capurro über ein antikes Liebespaar im neuen Medium. In: Die Furche (Wien), Nr. 33, 14. August 2003, p. 17.

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.

"In 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' [1] 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.
Terry Winograd and Fernando Flores pointed in a convincing way towards a connection between computer science and hermeneutics [2]. 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 [9, 10]

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" (31-32)

(15) Terry Winograd and Fernando Flores [2] 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.

[1] Rafael Capurro, Angeletics. This issue.
[2] Terry Winograd and Fernando Flores, Understanding Computers and Cognition - A New Foundation for Design. Addison-Wesley, Reading, Mass., 14th edition, 1999.
[9] Peter Érdy and Ichiro Tsuda. Hermeneutic approach tothe brain: process versus device? Theoria et Historia Scientiarum, VI: 307- 321, 2002.
[10] R. 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.

Matthias Rath: Das Internet - die Mutter aller Medien. In: Klaas Huizing, Hors R. Rupp (Hg.): Medientheorie und Medientheologie. Münster: Lit Verlag 2003, 59-69.

"Medien haben den Charakter der Ver-Mittler einer Botschaft. Rafael Capurro nennt das Wissensgebiet einer solchen Botschaftstheorie, die auf die Abhängigkeit des Vermittelten vom Vermittler abhebt, Angeletik (4). Dabei sei, und ich stimme ihm zu, die technische Seite besonders zu betonen, d.h. die Frage, inwieweit die zunächst feststellbaren technischen Bedingungen der Vermittlung von Botschaften auf diese Botschaften selbst einwirken, sie bestimmen. Damit seien, so Capurro, "Machtstrukturen" geschaffen, die sich in jeweils unterschiedlichen technischen Medien ausprägen.

"Die technische Revolution des Buchdrucks schafft eine neue nicht nur mediatische, sondern auch angeletische Situation. Für Immanuel Kant ist gerade die zensurfreie Mitteilung wisssenschaftlicher Forschung mittels gedruckter Schriften das Medium, wodurch die Ideale und Botschaften der Aufklärung sich verbreiten und dadurch die politischen Prozesse mittelbar (!) beeinflussen können. Mit der Säkularisierung entstehen neue politische und (un-)wissenschaftliche Botschaften, die den alten Ort der vertikalen Struktur einzunehmen versuchen, mit katastrophalen Auswirkungen für Gesellschaft und Natur, indem sie sich, wie zur Zeit des Nationalsozialismus, des Rundfunks bedienen. Das Aufkommen der Massenmedien mit ihrer one-to-many-Struktur stellt die Frage nach einem öffentlichen Raum, frei von Machtstrukturen, wo die Kraft der Argumente und die Rationalität der Akteure den Vorrang haben." (Ebd.)

Daraus folgt, dass Medien das Vermittelte je schon mit gestalten, da sie nur bestimmtes übermitteln: Musik bietet keine trennscharfen Inhalte, gesprochene oder geschriebene Sprache keine Bilder, Fernsehen keine Abstraktionen. In diesem Sinne ist dann auch das berühmte und häufig zitierte Wort von Marshall MacLuhan zu verstehen: "The medium is the message". Medien bzw. mediale und damit symbolische Verfaßtheit menschlicher Botschaften sind also eine Charakteristik menschlicher Informationsaufnahme. Medien sind überall. Der Versuch, Medialität als neues, für das Mendienzeitalter typisches anthropologisches Moment zu fassen, geht fehl (5)."

4 Rafael Capurro: Was ist Angeletik? 2001.
5 Matthias Rath: Die Anthropologie des Medialen. Zur anthropologischen Selbstaufrüstung des animal symbolicum. In: Netzethik. Grundlegungsfragen der Internetethik. Hg. von Thomas Hausmanninger und Rafael Capurro. München/Paderborn : Fink 2000, 89-106.


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)


Renato Fabiano Matheus: Rafael Capurro e a filosofia da informação : abordagens, conceitos e metodologias de pesquisa para a Ciência da informação (Rafael Capurro and the philosophy of information: approaches, concepts and research methodologies in Information Science). In:Perspectivas em ciência da informação, ISSN 1413-9936, 2005, vol. 10, No. 2, 140-165 (See also here).

On 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)

Murilo Cardoso de Castro (blog): Capurro's hermeneutic approach to information ethics

Chaim Zins: Knowledge Map of Information Science: Rafael Capurro's Responses to Chaim Zins

Roland Rosenstock: Ekklesiologie und Netz-Theorie (pdf)

Ulrike Pailer: Verstehen versus Erklären. Die Geschichte einer unglücklichen Gegenüberstellung. Konzept zur Seminararbeit im Rahmen des Seminars Interkulturelle Philosophie - Hermeneutik im SoSe 2005 bei Univ. Prof. Dr. Franz Martin Wimmer.


Marilda Lopes Ginez de Lara: Novas relações entre Terminologia e Ciência da Informação na perspectiva de um conceito contemporâneo da informação (The new relations between Terminology and Information Science from the approach of a contemporary information concept). In:DataGramaZero 2006


Chaim Zins: Conceptions of Information Science. In: Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology 58 (3), 335-350.

Eric Mührel: Das Zwischenmenschliche in der Informations- und Biotechnologie-Gesellschaft.

Ludmila Bubelová: Angeletika -  nový posel informační vědy  (Bachelor  thesis, Masarykova Univerzita, Brno, Czech Republic (2007)


Sybille Krämer: "Medium, Bote, Übertragung. Kleine Metaphysik der Medialität" Frankfurt a.M.: Suhrkamp 2008.

Eine verstümmelte und teilweise versteckte Rezeption meines Ansatzes findet man in diesem Buch von Sybille Krämer. Das gilt zum Beispiel für die Darlegungen auf S. 112-113, insbesondere für die Aussage über meine (!) Auffassung von Philosophie (keine Kleinigkeit also), die der Leser offenbar als These der Autorin verstehen soll, da keine Quelle angegeben wird:

"Die Überwindung der angelia durch den logos wird zur Geburtsstunde der am Wahrheitsdiskurs orientierten Philosophie. Und in ihrem Horizont wird der Bote zum uneigentlich Redenden." (Krämer 2008, S. 113) 

Eine fast identische Formulierung findet man bereits im Titel (!) im Absatz 3 ("Die Geburt des philosophischen logos aus dem Geiste der angelia") meines seit 2001 im Internet zugänglichen und seit 2003 als Teil meines Buches "Ethik im Netz" erschienenen Beitrags "Theorie der Botschaft", der zwar von Frau Krämer auf S. 112 zitiert wird, aber lediglich mit Bezug auf die Problematik der Heteronomie des Boten. Ich zitiere aus Absatz 3 (Siehe oben):

"Anstelle der vertikalen Botschaft tritt der philosophische logos und der dialektische Mitteilungsprozeß, d.h. das sachliche Fragen auf der Basis jener Botschaften, die uns die Sinne und allem voran die Vernunft (nous) mitteilen und die der Kritik unterworfen werden."

Erst auf S. 120 findet man einen knappen Verweis auf diese Quelle mit Hinweis auf die angelia  logos Thematik aber losgelöst vom vorherigen "Zitat".  Im übrigen, diese Gedanken  findet man bereits in meinem Buch "Leben im Informationszeitalter" (Berlin 1995) S. 99. Ferner: was Frau Krämer auf S. 112-113 schreibt, findet man fast wörtlich in meiner Dissertation: "Information. Ein Beitrag zur etymologischen und ideengeschichtlichen Entwicklung des Informationsbegriffs" (München 1978)  S. 46-49, wo man auch den von Frau Krämer zitierten  Beitrag von J. Schiewiend "Angelia"  im  Theologischen Wörterbuch zum Neuen Testament ausführlich zitiert und kommentiert findet. Frau Krämer zitiert auch den Beitrag "Hermeneutik" von Hans-Georg Gadamer im Historischen Wörterbuch der Philosophie und schreibt, dass Gadamer auf die Übersetzungstätigkeit des Hermes explizit verweist. Was aber Frau Krämer entgeht, ist, dass Gadamer auf die Botentätigkeit von Hermes nicht eingeht, wie ich es in meinem Beitrag Hermeneutik im Vorblick. Einführung in die Angeletik (2000) dargelegt habe.

Ferner schreibt Frau Krämer in einer Fußnote:

"Hinweise auf die Boten- und Mittelfigur – allerdings ohne diese in das Zentrum einer Medientheorie zu versetzen – finden sich bei: Bahr 1999; Capurro 2003, Hubig 2002; Krippendorf 1994." (Krämer 2008, S. 108)

So kann man sich als Botentheoretikerin stilisieren, indem man die Konkurrenz pauschal auf eine Fußnote verbannt und durch Auslassen von Quellen Originalität für sich reklamiert. Ferner, indem man Einsichten und Formulierungen (!), die offensichtlich von einem anderen Autor (in diesem Fall von mir) und von anderen Quellen als die in den wenigen Fußnoten zitierten (lediglich eine Quelle in diesem Fall) stammen, so darstellt, als ob es die eigenen wären. Im Haupttext wird der Name des Autors dieser Ansätze und Formulierungen (auf Seiten 112-113 bzw. 120 u.a.) nicht erwähnt. Nach den zahlreichen Beiträgen – keine bloßen "Hinweise" also – des Verfassers zur Botschaftstheorie, die seit 1978 erschienen und auch im Internet zugänglich sind, sucht man im Buch von Frau Krämer vergeblich oder man findet sie an mehreren Stellen als (milde ausgedrückt) Paraphrasen ohne Quellenangabe.

Sind das, im Falle des Buches von Frau Krämer, die wissenschaftlichen und moralischen Standards eines philosophischen Hochschulinstituts in Deutschland? Solche Kriterien sind zum Beispiel:

  • eine gründliche bibliografische Recherche, die heute selbstverständlich auch Internetquellen umfassen sollte,
  • ausdrückliche Anerkennung der Vorarbeiten von Kollegen,
  • Vermeidung von Paraphrasen, die an der Grenze zum Plagiat liegen,
  • deutliches Kennzeichnen von Zitaten, um Plagiate zu vermeiden,
  • deutliche Trennung der eigenen Meinung von dem, worin man mit einem anderen Fachvertreter übereinstimmt (oder auch nicht), unter Angabe der Quelle(n),
  • die Ansätze eines Kollegen, dem man offensichtlich ziemlich viel verdankt, gebührend im Haupttext behandeln sowie ggf. in der Einleitung erwähnen,
  • die eigene Originalität nicht auf Kosten der Nichtberücksichtigung oder 'Verkleinerung' der Beiträge von Kollegen ('Fußnoten-Taktik' mit Hinweis auf 'Hinweise'), die 'leider leider' dieses aktuelle Feld längst 'besetzt' haben.

Sind einige dieser im Buch von Frau Krämer aus meiner Sichterkennbaren Übertretungen dieser Kriterien, die an Studierenden vermittelten Exzellenzstandards zur Qualitätssicherung wissenschaftlicher Forschung an einer deutschen Hochschule? Offensichtlich nein, zumindest wenn man den Ehrenkodex. Satzung zur Sicherung guter wissenschaftlicher Praxis der Freien Universität Berlin liest.

"SZ: Was ist eigentlich ein Plagiat?

Frühwald: Das ist eine wissenschaftliche Arbeit, in der Kernargumentationen und Kernthesen aus Fremdarbeiten übernommen und diese Zitierungen nicht gekennzeichnet werden. Dabei geht es nicht um einzelne Formulierungen."

Aus: Wolfgang Frühwald, von 1992 bis 1997 Präsident der Deutschen Forschungsgemeinschaft, im Gespräch mit Patrick Illinger: "Der Konkurrenzdruck ist mörderisch" . In: Süddeutsche Zeitung, 18. Oktober 2012, Nr.241, S. 22.

"Wir betreiben keinen politischen Prozess"

Michael Piper: "Die Wissenschaften haben eines gemeinsam, über die Kulturen der unterschiedlichen Fächer hinweg: Wissenschaftliche Leistung besteht nicht darin, Fakten oder Textpassagen zu sammeln, sondern in neuer Erkenntnis. Diese muss vom Autor stammen und als solche erkennbar sein. Das ist heute genauso wie vor dreißig Jahren." 

Aus: Michael Piper, Rektor der Universität Düsseldorf, im Gespräch mit Roland Preuss: "Wir betreiben keinen politischen Prozess". In: Süddeutsche Zeitung, 20.-21. Oktober 2012, Nr. 143, S. 6.

Siehe die Rezension von Florian Sprenger im: e-Journal für wissenschaftliche Rezensionen Institut für Theater-, Film- und Medienwissenschaft an der Universität Wien:

"Problematisch ist weiterhin, dass Krämer die zahlreichen Übertragungstheorien (etwa Bernhard Siegerts Studie zur Post oder Rafael Capurros Angeletik) fast ausschließlich in die Fußnoten verbannt und damit zu Ergänzungen ihrer eigenen Theorie macht. Zu oft sind Übertragungs- und Botenmodelle in der bestehenden Literatur thematisiert worden, als dass Krämer Neuland betreten würde, und Nancy, Serres und Peters sind keine Entdeckungen, sondern anerkannte Diskurspartner."

Sybille Krämer: Medien Boten, Spuren. Wenig mehr als ein Literaturbericht. In: Stefan Münker und Alexander Roesler (Hrsg.): Was ist ein Medium? Suhrkamp 2008, 65-90.

"Medien als Boten

Im Gegenzug zur forcierten Depersonalisierung der Medien in den avantgardistischen Medientheorien gewinnt der Bote als eine grundständige Bezugsfigur für die Reflexion der Medialität an Bedeutung. Der Bote steht zwischen verschiedenartigen Welten und bringt kraft seiner Position in deren Mitte und als deren Mittler einen Austausch in Gang. Es wundert nicht, dass gerade den himmlischen Boten, den Engeln (angelos, griech.: der Bote), dabei ein Augenmerk gilt. Denn in der imaginären Konstellation der Engel, welche die Unnahbarkeit und Undarstellbarkeit des Gottes monotheistischer Religionen kompensieren durch ein herrscharengleich organisiertes Mittleramt, das Gottes Wort den Menschen dazubringen und zu dolmetschen hat, scheint eine in religiöse Termini verhüllte Protoform einer am Botenamt orientierten Medientheorie angelegt. So jedenfalls sehen es Rafael Capurro (13), Michel Serrres (14) und auch Régis Debray (15). Serres, wie übrigens auch Helmuth Wilke (16), vermuten überdies eine Analogie zwischen dem weltumspannenden elektronischen Kommunikationsnetz und der theologisch inspirierten Engellehre, die als eine vortheoretischen Vision einer modernen message society gedeutet werden kann. Allerdings, daran hat Horst Wenzel (17) unter Bezug auf Bernhard Siegert erinnert, verweist die Etymologie der Engel als angeloi gleichwohl zurück auf die Bediensteten des angareion, des persischen Relaispostsystems, über welches Herodot berichtet. (18)


13. Rafael Capurro, "Theorie der Botschaft", in: Ders.: Ethik im Netz, Stuttgart 2003, S. 105-122.
14. Michel Serres, Die Legende der Engel, Frankfurt/M. 1995.
15. Régis Debray, Transmitting Culture, New York 2000, S. 31 ff.
16. Helmut Willke, Atopia. Studien zur atopischen Gesellschaft, Frankfurt/M. 2001, S. 70ff.
17. Horst Wenzel (Hg.), Gespräche - Boten - Briefe. Körpergedächtnis und Schriftgedächtnis im Mittelalter, Berlin 1997, S. 15f.
18. Herodot, Historien, VIII, 98."

In diesem "Literaturbericht" findet man eine ausdrückliche Anerkennung meines Beitrags zur Boten- und Botschaftstheorie, die im vorhergehenden Buch verborgen blieb oder, milde ausgedrückt, paraphrasiert wurde. Frau Krämer erwähnt aber seltsamerweise den von mir geprägten Begriff "Angeletik" nicht. Dieser Begriff stellt den Schlüssel dar, um eine säkulare Boten- und Botschaftstheorie von der theologischen Engellehre zu unterscheiden jenseits jeder "Analogie" auf die Frau Krämer  meine Beiträge einschränken will. Der Begriff message society stammt, soweit ich weiss, von mir und wird im von Frau Krämer zitierten Beitrag (Siehe oben) ohne Angabe der Herkunft verwendet. Nach Anführungszeichen und Urheber sucht man auch hier vergebens.

Beata Sirowy: Understanding the Information Society: The Potentials of Phenomenological Approach. In:  Frank Eckardt (Ed.): Media and Urban Space: understanding, investigating and approaching mediacity, Berlin: Frank & Timme, 2008, 45-64.

"Although phenomenology 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 2003)." (Sirowy 2008, 49).

Capurro, R. (2003). On Hermeneutics, Angeletics, and Information Technology. Questions and Tentative Answers.
Madison, G.B.(1992). The Hermeneutics of Postmodernity and After.

Erich Hamberger, Kurt Luger (Hrsg.): 
Transdisziplinäre Kommunikation. Aktuelle Be-Deutungen des Phänomens Kommunikation im fächerübergreifenden Dialog. Wien: Österreichischer Kunst- und Kulturverlag 2008.

"Capurro setzt sich mit dem Phänomen Kommunikation  also aus dem Blickwinkel der Übermittlung von Botschaften auseinander. Die Aktualität der Thematik ergibt sich - wie erwähnt - schon allein aus dem Umstand, dass wir in einer Kultur/Epoche leben, in der wie nie zuvor in der Menschheitsgeschichte insbesondere seit dem rasanten Aufkommen des Massenmediums Internet Botschaften ausgetauscht werden. Was jedoch offenkundig fehlt, ist eine relevante Theorie der Botschaft.

Capurro spürt also der Frage nach, welchem (Botschafts-)Medium in welchem geisteskulturellen Umfeld der Vorzug gegeben wird, aufgrund welcher Argumente dies geschieht bzw. welche Konsequenzen dies jeweils für Mitteilung, Information und Verstehen hat. Gerade dieser geistesgeschichtliche Bogen spannt erst die Frage, welche Botschaft die aktuelle Massen-Medien-Kultur darstellt bzw. welche Botschaft eine "Geistesklimazone" wie die individualitätszentrierte Postmoderne der westlichen Hemisphäre vermittelt, in der keinerlei allgemeingültige Botschaften mehr als vermittelbar erachtet werden." (S. 63-64)

F. J. Echeriu:
 Über Archen (29. April 2008)


Symposium  Von Boten und Botschaften (ZKM, 2009)

Mohammad Khandan: What is angeletics? Persian translation by Mohammad Khandan. In: Science Communication. The monthly journal of Irandoc. Vol. 45, September-October 2009


Mohammad Khandan: Angeletics: a message theory. Persian translation by Mohammad Khandan. Forthcomming in: Mohammad Khandan (Ed.) Epistemological Explorations in the Realm of Information Studies. Tehran: Chapar (2010).


Mohammad Khandan: What is Angeletics? Persian translation

Ben Kaden: 
In der Tiefe des Raumes... mitten im Netz.
Bibliothekstopologische Überlegungen. Libreas 2011

Notizen zur Bibliothekswissenschaft 4: Das geschärfte Auge. Libreas 2011.

Drehscheibe Diskurs. Libreas 2011.

Notizen zur Bibliothekswissenschaft  Teil 1 und 2. Libreas 201.

Klaus Wiegerling: Philosophie intelligenter Welten. München: Fink 2011.
Ausblick: Zur Metaphysik intelligenter Welten – Botschaften  ohne Botschafter und Botschafter ohne Botschaft.


Information: Special Issue "Angeletics - Messaging Theory"

Koichiro Matsuno: When an Atom becomes a Message -
Practicing Experiments on the Origins of Life.

Joseph Brenner: Angeletics and Logic in Reality.
In: Information 2012, 3(4), 715-738; doi:10.3390/info3040715

Markus Stock: Letter, Word, and Good Messengers:
Towards an Archaeology of Remote Communication.
In: Interdisciplinary Science Reviews, Vol. 37, No. 4, December 2012, 299-313.

"Although the messenger becomes as indifferent to the message as today's mail carrier, and is thus entirely heteronomous (Capurro 2003, 109; Krämer 2004, 111-112; Knödler-Pasch 2011, 141), there is the danger of autonomy in other respects: namely tht he does not remain faithful to his office, i.e. does not remain the neutral carrier, either because of unwillingness or owing to intoxicanting influences from outside. This is a leitmotiv of the treatment of messengers in late medieval and early modern culture, both reflected in historically testified cases (see, for example, Hacke 2005, on the problems the University of Paris had with its messengers) and in late medieval moral-didactic literature. I now discuss the reverberations of this negative stereotype of messengers in the widely disseminated 'Liber de moribus', the so-called Chess Book by the Dominican friar Jacog of Cessolis from around 1300 (Plesso et al. 2007, 49-51)." (Stock 2012, 308).

zitierte Quellen:

Capurro, Rafael. 2003: Ethik im Netz. Stuttgart: Steiner

Hacke, Martina. 2005. Gesandschafts- und Botenwesen der Universität von Paris (13.-15. Jh.): Eine Skizze. In Kommunikation im Spätmittelalter: Spielarten, Wahrnehmungen, Deutungen, ed. Romy Günthart and Michael Jucker, 101-109. Zürich: Chronos.

Knödler-Pasch, Margarete. 2011: Anmerkungen zu einer Theorie der Botschaft. In Messages and messengers. Angeletics as an approach to the phenomenology of communication,  ed. Rafael Capurro and John Holgate. Munich: Fink

Krämer, Sybille. 2008: Medium, Bote, Übertragung. Kleine Metaphysik der Medialität. Frankfurt a.M.: Suhrkamp.

Plesso, Oliver, Volker Honemann and Mareike Temmen. 2007.Mittelalterliche Schachzabelbücher zwischen Spielsymbolik und Wertevermittlung. Der Schachtraktat des Jacous de Cessolis im Kontext seiner spätmittelalterlichen Rezeption. Münster: Rhema.

H. Rashidi Alashty: The philosophical view of information and information technology. In: Automatic Documentation and Mathematical Linguistics,  2012, Vol. 46, No. 2, pp. 94-104.
Original Russian text: Nauchno-Tekhnicheskaia Informatsiya, Seriya 2, 2012, No. 4, pp. 1-12.


Pak Hang Wong: Angeletics and Social Epistemology (2011/2013)


Ernesta Molotokiene: Angeletics: Philosophical and Christian Ethical Imlications. In: International Journal of Current Innovation in Advanced Research. Vol. 1, Issue 6, October-2018: 94-106.


Last update: August 18, 2017

Copyright © 2003 by Rafael Capurro, all rights reserved. This text may be used and shared in accordance with the fair-use provisions of U.S. and international copyright law, and it may be archived and redistributed in electronic form, provided that the author is notified and no fee is charged for access. Archiving, redistribution, or republication of this text on other terms, in any medium, requires the consent of the author.

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