By José María Díaz Nafría (University of León, Spain).

Published in: Rafael Capurro, John Holgate (eds.), Messages and Messengers – as an Approach to the Phenomenology of Communication, pp.197-229, Munich: Wilhelm Fink. DOI: 10.30965/9783846750476

Figure-6Abstract: Shannon and Weaver’s Mathematical Theory of Communication and also Kotelnikov’s Theory of Optimal Reception consider that communication is best described by the well-known model of transmission, corruption and recognition of messages known as Information Theory. However, the essential significance of the semantics and pragmatics in communication is omitted from this interpretation. Whereas Weaver considers that the same model of communication can simply be expanded, reproducing its schema in nested levels, research into culture, language and semiotics shows that the reality of communication has further requirements José María Díaz Nafría proceeds to compare this ‘transparent channel’ approach to communication to George Orwell’s Newspeak, a dystopian model of communication from the novel ‘Nineteen Eighty-Four,’ and to the theories of the French criminologist and early theoretician of public opinion, Gabriel Tarde (1901). Furthermore, he shows the connection between the related theory of optimal reception and the “truthful” recognition of forms in the Platonic tradition. Such ‘closed universes’ (of either messages or forms) are contrasted. For Diaz Nafría ‘understanding’ a message originally means the very fact of being able to provide correct answers to the possibilities offered by this message in a given situation. This ability evolves ‘over time’ from rudimentarily responding to messages, to a more complexly interpreting them.