A theory of meaning

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


"Meaning" is a key concept for understanding a variety of processes in living systems. However, due to its elusive nature and "subjective" appearance it has been neglected by information science. In this paper, I outline a theory of meaning and try to explain how one can determine the meaning of an indeterminate sign. Meaning-making is considered to be a procedure for extracting the information conveyed by a message, and information is considered to be the values one may assign to an indeterminate signal. In this context, meaning-making is described in terms of a constraint-satisfaction problem that relies heavily on contextual cues and inferences.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1435-1449
Number of pages15
JournalInformation Sciences
Issue number10
StatePublished - 20 Mar 2006


  • Computational semiotics
  • Foundations of information science
  • Gregory Bateson
  • Meaning
  • Meaning-making
  • Semiotics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software
  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Theoretical Computer Science
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Information Systems and Management
  • Artificial Intelligence


Dive into the research topics of 'A theory of meaning'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this