Henry Mark Pease Reader in Telecommunication at the Imperial College of Science and Technology
If mine were the privilege of choosing, from among the Immortals, a patron saint of Communication, I should undoubtedly ask for twins -- gemini, John Locke and David Hume. As contributions to scientific method, their views upon reality and of our knowledge and understanding of reality have been outstanding from amongst the philosophers, in their permanence and penetration. Of all fields of science this is most certainly true of our present study of Communication, for it was communication, in its broadest and deepest sense, which formed the core of their enquiry. Knowledge of the real world; its expression in language and signs; its communicability; its use within social and ethical systems. The problems which they pursued are those which today form the common interest of psychologists, physiologists, linguists, sociologists, anthropologists, mathematicians... and the mathematically-minded engineer. This common interest we call Communication has grown at a quite alarming pace during the past decade -- a growth fertilised by a concentrated dose of mathematics, called Communication Theory.
In his great Essay,* Locke divided all that can fall within the compass of human understanding into three.† The first he called Physica ('the knowledge of things as they are... their constitutions, properties and operations'). The second, Practica ('the skill of right applying... which leads to happiness'). Finally, Semiotic (the 'doctrine of signs,... to consider the nature of signs the mind____________________