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Summary The philosophy of information is the branch of philosophy devoted to the thematic study of information in all its forms, and to the application of informational methods to new and traditional philosophical problems. The philosophy of information is not limited to any particular doctrine or methodology; rather, it is unified by its central focus on information as it plays out in both theory and practice. Examples of topics addressed by the philosophy of information include, among others: the nature of information; the modalities of information processing; the relations between information, knowledge, and meaning; the informational nature of mental life; the informational interpretation of reality; the value of information; the role of information in society and human interactions; and the politics of information.
Key works Though the Philosophy of Information as discipline is fairly new, works that can be labelled as belonging to one or more of the related sub-disciplines can be found at least since the Sixties. In particular for the relation with knowledge and logic: Bar-Hillel & Carnap 1953 and Dretske 1981. For a comprehensive approach of the current debates see Adriaans & van Benthem 2008 and Floridi 2011.
Introductions Adriaans 2012; Introduction in Adriaans & van Benthem 2008 and Floridi 2011; Floridi 2010; Floridi 2002.
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  1. Fred Adams (2010). Information and Knowledge à la Floridi. Metaphilosophy 41 (3):331-344.
    Abstract: Luciano Floridi has impressively applied the concept of information to problems in semantics and epistemology, among other areas. In this essay, I briefly review two areas where I think one may usefully raise questions about some of Floridi's conclusions. One area is in the project to naturalize semantics and Floridi's use of the derived versus nonderived notion of semantic content. The other area is in the logic of information and knowledge and whether knowledge based on information necessarily supports closure, (...)
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  2. Frederick R. Adams (2003). The Informational Turn in Philosophy. Minds and Machines 13 (4):471-501.
    This paper traces the application of information theory to philosophical problems of mind and meaning from the earliest days of the creation of the mathematical theory of communication. The use of information theory to understand purposive behavior, learning, pattern recognition, and more marked the beginning of the naturalization of mind and meaning. From the inception of information theory, Wiener, Turing, and others began trying to show how to make a mind from informational and computational materials. Over the last 50 years, (...)
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  3. Pieter Adriaans (2010). A Critical Analysis of Floridi’s Theory of Semantic Information. Knowledge, Technology and Policy 23 (1-2):41-56.
    n various publications over the past years, Floridi has developed a theory of semantic information as well-formed, meaningful, and truthful data. This theory is more or less orthogonal to the standard entropy-based notions of information known from physics, information theory, and computer science that all define the amount of information in a certain system as a scalar value without any direct semantic implication. In this context the question rises what the exact relation between these various conceptions of information is and (...)
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  4. Pieter Adriaans & Johan van Benthem (2008). Handbook of Philosophy of Information. Elsevier.
    Information is a recognized fundamental notion across the sciences and humanities, which is crucial to understanding physical computation, communication, and human cognition. The Philosophy of Information brings together the most important perspectives on information. It includes major technical approaches, while also setting out the historical backgrounds of information as well as its contemporary role in many academic fields. Also, special unifying topics are high-lighted that play across many fields, while we also aim at identifying relevant themes for philosophical reflection. There (...)
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  5. Patrick Allo (2010). Putting Information First: Luciano Floridi and the Philosophy of Information. Metaphilosophy 41 (3):247-254.
    Abstract: The core aim of this special issue is to present the philosophy of information as a way of doing philosophy, to focus on the contributions of Luciano Floridi to that area, and most important, to stimulate the debate on the most distinctive and controversial views he has defended in that context. This introduction contains a description of the philosophy of information, a discussion of two common misconceptions about the scope and the ambition of the philosophy of information, and a (...)
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  6. Bernardo Alonso (2014). Indexicals in Virtual Environments. Open Journal of Philosophy 4 (2):134-140.
    In this paper I explored three well-known cases that seem to cast doubt on the notion that a speaker is always at the place of the utterance when the utterance occurs. I gave a few examples produced in Second Life environment, which cannot be handled correctly by evaluating the expression at issue with respect to the traditional view, i.e., the kaplanian framework—where the agent and the utterer will always be identical, and the referent of “I” will always be the utterer. (...)
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  7. Anthony Beavers (2011). Luciano Floridi: Information: A Very Short Introduction. [REVIEW] Minds and Machines 21 (1):97-101.
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  8. Anthony F. Beavers, Luciano Floridi, Philosophy and Computing: An Introduction, Routledge, 1999.
    Luciano Floridi’s Philosophy and Computing: An Introduction is a survey of some important ideas that ground the newly emerging area of philosophy known, thanks to Floridi, as the philosophy of information. It was written as a textbook for philosophy students interested in the digital age, but is probably more useful for postgraduates who want to investigate intersections between philosophy and computer science, information theory and ICT (information and communications technology). The book is divided into five independent chapters followed by a (...)
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  9. Anthony F. Beavers (2011). Historicizing Floridi. Etica and Politica / Ethics and Politics (2):255-275.
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  10. Anthony F. Beavers & Derek Jones (2014). Philosophy in the Age of Information: A Symposium on Luciano Floridi's The Philosophy of Information. [REVIEW] Minds and Machines 24 (1):1-3.
    This special issue of Minds and Machines contains a number of responses to Luciano Floridi’s groundbreaking Philosophy of Information (Oxford 2011). The essays contained here have been grouped by topic; essays 1–5 concern epistemological features of Floridi’s approach, and essays 6–8 address his metaphysics.In “On Floridi’s Method of Levels ofion”, Jan van Leeuwen addresses Floridi’s operational definition of a level of abstraction. Emphasizing the link between Floridi’s notion of abstraction and that used in computer science, van Leeuven notes that the (...)
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  11. Sara Cannizzaro (2013). Where Did Information Go? Reflections on the Logical Status of Information in a Cybernetic and Semiotic Perspective. Biosemiotics 6 (1):105-123.
    This article explores the usefulness of interdisciplinarity as method of enquiry by proposing an investigation of the concept of information in the light of semiotics. This is because, as Kull, Deacon, Emmeche, Hoffmeyer and Stjernfelt state, information is an implicitly semiotic term (Biological Theory 4(2):167–173, 2009: 169), but the logical relation between semiosis and information has not been sufficiently clarified yet. Across the history of cybernetics, the concept of information undergoes an uneven development; that is, information is an ‘objective’ entity (...)
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  12. Rafael Capurro (2008). On Floridi's Metaphysical Foundation of Information Ecology. Ethics and Information Technology 10 (2-3):167-173.
  13. Simon D'Alfonso (2010). Review of "Information: A Very Short Introduction&Quot;. [REVIEW] Essays in Philosophy 11 (2):238-243.
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  14. Gordana Dodig Crnkovic & Susan Stuart (eds.) (2007). Computation, Information, Cognition: The Nexus and the Liminal. Cambridge Scholars Press.
    Written by world-leading experts, this book draws together a number of important strands in contemporary approaches to the philosophical and scientific questions that emerge when dealing with the issues of computing, information, cognition and the conceptual issues that arise at their intersections. It discovers and develops the connections at the borders and in the interstices of disciplines and debates. This volume presents a range of essays that deal with the currently vigorous concerns of the philosophy of information, ontology creation and (...)
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  15. Gordana Dodig-Crnkovic (2009). Information and Computation Nets. Investigations Into Info-Computational World. Vdm.
    The book presents investigations into the world of info-computational nature, in which information constitutes the structure, while computational process amounts to its change. Information and computation are inextricably bound: There is no computation without informational structure, and there is no information without computational process. Those two complementary ideas are used to build a conceptual net, which according to Novalis is a theoretical way of capturing reality. We apprehend the reality within a framework known as natural computationalism, the view that the (...)
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  16. Massimo Durante (2010). The Value of Information as Ontological Pluralism. Knowledge, Technology and Policy 23 (1):149-161.
    In my paper I will focus my attention on some philosophical aspects of the Information Ethics displayed by Luciano Floridi. Floridi’s Information Ethics has the methodological merit of providing the interpretation of the Informational Turn with a solid philosophical basis, the roots of which deserve a careful investigation. In this perspective, I will analyse a key question, which is essential not only from a theoretical but also from a practical (moral, political and legal) point of view, i.e. whether or not (...)
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  17. David Ellerman (2013). An Introduction to Logical Entropy and its Relation to Shannon Entropy. International Journal of Semantic Computing 7 (2):121-145.
    The logical basis for information theory is the newly developed logic of partitions that is dual to the usual Boolean logic of subsets. The key concept is a "distinction" of a partition, an ordered pair of elements in distinct blocks of the partition. The logical concept of entropy based on partition logic is the normalized counting measure of the set of distinctions of a partition on a finite set--just as the usual logical notion of probability based on the Boolean logic (...)
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  18. Don Fallis (2011). Floridi on Disinformation. Etica and Politica / Ethics and Politics (2):201-214.
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  19. L. Floridi (ed.) (2004). The Blackwell Guide to the Philosophy of Computing and Information. Blackwell.
    This Guide provides an ambitious state-of-the-art survey of the fundamental themes, problems, arguments and theories constituting the philosophy of computing.
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  20. Luciano Floridi (2013). Pasos a seguir para la filosofía de la información. Revista Interamericana de Bibliotecología 35 (2):213-218.
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  21. Luciano Floridi (2010). The Philosophy of Information: Ten Years Later. Metaphilosophy 41 (3):402-419.
    Abstract: This article provides replies to, and comments on, the contributions to the special issue on the philosophy of information. It seeks to highlight con-vergences and points of potential agreement, while offering clarifications and further details. It also answers some criticisms and replies to some objections articulated in the special issue.
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  22. Luciano Floridi (2010). The Philosophy of Information as a Conceptual Framework. Knowledge, Technology and Policy 23 (1):1-31.
    The article contains the replies to the collection of contributions discussing my research on the philosophy of information.
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  23. Luciano Floridi (2009). Logical Fallacies as Informational Shortcuts. Synthese 167 (2):317 - 325.
    The paper argues that the two best known formal logical fallacies, namely denying the antecedent (DA) and affirming the consequent (AC) are not just basic and simple errors, which prove human irrationality, but rather informational shortcuts, which may provide a quick and dirty way of extracting useful information from the environment. DA and AC are shown to be degraded versions of Bayes’ theorem, once this is stripped of some of its probabilities. The less the probabilities count, the closer these fallacies (...)
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  24. Jean-Gabriel Ganascia (2010). Epistemology of AI Revisited in the Light of the Philosophy of Information. Knowledge, Technology and Policy 23 (1-2):57-73.
    Artificial intelligence has often been seen as an attempt to reduce the natural mind to informational processes and, consequently, to naturalize philosophy. The many criticisms that were addressed to the so-called “old-fashioned AI” do not concern this attempt itself, but the methods it used, especially the reduction of the mind to a symbolic level of abstraction, which has often appeared to be inadequate to capture the richness of our mental activity. As a consequence, there were many efforts to evacuate the (...)
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  25. Donald Gillies (2010). Informational Realism and World 3. Knowledge, Technology and Policy 23 (1-2):7-24.
    This paper takes up a suggestion made by Floridi that the digital revolution is bringing about a profound change in our metaphysics. The paper aims to bring some older views from philosophy of mathematics to bear on this problem. The older views are concerned principally with mathematical realism—that is the claim that mathematical entities such as numbers exist. The new context for the discussion is informational realism, where the problem shifts to the question of the reality of information. Mathematical realism (...)
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  26. Claudio Gnoli (2008). Facets: A Fruitful Notion in Many Domains. [REVIEW] Axiomathes 18 (2):127-130.
    Introduction to a special issue on facet analysis.
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  27. Stevan Harnad (2011). Lunch Uncertain [Review Of: Floridi, Luciano (2011) The Philosophy of Information (Oxford)]. [REVIEW] Times Literary Supplement 5664 (22-23).
    The usual way to try to ground knowing according to contemporary theory of knowledge is: We know something if (1) it’s true, (2) we believe it, and (3) we believe it for the “right” reasons. Floridi proposes a better way. His grounding is based partly on probability theory, and partly on a question/answer network of verbal and behavioural interactions evolving in time. This is rather like modeling the data-exchange between a data-seeker who needs to know which button to press on (...)
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  28. Ken Herold (2004). Introduction to The Philosophy of Information. Library Trends 52 (3):373-376.
  29. Ken Herold (2003). An Information Continuum Conjecture. Minds and Machines 13 (4):553-566.
    Turing tersely mentioned a notion of ``cultural search'' while otherwise deeply engaged in the design and operations of one of the earliest computers. His idea situated the individual squarely within a collaborative intellectual environment, but did he mean to suggest this in the form of a general information system? In the same writing Turing forecast mechanizations of proofs and outlined genetical searches, much later implemented in cellular automata. The conjecture explores the networked data-information-knowledge continuum as the subject of Turing's notions (...)
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  30. Wolfgang Hofkirchner (2010). How to Design the Infosphere: The Fourth Revolution, the Management of the Life Cycle of Information, and Information Ethics as a Macroethics. [REVIEW] Knowledge, Technology and Policy 23 (1-2):177-192.
    The paper reconstructs the read thread that links the information revolution, the information concept and information ethics in Floridi’s philosophy of information. In doing so, it acknowledges the grand attempt but doubts whether this attempt is up to the state of affairs concerning the actual point human history has reached. It contends that the information age is rather conceivable as a critical stage in which human evolution as a whole is at stake. The mastering of this crisis depends on an (...)
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  31. Eric T. Kerr & Duncan Pritchard (2012). Skepticism and Information. In Hilmi Demir (ed.), Philosophy of Engineering and Technology Volume 8. Springer.
    Philosophers of information, according to Luciano Floridi (The philosophy of information. Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2010, p 32), study how information should be “adequately created, processed, managed, and used.” A small number of epistemologists have employed the concept of information as a cornerstone of their theoretical framework. How this concept can be used to make sense of seemingly intractable epistemological problems, however, has not been widely explored. This paper examines Fred Dretske’s information-based epistemology, in particular his response to radical epistemological (...)
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  32. Catherine Legg (2013). Peirce, Meaning, and the Semantic Web. Semiotica 2013 (193):119-143.
    This paper seeks an explanation for the challenges faced by Semantic Web developers in achieving their vision, compared to the staggering near-instantaneous success of the World Wide Web. To this end it contrasts two broad philosophical understandings of meaning and argues that the choice between them carries real consequences for how developers attempt to engineer the Semantic Web. The first is Rene Descartes’ ‘private’, static account of meaning (arguably dominant for the last 400 years in Western thought) which understands the (...)
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  33. Gang Liu (2007). Philosophy of Information and Foundation for the Future Chinese Philosophy of Science and Technology. Frontiers of Philosophy in China 2 (1):95-114.
    The research programme of the philosophy of information (PI) proposed in 2002 made it an independent area or discipline in philosophical research. The scientific concept of ‘information’ is formally accepted in philosophical inquiry. Hence a new and tool-driven philosophical discipline of PI with its interdisciplinary nature has been established. Philosophy of information is an ‘orientative’ rather than ‘cognitive’ philosophy. When PI is under consideration in the history of Western philosophy, it can be regarded as a shift of large tradition. There (...)
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  34. Carl Mitcham (2010). Philosophy of Information Technology. In Craig Hanks (ed.), Technology and Values: Essential Readings. Wiley-Blackwell.
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  35. Panu Raatikainen (1998). Complexity and Information. ”, Reports From the Department of Philosophy, University of Helsinki, 2.
    \Complexity" is a catchword of certain extremely popular and rapidly developing interdisciplinary new sciences, often called accordingly the sciences of complexity1. It is often closely associated with another notably popular but ambiguous word, \information" information, in turn, may be justly called the central new concept in the whole 20th century science. Moreover, the notion of information is regularly coupled with a key concept of thermodynamics, viz. entropy. And like this was not enough, it is quite usual to add one more, (...)
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  36. Brian Rabern & Landon Rabern (2008). A Simple Solution to the Hardest Logic Puzzle Ever. Analysis 68 (2):105-112.
    We present the simplest solution ever to 'the hardest logic puzzle ever'. We then modify the puzzle to make it even harder and give a simple solution to the modified puzzle. The final sections investigate exploding god-heads and a two-question solution to the original puzzle.
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  37. Emanuele Ratti (2014). Levels of Abstraction, Emergentism and Artificial Life. Journal of Experimental & Theoretical Artificial Intelligence:1-12.
    I diagnose the current debate between epistemological and ontological emergentism as a Kantian antinomy, which has reasonable but irreconcilable thesis and antithesis. Kantian antinomies have recently returned to contemporary philosophy in part through the work of Luciano Floridi, and the method of levels of abstraction. I use a thought experiment concerning a computer simulation to show how to resolve the epistemological/ontological antinomy about emergence. I also use emergentism and simulations in artificial life to illuminate both levels of abstraction and theoretical (...)
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  38. Darrell P. Rowbottom (forthcoming). Information Versus Knowledge in Confirmation Theory. Logique Et Analyse.
    I argue that so-called 'background knowledge' in confirmation theory has little, if anything, to do with 'knowledge' in the sense of mainstream epistemology. I argue that it is better construed as 'background information', which need not be believed in, justified, or true.
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  39. Barry Smith (2009). Signs and Meanings. In Peer Bundgaard & Frederik Stjernfelt (eds.), Signs and Meanings: Five Questions. Automatic Press.
    A background piece on the role of ontology in technology research, focusing especially on the use-mention confusion.
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  40. Tim Stevens (2013). Information Warfare: A Response to Taddeo. Philosophy and Technology 26 (2):221-225.
    Taddeo’s recent article, ‘Information Warfare: A Philosophical Perspective’ (Philos. Technol. 25:105–120, 2012) is a useful addition to the literature on information communications technologies (ICTs) and warfare. In this short response, I draw attention to two issues arising from the article. The first concerns the applicability of ‘information warfare’ terminology to current political and military discourse, on account of its relative lack of contemporary usage. The second engages with the political and ethical implications of treating ICT environments as a ‘domain’, with (...)
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  41. Orlin Vakarelov (2013). From Interface to Correspondence: Recovering Classical Representations in a Pragmatic Theory of Semantic Information. [REVIEW] Minds and Machines (3):1-25.
    One major fault line in foundational theories of cognition is between the so-called “representational” and “non-representational” theories. Is it possible to formulate an intermediate approach for a foundational theory of cognition by defining a conception of representation that may bridge the fault line? Such an account of representation, as well as an account of correspondence semantics, is offered here. The account extends previously developed agent-based pragmatic theories of semantic information, where meaning of an information state is defined by its interface (...)
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  42. Orlin Vakarelov (2011). The Cognitive Agent: Overcoming Informational Limits. Adaptive Behavior 19 (2):83-100.
    This article provides an answer to the question: What is the function of cognition? By answering this question it becomes possible to investigate what are the simplest cognitive systems. It addresses the question by treating cognition as a solution to a design problem. It defines a nested sequence of design problems: (1) How can a system persist? (2) How can a system affect its environment to improve its persistence? (3) How can a system utilize better information from the environment to (...)
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  43. Ingrid Van Camp (1989). Information Processing: From a Mechanistic to a Natural Systems Approach. Why Connectionism is Compatible with the Idea of an Active Information Processor. Philosophica 44.
  44. Gregory Wheeler & Pedro Barahona (2012). Why the Hardest Logic Puzzle Ever Cannot Be Solved in Less Than Three Questions. Journal of Philosophical Logic 41 (2):493-503.
    Rabern and Rabern (Analysis 68:105–112 2 ) and Uzquiano (Analysis 70:39–44 4 ) have each presented increasingly harder versions of ‘the hardest logic puzzle ever’ (Boolos The Harvard Review of Philosophy 6:62–65 1 ), and each has provided a two-question solution to his predecessor’s puzzle. But Uzquiano’s puzzle is different from the original and different from Rabern and Rabern’s in at least one important respect: it cannot be solved in less than three questions. In this paper we solve Uzquiano’s puzzle (...)
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  45. Marty J. Wolf (2011). Analysis, Clarification and Extension of the Theory of Strongly Semantic Information. Etica and Politica / Ethics and Politics (2):246-254.
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  46. R. A. Young (2004). Wittgenstein's Tractatus Project as Philosophy of Information. Minds and Machines 14 (1):119-132.
    It is argued that the Tractatus Project of Logical Atomism, in which the world is conceived of as the totality of independent atomic facts, can usefully be understood by conceiving of each fact as a bit in logical space. Wittgenstein himself thinks in terms of logical space. His elementary propositions, which express atomic facts, are interpreted as tuples of co-ordinates which specify the location of a bit in logical space. He says that signs for elementary propositions are arrangements of names. (...)
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