The concept of information overload: A preliminary step in understanding the nature of a harmful information-related condition [Book Review]

Ethics and Information Technology 9 (4):259-272 (2007)
Abstract
The amount of content, both on and offline, to which people in reasonably affluent nations have access has increased to the point that it has raised concerns that we are now suffering from a harmful condition of ‹information overload.’ Although the phrase is being used more frequently, the concept is not yet well understood – beyond expressing the rather basic idea of having access to more information than is good for us. This essay attempts to provide a philosophical explication of the concept of information overload and is therefore what philosophers call ‹conceptual analysis’ – a task that, along with normative ethical analysis, is distinctive to Anglo-American style analytic philosophy. I will begin with an analysis of the atomic concepts expressed by the terms ‹information’ and ‹overload’ and then attempt to give a philosophical explanation of the concept of information overload that more precisely identifies exactly what the condition amounts to.
Keywords attention  information ethics  information excess  information overload  information problem  normative standards  technostress
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