Philosophy of Computing and Information

Edited by Giuseppe Primiero (Università degli Studi di Milano)
37 found
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  1. added 2019-08-19
    Blockchain Narrative Ontologies.Nicolae Sfetcu - manuscript
    Social ontology is concerned with the nature of the social world, constituents, or building blocks of social entities in general. Some theories claim that social entities are built from people's psychological states, others are built up of actions, others from practice, and other theories deny that even a distinction can be made between social and non-social. There are different philosophical views on how the ontological significance of narrative can contribute to our understanding of the social world and the way in (...)
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  2. added 2019-08-18
    Information Research, Practice, and Education Continue to Invite and Benefit From Philosophy.Jesse David Dinneen - 2017 - Education for Information 33 (1):1-2.
    It has become easy to make a case for the relevance, richness, and importance of philosophical thinking for information research and practice. [Introduction to a special issue].
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  3. added 2019-08-17
    Nonrational Belief Paradoxes as Byzantine Failures.Ryan Miller - manuscript
    David Christensen and others argue that Dutch Strategies are more like peer disagreements than Dutch Books, and should not count against agents’ conformity to ideal rationality. I review these arguments, then show that Dutch Books, Dutch Strategies, and peer disagreements are only possible in the case of what computer scientists call Byzantine Failures—uncorrected Byzantine Faults which update arbitrary values. Yet such Byzantine Failures make agents equally vulnerable to all three kinds of epistemic inconsistencies, so there is no principled basis for (...)
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  4. added 2019-08-17
    Technology and the End of Western Civilisation: Spengler's and Heidegger's Histories of Life/Being.Gregory Morgan Swer - 2019 - Indo-Pacific Journal of Phenomenology 19 (1):1-10.
    Spengler’s work is typically represented as speculative philosophy of history. However, I argue that there is good reason to consider much of his thought as preoccupied with existential and phenomenological questions about the nature and ends of human existence, rather than with history per se. In this paper I consider Spengler’s work in comparison with Heidegger’s history of Being and analysis of technological modernity. I argue that Spengler’s considerable proximity to much of Heidegger’s thought compels us to reconsider the nature (...)
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  5. added 2019-08-16
    How Downwards Causation Occurs in Digital Computers.George Ellis - manuscript
    Digital computers carry out algorithms coded in high level programs. These abstract entities determine what happens at the physical level: they control whether electrons flow through specific transistors at specific times or not, entailing downward causation in both the logical and implementation hierarchies. This paper explores how this is possible in the light of the alleged causal completeness of physics at the bottom level, and highlights the mechanism that enables strong emergence (the manifest causal effectiveness of application programs) to occur. (...)
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  6. added 2019-08-14
    Blockchain Philosophy - Bitcoin.Nicolae Sfetcu - manuscript
    State features are affected by the connection with digital coins. Social systems create their own limits and remain alive according to their internal logic, which does not derive from the system environment. So, social systems are operationally and autonomously closed - interacting with their environment and there is a general increase in entropy, but individual systems work to maintain and preserve their internal order. Autopoietic systems (like the state, with the tendency to maintain the inner order with a remarkable degree (...)
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  7. added 2019-08-13
    La politica nell’era di internet. Vantaggi e pericoli.Elisa Grimi - 2015 - Quaderni Della Fondazione Professor Paolo Michele Erede 8 (a cura di M. Marsonet):65-77.
  8. added 2019-08-05
    Proof Theory for Positive Logic with Weak Negation.Marta Bílková & Almudena Colacito - forthcoming - Studia Logica:1-38.
    Proof-theoretic methods are developed for subsystems of Johansson’s logic obtained by extending the positive fragment of intuitionistic logic with weak negations. These methods are exploited to establish properties of the logical systems. In particular, cut-free complete sequent calculi are introduced and used to provide a proof of the fact that the systems satisfy the Craig interpolation property. Alternative versions of the calculi are later obtained by means of an appropriate loop-checking history mechanism. Termination of the new calculi is proved, and (...)
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  9. added 2019-07-27
    The Physics of Implementing Logic: Landauer's Principle and the Multiple-Computations Theorem.Meir Hemmo & Orly Shenker - forthcoming - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics.
    This paper makes a novel linkage between the multiple-computations theorem in philosophy of mind and Landauer’s principle in physics. The multiple-computations theorem implies that certain physical systems implement simultaneously more than one computation. Landauer’s principle implies that the physical implementation of “logically irreversible” functions is accompanied by minimal entropy increase. We show that the multiple-computations theorem is incompatible with, or at least challenges, the universal validity of Landauer’s principle. To this end we provide accounts of both ideas in terms of (...)
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  10. added 2019-07-22
    Real Patterns and Indispensability.Abel Suñé & Manolo Martínez - manuscript
    While scientific inquiry crucially relies on the extraction of patterns from data, we still have a very imperfect understanding of the metaphysics of patterns—and, in particular, of what it is that makes a pattern real. In this paper we derive a criterion of real-patternhood from the notion of conditional Kolmogorov complexity. The resulting account belongs in the philosophical tradition, initiated by Dennett, that links real-patternhood to data compressibility, but is simpler and formally more perspicuous than other proposals defended heretofore in (...)
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  11. added 2019-07-20
    Asymmetry in Online Social Networks.Marc Cheong - manuscript
    Varying degrees of symmetry can exist in a social network's connections. Some early online social networks (OSNs) were predicated on symmetrical connections, such as Facebook 'friendships' where both actors in a 'friendship' have an equal and reciprocal connection. Newer platforms -- Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook's 'Pages' inclusive -- are counterexamples of this, where 'following' another actor (friend, celebrity, business) does not guarantee a reciprocal exchange from the other. -/- This paper argues that the basic asymmetric connections in an OSN leads (...)
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  12. added 2019-07-19
    Values, Imagination, and Praxis: Towards A Value Sensitive Future with Technology. [REVIEW]Steven Umbrello - forthcoming - Science and Engineering Ethics.
    A new book by Batya Friedman and David G. Hendry, Value Sensitive Design: Shaping Technology with Moral Imagination, is reviewed. Value Sensitive Design is a project into the ethical and design issues that emerge during the engineering programs of new technologies. This book is intended to build on the over two decades of value sensitive design research, however with a greater emphasis on the developments of the theoretical underpinnings of the approach as well as initial steps that designers can employ (...)
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  13. added 2019-07-18
    Understanding From Machine Learning Models.Emily Sullivan - forthcoming - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science:axz035.
    Simple idealized models seem to provide more understanding than opaque, complex, and hyper-realistic models. However, an increasing number of scientists are going in the opposite direction by utilizing opaque machine learning models to make predictions and draw inferences, suggesting that scientists are opting for models that have less potential for understanding. Are scientists trading understanding for some other epistemic or pragmatic good when they choose a machine learning model? Or are the assumptions behind why minimal models provide understanding misguided? In (...)
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  14. added 2019-07-18
    Gender, Nature and the Oblivion of Being: The Outlines of a Heideggerian-Ecofeminist Philosophy.Gregory Morgan Swer - 2008 - Trumpeter: Journal of Ecosophy 24 (3):102-135.
  15. added 2019-07-17
    Technology, Autonomy, and Manipulation.Daniel Susser, Beate Roessler & Helen Nissenbaum - 2019 - Internet Policy Review 8 (2).
    Since 2016, when the Facebook/Cambridge Analytica scandal began to emerge, public concern has grown around the threat of “online manipulation”. While these worries are familiar to privacy researchers, this paper aims to make them more salient to policymakers — first, by defining “online manipulation”, thus enabling identification of manipulative practices; and second, by drawing attention to the specific harms online manipulation threatens. We argue that online manipulation is the use of information technology to covertly influence another person’s decision-making, by targeting (...)
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  16. added 2019-07-15
    Por Que as Revoluções Científicas Não Destroem os Objetos Técnicos?Daniel Durante Pereira Alves - 2013 - Filosofia Contemporânea: Lógica, Linguagem E Ciência.
    Parece um fato bastante trivial que quando uma teoria científica se torna obsoleta, por ter sido substituída por outra, isto não tem nenhuma consequência para os objetos técnicos compatíveis com a teoria antiga. Pretendo, neste ensaio, responder à questão bem menos óbvia de por que isto se dá. Como subproduto, apresento uma defesa da teoria da ciência de Thomas Kuhn. Para tanto, inicio mostrando como a teoria de Kuhn foi motivada por considerações sobre a história da ciência. Em seguida, defendo (...)
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  17. added 2019-07-13
    Hans Blumenberg’s Early Theory of Technology and History.Hannes Bajohr - 2019 - Graduate Faculty Philosophy Journal 40 (1):3-15.
  18. added 2019-07-12
    Philosophy of Blockchain Technology - Ontologies.Nicolae Sfetcu - manuscript
    About the necessity and usefulness of developing a philosophy specific to the blockchain technology, emphasizing on the ontological aspects. After an Introduction that highlights the main philosophical directions for this emerging technology, in Blockchain Technology I explain the way the blockchain works, discussing ontological development directions of this technology in Designing and Modeling. The next section is dedicated to the main application of blockchain technology, Bitcoin, with the social implications of this cryptocurrency. There follows a section of Philosophy in which (...)
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  19. added 2019-07-11
    Big Data.Nicolae Sfetcu - manuscript
    Termenul Big Data se referă la extragerea, manipularea și analiza unor seturi de date care sunt prea mari pentru a fi tratate în mod obișnuit. Din această cauză se utilizează software special și, în multe cazuri, și calculatoare și echipamente hardware special dedicate. În general la aceste date analiza se face statistic. Pe baza analizei datelor respective se fac de obicei predicții ale unor grupuri de persoane sau alte entități, pe baza comportamentului acestora în diverse situații și folosind tehnici analitice (...)
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  20. added 2019-07-11
    Big Data - Aspecte filosofice.Nicolae Sfetcu - manuscript
    Big Data poate genera, prin inferențe, noi cunoașteri și perspective. Paradigma care rezultă din utilizarea Big Data generează noi oportunități. Un motiv de îngrijorare majoră în cazul Big Data se datorează faptului că oamenii de știință de date tind să lucreze cu date despre subiectele pe care nu le cunosc și cu care nu au fost niciodată în contact, fiind înstrăinați de produsul final al activității lor (aplicarea analizelor). Un studiu recent afirmă că ceasta poate fi motivul unui fenomen cunoscut (...)
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  21. added 2019-07-09
    Types of Boltzmann Brains.Alexey Turchin & Roman Yampolskiy - manuscript
    Abstract. Boltzmann brains (BBs) are minds which randomly appear as a result of thermodynamic or quantum fluctuations. In this article, the question of if we are BBs, and the observational consequences if so, is explored. To address this problem, a typology of BBs is created, and the evidence is compared with the Simulation Argument. Based on this comparison, we conclude that while the existence of a “normal” BB is either unlikely or irrelevant, BBs with some ordering may have observable consequences. (...)
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  22. added 2019-07-08
    Technological Parables and Iconic Illustrations: American Technocracy and the Rhetoric of the Technological Fix.Sean F. Johnston - 2017 - History and Technology 33 (2):196-219.
    This paper traces the role of American technocrats in popularizing the notion later dubbed the “technological fix”. Channeled by their long-term “chief”, Howard Scott, their claim was that technology always provides the most effective solution to modern social, cultural and political problems. The account focuses on the expression of this technological faith, and how it was proselytized, from the era of high industrialism between the World Wars through, and beyond, the nuclear age. I argue that the packaging and promotion of (...)
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  23. added 2019-07-08
    Implanting a Discipline: The Academic Trajectory of Nuclear Engineering in the USA and UK.Sean F. Johnston - 2009 - Minerva 47 (1):51-73.
    The nuclear engineer emerged as a new form of recognised technical professional between 1940 and the early 1960s as nuclear fission, the chain reaction and their applications were explored. The institutionalization of nuclear engineering channelled into new national laboratories and corporate design offices during the decade after the war, and hurried into academic venues thereafter proved unusually dependent on government definition and support. This paper contrasts the distinct histories of the new discipline in the USA and UK (and, more briefly, (...)
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  24. added 2019-07-03
    Can Artificail Entities Assert?Ori Freiman & Boaz Miller - forthcoming - In Sanford C. Goldberg (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Assertion. Oxford, UK:
    There is an existing debate regarding the view that technological instruments, devices, or machines can assert ‎or testify. A standard view in epistemology is that only humans can testify. However, the notion of quasi-‎testimony acknowledges that technological devices can assert or testify under some conditions, without ‎denying that humans and machines are not the same. Indeed, there are four relevant differences between ‎humans and instruments. First, unlike humans, machine assertion is not imaginative or playful. Second, ‎machine assertion is prescripted and (...)
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  25. added 2019-07-03
    How We Became Our Data: A Genealogy of the Informational Person.Colin Koopman - 2019 - Chicago, IL, USA: University of Chicago Press.
    We are now acutely aware, as if all of the sudden, that data matters enormously to how we live. How did information come to be so integral to what we can do? How did we become people who effortlessly present our lives in social media profiles and who are meticulously recorded in state surveillance dossiers and online marketing databases? What is the story behind data coming to matter so much to who we are? -/- In How We Became Our Data, (...)
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  26. added 2019-06-28
    The Ethical Limits of Blockchain-Enabled Markets for Private IoT Data.Georgy Ishmaev - forthcoming - Philosophy and Technology:1-22.
    This paper looks at the development of blockchain technologies that promise to bring new tools for the management of private data, providing enhanced security and privacy to individuals. Particular interest present solutions aimed at reorganizing data flows in the Internet of Things architectures, enabling the secure and decentralized exchange of data between network participants. However, as this paper argues, the promised benefits are counterbalanced by a significant shift towards the propertization of private data, underlying these proposals. Considering the unique capacity (...)
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  27. added 2019-06-28
    Open Sourcing Normative Assumptions on Privacy and Other Moral Values in Blockchain Applications.Georgy Ishmaev - 2019 - Dissertation, Delft University of Technology
    The moral significance of blockchain technologies is a highly debated and polarised topic, ranging from accusations that cryptocurrencies are tools serving only nefarious purposes such as cybercrime and money laundering, to the assessment of blockchain technology as an enabler for revolutionary positive social transformations of all kinds. Such technological determinism, however, hardly provides insights of sufficient depth on the moral significance of blockchain technology. This thesis argues rather, that very much like the cryptographic tools before them, blockchains develop in a (...)
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  28. added 2019-06-16
    Welcoming Robots Into the Moral Circle: A Defence of Ethical Behaviourism.John Danaher - forthcoming - Science and Engineering Ethics:1-27.
    Can robots have significant moral status? This is an emerging topic of debate among roboticists and ethicists. This paper makes three contributions to this debate. First, it presents a theory – ‘ethical behaviourism’ – which holds that robots can have significant moral status if they are roughly performatively equivalent to other entities that have significant moral status. This theory is then defended from seven objections. Second, taking this theoretical position onboard, it is argued that the performative threshold that robots need (...)
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  29. added 2019-06-14
    Бітард як персонаж фольклору анонімних форумів.Kostiantyn Zadyraka - 2017 - NaUKMA Research Papers. History and Theory of Culture 191:26-28.
    Статтю присвячено феномену Інтернет-фольклору, який розглядається на прикладі візуального образу персонажа «бітард». Наведено деякі аргументи для обґрунтування доцільності вживання поняття «Інтернет-фольклор», описано особливості комунікації через специфічний тип анонімних форумів – іміджборд, а також процес формування фольклору іміджборд. Проаналізовано один із елементів цього фольклору – персонаж «бітард», як відображення досвіду користувачів форумів. Описано його визначальні риси та головні характеристики.
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  30. added 2019-06-14
    Віртуальне тіло: приклади соціальних мереж та анонімних форумів.Kostiantyn Zadyraka - 2016 - NaUKMA Research Papers. History and Theory of Culture 179:18-22.
    У статті досліджено феномен віртуальної тілесності, яка не тільки посідає важливе місце у сфері зацікавлення гуманітарних наук, а й увійшла як елемент повсякденності в життя значної частини сучасного людства завдяки мережі Інтернет. Розглянуто концепції поєднання віртуальності та тілесності, ключові підходи до аналізу цього поєднання. Предметом аналізу стали анонімні форуми як яскравий приклад конфігурації віртуального тіла, радикально відмінний від інших через анонімний спосіб репрезентації. Інформація, яку індивід викладає в публічний доступ, сприймається як його втілення в буквальному сенсі слова, а цифровий формат (...)
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  31. added 2019-06-13
    Conception et modèles de blockchain - Bitcoin.Nicolae Sfetcu - manuscript
    L'ingénierie ontologique, associé aux technologies du Web sémantique, permet la modélisation sémantique et le développement du flux opérationnel requis pour la conception de la technologie blockchain. Le système de modélisation blockchain le plus utilisé, par la représentation abstraite, la description et la définition de la structure, des processus, des informations et des ressources, est la modélisation des entreprises. La modélisation d'entreprise utilise des ontologies de domaine utilisant des langages de représentation du modèle. Bitcoin est le principal système de paiement pair-à-pair (...)
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  32. added 2019-06-03
    Glitch in the Matrix: Urban Legend or Evidence of the Simulation?Alexey Turchin & Roman Yampolskiy - manuscript
    Abstract: In the last decade, an urban legend about “glitches in the matrix” has become popular. As it is typical for urban legends, there is no evidence for most such stories, and the phenomenon could be explained as resulting from hoaxes, creepypasta, coincidence, and different forms of cognitive bias. In addition, the folk understanding of probability does not bear much resemblance to actual probability distributions, resulting in the illusion of improbable events, like the “birthday paradox”. Moreover, many such stories, even (...)
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  33. added 2019-06-02
    In Defense of the Post-Work Future: Withdrawal and the Ludic Life.John Danaher - forthcoming - In Michael Cholbi & Michael Weber (eds.), The Future of Work, Technology, and Basic Income. New York: Routledge. pp. 99-116.
    A basic income might be able to correct for the income related losses of unemployment, but what about the meaning/purpose related losses? For better or worse, many people derive meaning and fulfillment from the jobs they do; if their jobs are taken away, they lose this source of meaning. If we are about the enter an era of rampant job loss as a result of advances in technology, is there a danger that it will also be an era of rampant (...)
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  34. added 2019-05-31
    Data Science and Molecular Biology: Prediction and Mechanistic Explanation.Ezequiel López-Rubio & Emanuele Ratti - 2019 - Synthese:1-26.
    In the last few years, biologists and computer scientists have claimed that the introduction of data science techniques in molecular biology has changed the characteristics and the aims of typical outputs (i.e. models) of such a discipline. In this paper we will critically examine this claim. First, we identify the received view on models and their aims in molecular biology. Models in molecular biology are mechanistic and explanatory. Next, we identify the scope and aims of data science (machine learning in (...)
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  35. added 2019-05-30
    Does the Solar System Compute the Laws of Motion?Douglas Ian Campbell & Yi Yang - forthcoming - Synthese:1-18.
    The counterfactual account of physical computation is simple and, for the most part, very attractive. However, it is usually thought to trivialize the notion of physical computation insofar as it implies ‘limited pancomputationalism’, this being the doctrine that every deterministic physical system computes some function. Should we bite the bullet and accept limited pancomputationalism, or reject the counterfactual account as untenable? Jack Copeland would have us do neither of the above. He attempts to thread a path between the two horns (...)
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  36. added 2019-05-28
    Agent-Based Models and Simulations in Economics and Social Sciences: From Conceptual Exploration to Distinct Ways of Experimenting.Franck Varenne & Denis Phan - 2008 - In Nuno David, José Castro Caldas & Helder Coelho (eds.), Proceedings of the 3rd EPOS congress (Epistemological Perspectives On Simulations). Lisbon: pp. 51-69.
    Now that complex Agent-Based Models and computer simulations spread over economics and social sciences - as in most sciences of complex systems -, epistemological puzzles (re)emerge. We introduce new epistemological tools so as to show to what precise extent each author is right when he focuses on some empirical, instrumental or conceptual significance of his model or simulation. By distinguishing between models and simulations, between types of models, between types of computer simulations and between types of empiricity, section 2 gives (...)
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  37. added 2019-05-24
    Empowerment or Engagement? Digital Health Technologies for Mental Healthcare.Christopher Burr & Jessica Morley - manuscript
    We argue that while digital health technologies (e.g. artificial intelligence, smartphones, and virtual reality) present significant opportunities for improving the delivery of healthcare, key concepts that are used to evaluate and understand their impact can obscure significant ethical issues related to patient engagement and experience. Specifically, we focus on the concept of empowerment and ask whether it is adequate for addressing some significant ethical concerns that relate to digital health technologies for mental healthcare. We frame these concerns using five key (...)
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