LIS as Applied Philosophy of Information: A Reappraisal

Library information science (LIS) should develop its foundation in terms of a philosophy of information (PI). This seems a rather harmless suggestion. Where else could information science look for its conceptual foundations if not in PI? However, accepting this proposal means moving away from one of the few solid alternatives currently available in the field, namely, providing LIS with a foundation in terms of social epistemology (SE). This is no trivial move, so some reasonable reluctance is to be expected. To overcome it, the proposal needs to be more than just acceptable; it must be convincing. In Floridi (2002a), I have articulated some of the reasons why I believe that PI can fulfill the foundationalist needs better than SE can. I won’t rehearse them here. I find them compelling, but I am ready to change my mind if counterarguments become available. Rather, in this contribution, I wish to clarify some aspects of my proposal (Floridi, 2002a) in favor of the interpretation of LIS as applied PI. I won’t try to show you that I am right in suggesting that PI may provide a foundation for LIS better than SE. My more modest goal is to remove some ambiguities and possible misunderstandings that might prevent the correct evaluation of my position, so that disagreement can become more constructive.
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