We present the methodological principles underlying the scientific activities of the DHST Commission on the History and Philosophy of Computing. This volume collects refereed selected papers from the First International Conference organized by the Commission.
This volume offers very selected papers from the 2014 conference of the “International Association for Computing and Philosophy” (IACAP) - a conference tradition of 28 years. - - - Table of Contents - 0 Vincent C. Müller: - Editorial - 1) Philosophy of computing - 1 Çem Bozsahin: - What is a computational constraint? - 2 Joe Dewhurst: - Computing Mechanisms and Autopoietic Systems - 3 Vincenzo Fano, Pierluigi Graziani, Roberto Macrelli and Gino Tarozzi: - (...) Are Gandy Machines really local? - 4 Doukas Kapantais: - A refutation of the Church-Turing thesis according to some interpretation of what the thesis says - 5 Paul Schweizer: - In What Sense Does the Brain Compute? - 2) Philosophy of computer science & discovery - 6 Mark Addis, Peter Sozou, Peter C R Lane and Fernand Gobet: - Computational Scientific Discovery and Cognitive Science Theories - 7 Nicola Angius and Petros Stefaneas: - Discovering Empirical Theories of Modular Software Systems. An Algebraic Approach. - 8 Selmer Bringsjord, John Licato, Daniel Arista, Naveen Sundar Govindarajulu and Paul Bello: - Introducing the Doxastically Centered Approach to Formalizing Relevance Bonds in Conditionals - 9 Orly Stettiner: - From Silico to Vitro: - Computational Models of Complex Biological Systems Reveal Real-world Emergent Phenomena - 3) Philosophy of cognition & intelligence - 10 Douglas Campbell: - Why We Shouldn’t Reason Classically, and the Implications for Artificial Intelligence - 11 Stefano Franchi: - Cognition as Higher Order Regulation - 12 Marcello Guarini: - Eliminativisms, Languages of Thought, & the Philosophy of Computational Cognitive Modeling - 13 Marcin Miłkowski: - A Mechanistic Account of Computational Explanation in Cognitive Science and Computational Neuroscience - 14 Alex Tillas: - Internal supervision & clustering: - A new lesson from ‘old’ findings? - 4) Computing & society - 15 Vasileios Galanos: - Floridi/Flusser: - Parallel Lives in Hyper/Posthistory - 16 Paul Bello: - Machine Ethics and Modal Psychology - 17 Marty J. Wolf and Nir Fresco: - My Liver Is Broken, Can You Print Me a New One? - 18 Marty J. Wolf, Frances Grodzinsky and Keith W. Miller: - Robots, Ethics and Software – FOSS vs. Proprietary Licenses. (shrink)
Immanuel Kant famously defined philosophy to be about three questions: “What can I know? What should I do? What can I hope for?” (KrV, B833). I want to suggest that the three questions of our course on the philosophy of computing are: What is computing? What should we do with computing? What could computing do?
European Computing and Philosophy conference, 2–4 July Barcelona The Seventh ECAP (European Computing and Philosophy) conference was organized by Jordi Vallverdu at Autonomous University of Barcelona. The conference started with the IACAP (The International Association for CAP) presidential address by Luciano Floridi, focusing on mechanisms of knowledge production in informational networks. The first keynote delivered by Klaus Mainzer made a frame for the rest of the conference, by elucidating the fundamental role of complexity of informational structures (...) that can be analyzed on different levels of organization giving place for variety of possible approaches which converge in this cross-disciplinary and multi-disciplinary research field. Keynotes by Kevin Warwick about re-embodiment of rats’ neurons into robots, Raymond Turner on syntax and semantics in programming languages, Roderic Guigo on Biocomputing Sciences and Francesco Subirada on the past and future of supercomputing presented different topics of philosophical as well as practical aspects of computing. Vonference tracks included: Philosophy of Information (Patrick Allo), Philosophy of Computer Science (Raymond Turner), Computer and Information Ethics (Johnny Søraker and Alison Adam), Computational Approaches to the Mind (Ruth Hagengruber), IT and Cultural Diversity (Jutta Weber and Charles Ess), Crossroads (David Casacuberta), Robotics, AI & Ambient Intelligence (Thomas Roth-Berghofer), Biocomputing, Evolutionary and Complex Systems (Gordana Dodig Crnkovic and Søren Brier), E-learning, E-science and Computer-Supported Cooperative Work (Annamaria Carusi) and Technological Singularity and Acceleration Studies (Amnon Eden). (shrink)
This book features papers from CEPE-IACAP 2015, a joint international conference focused on the philosophy of computing. Inside, readers will discover essays that explore current issues in epistemology, philosophy of mind, logic, and philosophy of science from the lens of computation. Coverage also examines applied issues related to ethical, social, and political interest. -/- The contributors first explore how computation has changed philosophical inquiry. Computers are now capable of joining humans in exploring foundational issues. Thus, we (...) can ponder machine-generated explanation, thought, agency, and other quite fascinating concepts. The papers are also concerned with normative aspects of the computer and information technology revolution. They examine technology-specific analyses of key challenges, from Big Data to autonomous robots to expert systems for infrastructure control and financial services. -/- The virtue of a collection that ranges over philosophical questions, such as this one does, lies in the prospects for a more integrated understanding of issues. These are early days in the partnership between philosophy and information technology. Philosophers and researchers are still sorting out many foundational issues. They will need to deploy all of the tools of philosophy to establish this foundation. This volume admirably showcases those tools in the hands of some excellent scholars. -/- . (shrink)
_Philosophy and Computing_ explores each of the following areas of technology: the digital revolution; the computer; the Internet and the Web; CD-ROMs and Mulitmedia; databases, textbases, and hypertexts; Artificial Intelligence; the future of computing. Luciano Floridi shows us how the relationship between philosophy and computing provokes a wide range of philosophical questions: is there a philosophy of information? What can be achieved by a classic computer? How can we define complexity? What are the limits of quantam (...) computers? Is the Internet an intellectual space or a polluted environment? What is the paradox in the Strong Artificial Intlligence program? _Philosophy and Computing_ is essential reading for anyone wishing to fully understand both the development and history of information and communication technology as well as the philosophical issues it ultimately raises. (shrink)
Because the label "computing and philosophy" can seem like an ad hoc attempt to tie computing to philosophy, it is important to explain why it is not, what it studies (or does) and how it differs from research in, say, "computing and history," or "computing and biology". The American Association for History and Computing is "dedicated to the reasonable and productive marriage of history and computer technology for teaching, researching and representing history through (...) scholarship and public history" (http://theaahc.org). More pervasive, work in computing and biology enjoys the convenient name of "bioinformatics...the science of using information to understand biology..., a subset of the larger field of computational biology, the application of quantitative analytical techniques in modeling biological systems" (http://oreilly.com/catalog/bioskills/chapter/ ch01.html). The recent venture of the Association for Computing Machinery and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers to publish the Transactions on Computational Biology and Bioinformatics (TCBB) bears witness to the reach of computing and biology and underscores its objective. TCBB intends to report "archival research results related to the algorithmic, mathematical, statistical, and computational methods that are central in bioinformatics and computational biology; the development and testing of effective computer programs in bioinformatics; the development and optimization of biological databases; and important biological results that are obtained from the use of these methods, programs, and databases" (http://tcbb.acm.org). In the case of "computing and history" and "bioinformatics," each discipline stands in a particular relationship to computers that raises questions unique to itself. But both are devoted to the development of computational tools to aid discovery.. (shrink)
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 worthy, though impressionistic, afterthought under the title of the conclusion. Chapter One, “Divide et Computa: Philosophy and the Digital Environment,” begins by outlining four topics to consider when examining the significance of the digital revolution: 1) computation, 2) automatic control, 3) modeling and virtual reality, and 4) information management. This preliminary outline is followed by a brief historical consideration of the transition from analogue to digital information processing and the importance of “digitization” for developing mechanical means to manage information. According to Floridi, this digitization has occurred in three main areas. Regarding the scope of digitized content, we have moved from numerical data to sounds and images. At the same time, our interfaces to the computer have become less digital and more humane. Graphical user interfaces and WYSIWYG software have quickly replaced punch cards. In the area of connectivity, we have moved from the mainframe to the Internet, hence, to the possibility of a global information network. Together these transformations are accelerating the evolution of the infosphere and consequently its dramatic effect on the shape of society. These changes are of world historical significance, thus worthy of philosophical investigation, as the last part of the chapter shows.. (shrink)
Philosophers and others concerned with the moral good of personal privacy most often see threats to privacy raised by the development of pervasive computing as primarily being threats to the loss of control over personal information. Two reasons in particular lend this approach plausibility. One reason is that the parallels between pervasive computing and ordinary networked computing, where everyday transactions over the Internet raise concerns about personal information privacy, appear stronger than their differences. Another reason is that (...) the individual devices which can become linked in a pervasive computing environment: PDAs, GPS sensors, RFID chips/readers, publicly-located video surveillance cameras, Internet-enabled mobile phones, and the like, each raise threats to individual privacy. Without discounting the value of this approach, this paper aims to propose an alternative; and, as a result of recasting the threat to individual privacy from pervasive computing, to identify other, and deeper, moral goods that pervasive computing puts at risk that otherwise might remain concealed. In particular, I argue that pervasive computing threatens to compromise what I call existential autonomy: the right to decide for ourselves at least some of the existential conditions under which we form and develop our ways of life, including our relations to information technology. From this perspective, some moral goods at stake in protecting privacy in an environment of pervasive computing emerge that have less to do with furthering human well-being through the promotion of self-identity and subjectivity, than with stimulating curiosity, receptivity to difference, and, most broadly, openness to the world. (shrink)
Over the last four decades computers and the internet have become an intrinsic part of all our lives, but this speed of development has left related philosophical enquiry behind. Featuring the work of computer scientists and philosophers, these essays provide an overview of an exciting new area of philosophy that is still taking shape.
Computing is changing the traditional field of Philosophy of Science in a very profound way. First as a methodological tool, computing makes possible ``experimental Philosophy'' which is able to provide practical tests for different philosophical ideas. At the same time the ideal object of investigation of the Philosophy of Science is changing. For a long period of time the ideal science was Physics (e.g., Popper, Carnap, Kuhn, and Chalmers). Now the focus is shifting to the (...) field of Computing/Informatics. There are many good reasons for this paradigm shift, one of those being a long standing need of a new meeting between the sciences and humanities, for which the new discipline of Computing/Informatics gives innumerable possibilities. Contrary to Physics, Computing/Informatics is very much human-centered. It brings a potential for a new Renaissance, where Science and Humanities, Arts and Engineering can reach a new synthesis, so very much needed in our intellectually split culture. This paper investigates contemporary trends and the relation between the Philosophy of Science and the Philosophy of Computing and Information, which is equivalent to the present relation between Philosophy of Science and Philosophy of Physics. (shrink)
Since the birth of computing as an academic discipline, the disciplinary identity of computing has been debated fiercely. The most heated question has concerned the scientific status of computing. Some consider computing to be a natural science and some consider it to be an experimental science. Others argue that computing is bad science, whereas some say that computing is not a science at all. This survey article presents viewpoints for and against computing as (...) a science. Those viewpoints are analyzed against basic positions in the philosophy of science. The article aims at giving the reader an overview, background, and a historical and theoretical frame of reference for understanding and interpreting some central questions in the debates about the disciplinary identity of computer science. The article argues that much of the discussion about the scientific nature of computing is misguided due to a deep conceptual uncertainty about science in general as well as computing in particular. (shrink)
The issue of proper functioning of operative computing and the utility of program verification, both in general and of specific methods, has been discussed a lot. In many of those discussions, attempts have been made to take mathematics as a model of knowledge and certitude achieving, and accordingly infer about the suitable ways to handle computing. I shortly review three approaches to the subject, and then take a stance by considering social factors which affect the epistemic status of (...) both mathematics and computing. I use the analogy between mathematics and computing in reverse—that is to say, I consider operative computing as a form of making mathematics, and so attempt to learn from computing to mathematics in general. I conclude that mathematics engineering is a field to be both developed for practical improvement of doing mathematics and taken into consideration while philosophizing about mathematics as well. (shrink)
I describe the emergence of Floridi’s philosophy of information (PI) and information ethics (IE) against the larger backdrop of Information and Computer Ethics (ICE). Among their many strengths, PI and IE offer promising metaphysical and ethical frameworks for a global ICE that holds together globally shared norms with the irreducible differences that define local cultural and ethical traditions. I then review the major defenses and critiques of PI and IE offered by contributors to this special issue, and highlight Floridi’s (...) responses to especially two central problems – the charge of relativism and the meaning of ‹entropy’ in IE. These responses, conjoined with several elaborations of PI and IE offered here by diverse contributors, including important connections with the naturalistic philosophies of Spinoza and other major Western and Eastern figures, thus issue in an expanded and more refined version of PI and IE – one still facing important questions as well as possibilities for further development. (shrink)
In a future world of ubiquitous computing, in which humans interact with computerized technologies even more frequently and in even more situations than today, interface design will have increased importance. One feature of interface that I argue will be especially relevant is what I call abstract relational strategies. This refers to an approach (in both a bodily and conceptual sense) toward the use of a technology, an approach that is general enough to be applied in many different concrete scenarios. (...) Such an abstract manner of approach is relevant, for example, when an interface design for a device to which users are already accustomed is applied to an entirely different device (such as a device used for a completely different purpose). To articulate this idea, I explore the history of keyboards, and consider how the habits of interface with one kind (e.g., piano keyboards) have historically enabled some users to approach other technologies fitted with similar keyboard interface (e.g., typewriters, electronic instrumentation). I conclude by brainstorming ways that abstract relational strategies, applicable to a variety of different devices, will have increased importance in a future world in which computing is even more ubiquitous than today. (shrink)
The Web, in particular real-time interactions in three-dimensional virtual environments (virtual worlds), comes with a set of unique characteristics that leave our traditional frameworks inapplicable. The present article illustrates this by arguing that the notion of “technology relations,” as put forward by Ihde and Verbeek, becomes inapplicable when it comes to the Internet, and this inapplicability shows why these phenomena require new philosophical frameworks. Against this background, and more constructively, the article proposes a fundamental distinction between “intravirtual” and “extravirtual” consequences—a (...) distinction that allows us to understand and conceptualize real-time interactions online more accurately. By relating this distinction to Searle's notion of “condition of satisfaction,” the article also shows its implications for judging real-time, online interactions in virtual worlds as irrational and/or immoral. The ultimate purpose is to illustrate how new philosophical concepts and frameworks can allow us to better account for the unique characteristics of the Internet. (shrink)
The question about the scientific nature of computing has been widely debated with no universal consensus reached about its disciplinary status. Positions vary from acknowledging computing as the science of computers to defining it as a synthetic engineering discipline. In this paper, we aim at discussing the nature of computing from a methodological perspective. We consider, in particular, the nature and role of experiments in this field, whether they can be considered close to the traditional experimental scientific (...) method or, instead, they possess peculiar and unique features. We argue that this experimental perspective should be taken into account when discussing the status of computing. We critically survey how the experimental method has been conceived and applied in computing, and some open issues that could be tackled with the aid of the history of science, the philosophy of science, and the philosophy of technology. (shrink)
The mechanistic approach in philosophy of science contributes to our understanding of experimental design. Applying the mechanistic approach to experimentation in computing is beneficial for two reasons. It connects the methodology of experimentation in computing with the methodology of experimentation in established sciences, thereby strengthening the scientific reputability of computing and the quality of experimental design therein. Furthermore, it pinpoints the idiosyncrasies of experimentation in computing: computing deals closely with both natural and engineered mechanisms. (...) Better understanding of the idiosyncrasies, which manifest in terms of a nonstandard role for experimentation, are interesting both for computer scientists and for philosophers of science. Computer scientists can think more clearly about their experimental choices. The role of experimentation elucidated by computer science merits further study from philosophers of science generally, as it highlights a role for experimentation hitherto unrecognized by philosophers: demonstration that activities exist. (shrink)
Alan Turing’s pioneering work on computability, and his ideas on morphological computing support Andrew Hodges’ view of Turing as a natural philosopher. Turing’s natural philosophy differs importantly from Galileo’s view that the book of nature is written in the language of mathematics (The Assayer, 1623). Computing is more than a language used to describe nature as computation produces real time physical behaviors. This article presents the framework of Natural info-computationalism as a contemporary natural philosophy that builds (...) on the legacy of Turing’s computationalism. The use of info-computational conceptualizations, models and tools makes possible for the first time in history modeling of complex self-organizing adaptive systems, including basic characteristics and functions of living systems, intelligence, and cognition. (shrink)
This text presents the research field of natural/unconventional computing as it appears in the book COMPUTING NATURE. The articles discussed consist a selection of works from the Symposium on Natural Computing at AISB-IACAP (British Society for the Study of Artificial Intelligence and the Simulation of Behaviour and The International Association for Computing and Philosophy) World Congress 2012, held at the University of Birmingham, celebrating Turing centenary. The COMPUTING NATURE is about nature considered as the (...) totality of physical existence, the universe. By physical we mean all phenomena, objects and processes, that are possible to detect either directly by our senses or via instruments. Historically, there have been many ways of describing the universe (cosmic egg, cosmic tree, theistic universe, mechanistic universe) while a particularly prominent contemporary approach is computational universe, as discussed in this article. See more: http://arxiv.org/abs/1210.7784. (shrink)