We propose as a UCGIS research priority the topic of “Ontological Foundations for Geographic Information.” Under this umbrella we unify several interrelated research subfields, each of which deals with different perspectives on geospatial ontologies and their roles in geographic informationscience. While each of these subfields could be addressed separately, we believe it is important to address ontological research in a unitary, systematic fashion, embracing conceptual issues concerning what would be required to establish an exhaustive ontology of (...) the geospatial domain, issues relating to the choice of appropriate methods for formalizing ontologies, and considerations regarding the design of ontology-driven information systems. This integrated approach is necessary, because there is a strong dependency between the methods used to specify an ontology, and the conceptual richness, robustness and tractability of the ontology itself. Likewise, information system implementations are needed as testbeds of the usefulness of every aspect of an exhaustive ontology of the geospatial domain. None of the current UCGIS research priorities provides such an integrative perspective, and therefore the topic of “Ontological Foundations for Geographic InformationScience” is unique. (shrink)
Genes are often described by biologists using metaphors derived from computa- tional science: they are thought of as carriers of information, as being the equivalent of ‘‘blueprints’’ for the construction of organisms. Likewise, cells are often characterized as ‘‘factories’’ and organisms themselves become analogous to machines. Accordingly, when the human genome project was initially announced, the promise was that we would soon know how a human being is made, just as we know how to make airplanes and buildings. (...) Impor- tantly, modern proponents of Intelligent Design, the latest version of creationism, have exploited biologists’ use of the language of information and blueprints to make their spurious case, based on pseudoscientific concepts such as ‘‘irreducible complexity’’ and on flawed analogies between living cells and mechanical factories. However, the living organ- ism = machine analogy was criticized already by David Hume in his Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion. In line with Hume’s criticism, over the past several years a more nuanced and accurate understanding of what genes are and how they operate has emerged, ironically in part from the work of computational scientists who take biology, and in particular developmental biology, more seriously than some biologists seem to do. In this article we connect Hume’s original criticism of the living organism = machine analogy with the modern ID movement, and illustrate how the use of misleading and outdated metaphors in science can play into the hands of pseudoscientists. Thus, we argue that dropping the blueprint and similar metaphors will improve both the science of biology and its understanding by the general public. (shrink)
This article responds to two unresolved and crucial problems of cognitive science: (1) What is actually accomplished by functions of the nervous system that we ordinarily describe in the intentional idiom? and (2) What makes the information processing involved in these functions semantic? It is argued that, contrary to the assumptions of many cognitive theorists, the computational approach does not provide coherent answers to these problems, and that a more promising start would be to fall back on mathematical (...) communication theory and, with the help of evolutionary biology and neurophysiology, to attempt a characterization of the adaptive processes involved in visual perception. Visual representations are explained as patterns of cortical activity that are enabled to focus on objects in the changing visual environment by constantly adjusting to maintain levels of mutual information between pattern and object that are adequate for continuing perceptual control. In these terms, the answer proposed to (1) is that the intentional functions of vision are those involved in the establishment and maintenance of such representations, and to (2) that semantic features are added to the information processes of vision with the focus on objects that these representations accomplish. The article concludes with proposals for extending this account of intentionality to the higher domains of conceptualization and reason, and with speculation about how semantic information-processing might be achieved in mechanical systems. (shrink)
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)
In recent years, the growing academic field called “Data Science” has made many promises. On closer inspection, relatively few of these promises have come to fruition. A critique of Data Science from the phenomenological tradition can take many forms. This paper addresses the promise of “participation” in Data Science, taking inspiration from Paul Majkut’s 2000 work in Glimpse, “Empathy’s Impostor: Interactivity and Intersubjectivity,” and some insights from Heidegger’s "The Question Concerning Technology." The description of Data Science (...) provided in the scholarly literature includes “the study of the generalizable extraction of knowledge from data” (Dhar 2013, 64), “data stewardship and data sharing…access to data at higher volumes and more quickly, and the potential for replication and augmentation of existing research” (Hartter et al., 2013, 1), and “personal information, health status, daily activities and shopping preferences that are recorded and used to give us instant feedback and recommendations based on previous online behavior.” (Shin 2013) United States universities have begun to offer graduate programs in “data science”, anticipating the growth of this field for marketing, national security, and health industries. These universities include New York University, Columbia University, Stanford, Northwestern, and Syracuse. (shrink)
In this paper we critically review recent developments in policies, practices and philosophies pertaining to the mediation between science and the public within the EU and the UK, focusing in particular on the current paradigm of Public Understanding of Science and Technology (PEST) which seeks to depart from the scienceinformation-transmission associated with previous paradigms, and enact a deliberative democracy model. We first outline the features of the current crisis in democracy and discuss deliberative democracy as (...) a response to this crisis. We then map out and critically review the broad outlines of recent policy developments in public-science mediation in the EU and UK contexts, focusing on the shift towards the deliberative-democratic model. We conclude with some critical thoughts on the complex interrelationships between democracy, equality, science and informal pedagogies in public-science mediations. We argue that science and democracy operate within distinct value-spheres that are not necessarily consonant with each other. We also problematize the now common dismissal of information-transmission of science as inimical to democratic engagement, and argue for a reassessment of the role and importance of informal science learning for the lay public, provided within the framework of a deliberative democracy that is not reducible to consensus building or the mere expression of opinions rooted in social and cultural givens. This, we argue, can be delivered by a model of PEST that is creative and experimental, with both educational and democratic functions. (shrink)
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 are three large traditions at large, known as Platonic, Kantian and Leibniz-Russellian. In the discussion of the position of the possible worlds, we have modal Platonism and modal realism, but both of the theories are made in the framework of Western philosophy. In this essay, it is argued that possible worlds could be seen as worlds in information, which is then an interpretation of modal information theory (MIT). Our interpretation is made on the basis of Leibniz’s lifelong connection with China, a fact often overlooked by the Western philosophers. Possible world theory was influenced by the Neo-Confucianism flourishing since the Song Dynasty of China, the foundation of which is Yijing. It could be argued that Leibniz’s possible world theory was formulated in respect to the impact of the thoughts reflected in Yijing, in that one of the prominent features is the model-theoretic construction of theories. There are two approaches to theory construction, i.e., axiom-theoretic and model-theoretic. The origin of the former is from ancient Greece and the latter from ancient China. And they determined the different features of theoretic structures between the oriental and occidental traditions of science and technology. The tendency of the future development of science and technology is changing from the axiom-theoretic to the model-theoretic orientation, at least the two approaches being complementary each other. To some extent, this means the retrospective of tradition in the turning point of history, and some of the China’s cultural traditions might become the starting points in formulating the future Chinese philosophy of science and technology. (shrink)
The Foundational Model of Anatomy (FMA) is a map of the human body. Like maps of other sorts – including the map-like representations we find in familiar anatomical atlases – it is a representation of a certain portion of spatial reality as it exists at a certain (idealized) instant of time. But unlike other maps, the FMA comes in the form of a sophisticated ontology of its objectdomain, comprising some 1.5 million statements of anatomical relations among some 70,000 anatomical kinds. (...) It is further distinguished from other maps in that it represents not some specific portion of spatial reality (say: Leeds in 1996), but rather the generalized or idealized spatial reality associated with a generalized or idealized human being at some generalized or idealized instant of time. It will be our concern in what follows to outline the approach to ontology that is represented by the FMA and to argue that it can serve as the basis for a new type of anatomical informationscience. We also draw some implications for our understanding of spatial reasoning and spatial ontologies in general. (shrink)
Any great new theoretical framework has an epistemological and an ontological aspect to its philosophy as well as an axiological one, and one needs to understand all three aspects in order to grasp the deep aspiration and idea of the theoretical framework. Presently, there is a widespread effort to understand C. S. Peirce's (1837–1914) pragmaticistic semeiotics, and to develop it by integrating the results of modern science and evolutionary thinking; first, producing a biosemiotics and, second, by integrating it with (...) the progress in cybernetics, informationscience, and system theory to create a cybersemiotics. In this paper, we focus on the understanding of the evolution of the universe that Peirce produced as an alternative to the mechanistic view underlying classical physics and try to place man in an evolving universe as a creative, aesthetical agent. It is true that modern non-equilibrium physics has made a modern foundation for a profound physical understanding of the basic evolutionary processes in the universe. But science still has not produced a theory that can explain how the creativity of the universe could produce signification, interpretation, and first-person consciousness. To this end, Peirce's thoughts on agapastic evolution coupled with the aesthetically influence of the growth of ideas and reasonableness on man could make a contribution. (shrink)
This paper analyses the relations between philosophy of information (PI), library and informationscience (LIS) and social epistemology (SE). In the first section, it is argued that there is a natural relation between philosophy and LIS but that SE cannot provide a satisfactory foundation for LIS. SE should rather be seen as sharing with LIS a common ground, represented by the study of information, to be investigated by a new discipline, PI. In the second section, the (...) nature of PI is outlined as the philosophical area that studies the conceptual nature of information, its dynamics and problems. In the third section, LIS is defined as a form of applied PI. The hypothesis supported is that PI should replace SE as the philosophical discipline that can best provide the conceptual foundation for LIS. In the conclusion, it is suggested that the 'identity' crisis undergone by LIS has been the natural outcome of a justified but precocious search for a philosophical counterpart that has emerged only recently: namely, PI. The development of LIS should not rely on some borrowed, pre-packaged theory. As applied PI, LIS can fruitfully contribute to the growth of basic theoretical research in PI itself and thus provide its own foundation. (shrink)
As an answer to the humanistic, socially oriented critique of the information-processing paradigms used as a conceptual frame for library informationscience, this article formulates a broader and less objective concept of communication than that of the information-processing paradigm. Knowledge can be seen as the mental phenomenon that documents (combining signs into text, depending on the state of knowledge of the recipient) can cause through interpretation. The examination of these “correct circumstances” is an important part of (...)informationscience. This article represents the following developments in the concept of information: Information is understood as potential until somebody interprets it. The objective carriers of potential knowledge are signs. Signs need interpretation to release knowledge in the form of interpretants. Interpretation is based on the total semantic network, horizons, worldviews, and experience of the person, including the emotional and social aspects. The realm of meaning is rooted in social-historical as well as embodied evolutionary processes that go beyond computational algorithmically logic. The semantic network derives a decisive aspect of signification from a person’s embodied cultural worldview, which, in turn, derives from, develops, and has its roots in undefined tacit knowledge. To theoretically encompass both the computational and the semantic aspects of document classification and retrieval, we need to combine the cybernetic functionalistic approach with the semiotic pragmatic understanding of meaning as social and embodied. For such a marriage, it is necessary to go into the constructivistic secondorder cybernetics and autopoiesis theory of von Foerster, Maturana, and Luhmann, on the one hand, and the pragmatic triadic semiotics of Peirce in the form of the embodied Biosemiotics, on the other hand. This combination is what I call Cybersemiotics. (shrink)
Social InformationScience (or Social Informatics) is a new and interdiscipline branch subject in China. This paper probe the emergence and the research outline of social informationscience. 1. The proposal of the social informationscience. We set up the research from an extension from the theoretical informatics to the concrete informatics; a internal bond of integrating various subjects in humane and social sciences; an intersection and mutual permeation between the social science and (...) the natural science; a the intersection and interaction among humane and social sciences, modern informationscience and information technology; a strengthening to the research into Social Epistemology. Ⅱ. On the concept of social information. Social information directly is different with selfexistent and natural information, and more related to human’s autonomous creative activities, to society’s culture inheritance, to social value, to human’s spiritual interaction and to human’s emotions. Ⅲ.On the theoretical orientation of the social informationscience. Social InformationScience is a concrete branch of informatics, a generation of sub-disciplines of social information, a kind of traversing and comprehensive research on individual social science from the angle of information, a kind of exchange and interaction between social theoretical research and the modern information technology. Ⅳ. The research focus of the social informationscience. The paper lists 10 main focus in the research of social informationscience. Ⅴ.The system and frame of the social informationscience. In general, there should be four levels of researches if the social informationscience is to be viewed as a relatively independent subject: the philosophical level, the scientific theoretical level, concrete apply level, social information technology and methods. (shrink)
(1997). What is a possible ontological and epistemological framework for a true universal ‘informationscience'?: The suggestion of a cybersemiotics. World Futures: Vol. 49, The Quest for a Unified Theory of Information, pp. 287-308.
The rapid development of informationscience and technology today, its impact on culture and society, and how we should respond to this new phenomenon in our cultural undertakings is something that is probably of concern to many people. I would like to approach this question from the macro level, from the interrelationship between cultural exchange and the culture industry, linking it to the current state of international cultural exchange.
This paper addresses the problem of the distinction between basic science and applied science. It also explores their differences with regard to technology. For this analysis, as well as a general epistemological and methodological approach, we study a particular case: informationscience. As the emphasis of the paper is on the category of applied science, it includes a critical analysis of Philip Kitcher's proposal. First, there is an examination of Ph. Kitcher's thought, because he has (...) addressed this issue without offering a clear distinction between the various categories. I then consider the contributions of I. Niiniluoto, which determine in a more genuine way the features that distinguish applied science from basic science. Here, I focus on the ideas of H. A Simon on the science of design, to the extent that it is an applied science. This then allows us to shed light on the disciplinary field of informationscience, which is characterized as an applied science of design. This is a case that shows the need to distinguish three epistemological and methodological domains: basic science, applied science and technology. (shrink)
Purpose : The purpose of this paper is to bring the concept of a 'hierarchy of action', as it is currently being used in other fields, into library and informationscience . Design/methodology/approach Hierarchy theory is adopted to describe three hierarchies of action, which include the human processes of semantic and social innovation, as well as a system of biological interpretence, from which human processes are thought to have evolved as a development of biosemiosis in nature. By way (...) of example, it is argued that a text is a complex achievement, and hierarchy theory shows how to account for this complexity; the everyday definition of text is augmented with accounts from different levels of observation. Findings: The concept of a hierarchy of action enables a person to account for a text as a meaning/symbolic product; include in that account the processes whereby texts are produced and used; and say why these processes are important to the health of the biosphere that is called home. Originality/value Hierarchy of action has been developed as a concept in biology and ecology; it belongs to a way of thinking whereby human reality, like nature, is construed as dynamical processes operating in symbiotic relationship with each other; it has not yet been adopted in LIS with reference to hierarchy theory and its potential is yet to be explored. Keywords Hierarchy theory, Complexity theory, Process philosophy, Natural philosophy, Hierarchies of action, Complex systems, Libraries, Informationscience Paper type Conceptual paper. (shrink)
The discipline of ontology has enjoyed a checkered history since 1606, with a significant expansion in recent years. We focus here on those developments in the recent history of philosophy which are most relevant to the understanding of the increased acceptance of ontology, and especially of realist ontology, as a valuable method also outside the discipline of philosophy.
Science can reinforce the healthy aspects of the politics of the policy process, to identify and further the public interest by discrediting policy options serving only special interests and helping to select among “science-confident” and “hedging” options. To do so, scientists must learn how to manage and communicate the degree of uncertainty in scientific understanding and prediction, lest uncertainty be manipulated to discredit science or to justify inaction. For natural resource and environmental policy, the institutional interests of (...) government agencies, as well as private interests, pose challenges of suppression, over-simplification, or distortion of scientific information. Scientists can combat these maneuvers, but must also look inward to ensure that their own special interests do not undermine the usefulness of science. (shrink)
From 1900 onwards, scientists and novelists have explored the contours of a future society based on the use of “anthropotechnologies” (techniques applicable to human beings for the purpose of performance enhancement ranging from training and education to genome-based biotechnologies). Gradually but steadily, the technologies involved migrated from (science) fiction into scholarly publications, and from “utopia” (or “dystopia”) into science. Building on seminal ideas borrowed from Nietzsche, Peter Sloterdijk has outlined the challenges inherent in this development. Since time immemorial, (...) and at least since the days of Plato’s Academy, human beings have been interested in possibilities for (physical or mental) performance enhancement. We are constantly trying to improve ourselves, both collectively and individually, for better or for worse. At present, however, new genomics-based technologies are opening up new avenues for self-amelioration. Developments in research facilities using animal models may to a certain extent be seen as expeditions into our own future. Are we able to address the bioethical and biopolitical issues awaiting us? After analyzing and assessing Sloterdijk’s views, attention will shift to a concrete domain of application, namely sport genomics. For various reasons, top athletes are likely to play the role of genomics pioneers by using personalized genomics information to adjust diet, life-style, training schedules and doping intake to the strengths and weaknesses of their personalized genome information. Thus, sport genomics may be regarded as a test bed where the contours of genomics-based self-management are tried out. (shrink)
Margaret Egan and Jesse Hauk Shera's original conception of social epistemology has never been defined unambiguously, or developed significantly beyond its early formulation. An interesting consequence of this lack of conceptual clarity has been the application of several interpretations of social epistemology. This article discusses how social epistemology was linked with the ideology of apartheid, and with racially segregated library and information services in the Republic of South Africa. In a fraudulent scientific vision for librarianship, social epistemology was assigned (...) a role that violated its original purpose. The intellectual content of social epistemology needs to be articulated in order to prevent further examples of such conceptual abuse. The paper ends with an attempt to do this with some suggestions based on Shera's own seminal ideas. (shrink)