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The philosophy of information (PI) is a sub-field of philosophy that studies topics related to computer science, information science, information technology, and philosophy. It includes:

the critical investigation of the conceptual nature and basic principles of information, including its dynamics, utilisation and sciences the elaboration and application of information-theoretic and computational methodologies to philosophical problems.[1]

Contents

1 History

1.1 Logic
Logic
of information 1.2 Cybernetics 1.3 Study of language and information 1.4 P.I.

2 Definitions of "information"

2.1 Peirce 2.2 Shannon and Weaver 2.3 Bateson 2.4 Floridi

3 Philosophical directions

3.1 Computing
Computing
and philosophy 3.2 Information
Information
and society

4 See also 5 Notes 6 Further reading 7 External links

History[edit] The philosophy of information (PI) has evolved from the philosophy of artificial intelligence, logic of information, cybernetics, social theory, ethics and the study of language and information. Logic
Logic
of information[edit] The logic of information, also known as the logical theory of information, considers the information content of logical signs and expressions along the lines initially developed by Charles Sanders Peirce. Cybernetics[edit] One source for the philosophy of information can be found in the technical work of Norbert Wiener, Alan Turing
Alan Turing
(though his work has a wholly different origin and theoretical framework), William Ross Ashby, Claude Shannon, Warren Weaver, and many other scientists working on computing and information theory back in the early 1950s. See the main article on Cybernetics. Some important work on information and communication was done by Gregory Bateson
Gregory Bateson
and his colleagues. Study of language and information[edit] Later contributions to the field were made by Fred Dretske, Jon Barwise, Brian Cantwell Smith, and others. The Center for the Study of Language
Language
and Information
Information
(CSLI) was founded at Stanford University in 1983 by philosophers, computer scientists, linguists, and psychologists, under the direction of John Perry and Jon Barwise. P.I.[edit] More recently this field has become known as the philosophy of information. The expression was coined in the 1990s by Luciano Floridi, who has published prolifically in this area with the intention of elaborating a unified and coherent, conceptual frame for the whole subject.[citation needed] Definitions of "information"[edit] The concept information has been defined by several theorists. Peirce[edit] Charles S. Peirce's theory of information was embedded in his wider theory of symbolic communication he called the semeiotic, now a major part of semiotics. For Peirce, information integrates the aspects of signs and expressions separately covered by the concepts of denotation and extension, on the one hand, and by connotation and comprehension on the other. Shannon and Weaver[edit] Claude E. Shannon, for his part, was very cautious: "The word 'information' has been given different meanings by various writers in the general field of information theory. It is likely that at least a number of these will prove sufficiently useful in certain applications to deserve further study and permanent recognition. It is hardly to be expected that a single concept of information would satisfactorily account for the numerous possible applications of this general field." (Shannon 1993, p. 180)[full citation needed]. Thus, following Shannon, Weaver supported a tripartite analysis of information in terms of (1) technical problems concerning the quantification of information and dealt with by Shannon's theory; (2) semantic problems relating to meaning and truth; and (3) what he called "influential" problems concerning the impact and effectiveness of information on human behaviour, which he thought had to play an equally important role. And these are only two early examples of the problems raised by any analysis of information. A map of the main senses in which one may speak of information is provided by the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy
Philosophy
article. The previous paragraphs are based on it. Bateson[edit] Gregory Bateson
Gregory Bateson
defined information as "a difference that makes a difference".[2] which is based on Donald M. MacKay: information is a distinction that makes a difference.[3] Floridi[edit] According to Luciano Floridi[citation needed], four kinds of mutually compatible phenomena are commonly referred to as "information":

Information
Information
about something (e.g. a train timetable) Information
Information
as something (e.g. DNA, or fingerprints) Information
Information
for something (e.g. algorithms or instructions) Information
Information
in something (e.g. a pattern or a constraint).

The word "information" is commonly used so metaphorically or so abstractly that the meaning is unclear. Philosophical directions[edit] Computing
Computing
and philosophy[edit] Recent creative advances and efforts in computing, such as semantic web, ontology engineering, knowledge engineering, and modern artificial intelligence provide philosophy with fertile ideas, new and evolving subject matters, methodologies, and models for philosophical inquiry. While computer science brings new opportunities and challenges to traditional philosophical studies, and changes the ways philosophers understand foundational concepts in philosophy, further major progress in computer science would only be feasible when philosophy provides sound foundations for areas such as bioinformatics, software engineering, knowledge engineering, and ontologies. Classical topics in philosophy, namely, mind, consciousness, experience, reasoning, knowledge, truth, morality and creativity are rapidly becoming common concerns and foci of investigation in computer science, e.g., in areas such as agent computing, software agents, and intelligent mobile agent technologies.[citation needed] According to Luciano Floridi
Luciano Floridi
"[4] one can think of several ways for applying computational methods towards philosophical matters:

Conceptual experiments in silico: As an innovative extension of an ancient tradition of thought experiment, a trend has begun in philosophy to apply computational modeling schemes to questions in logic, epistemology, philosophy of science, philosophy of biology, philosophy of mind, and so on. Pancomputationalism: By this view, computational and informational concepts are considered to be so powerful that given the right level of abstraction, anything in the world could be modeled and represented as a computational system, and any process could be simulated computationally. Then, however, pancomputationalists have the hard task of providing credible answers to the following two questions:

how can one avoid blurring all differences among systems? what would it mean for the system under investigation not to be an informational system (or a computational system, if computation is the same as information processing)?

Information
Information
and society[edit] Numerous philosophers and other thinkers have carried out philosophical studies of the social and cultural aspects of electronically mediated information.

Albert Borgmann, Holding onto Reality: The Nature of Information
Information
at the Turn of the Millennium (Chicago University Press, 1999) Mark Poster, The Mode of Information
Information
(Chicago Press, 1990) Luciano Floridi, "The Informational Nature of Reality", Fourth International European Conference on Computing
Computing
and Philosophy
Philosophy
2006 (Dragvoll Campus, NTNU Norwegian University for Science and Technology, Trondheim, Norway, 22–24 June 2006).

See also[edit]

Barwise prize Complex system Digital divide Digital philosophy Digital physics Game theory Freedom of information Informatics

Information Information
Information
art Information
Information
ethics Information
Information
theory International Association for Computing
Computing
and Philosophy Logic
Logic
of information

Philosophy
Philosophy
of artificial intelligence Philosophy
Philosophy
of computer science Philosophy
Philosophy
of technology Philosophy
Philosophy
of thermal and statistical physics Physical information Relational quantum mechanics Social informatics Statistical mechanics

Notes[edit]

^ Luciano Floridi, "What is the Philosophy
Philosophy
of Information?" Archived 2012-03-16 at the Wayback Machine., Metaphilosophy, 2002, (33), 1/2. ^ Extract from "Steps to an Ecology of Mind" Archived 2012-02-04 at the Wayback Machine. ^ The Philosophy
Philosophy
of Information. Luciano Floridi. Chapter 4. Oxford University Press, USA (March 8, 2011) ASIN: 0199232385 [1] ^ Luciano Floridi, Open Problems in the Philosophy
Philosophy
of Information Metaphilosophy 35.4, 554-582. Revised version of The Herbert A. Simon Lecture on Computing
Computing
and Philosophy
Philosophy
given at Carnegie Mellon University in 2001, with RealVideo[permanent dead link]

Further reading[edit]

Luciano Floridi, "What is the Philosophy
Philosophy
of Information?" Metaphilosophy, 33.1/2: 123-145. Reprinted in T.W. Bynum and J.H. Moor (eds.), 2003. CyberPhilosophy: The Intersection of Philosophy
Philosophy
and Computing. Oxford – New York: Blackwell. -------- (ed.), 2004. The Blackwell Guide to the Philosophy
Philosophy
of Computing
Computing
and Information. Oxford - New York: Blackwell. Greco, G.M., Paronitti G., Turilli M., and Floridi L., 2005. How to Do Philosophy
Philosophy
Informationally. Lecture Notes on Artificial Intelligence 3782, pp. 623–634.

External links[edit]

Library resources about Philosophy
Philosophy
of information

Resources in your library Resources in other libraries

Adriaans, Peter (Autumn 2013). "Information". In Zalta, Edward N. Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.  Floridi, Luciano (Spring 2015). "Semantic Conceptions of Information". In Zalta, Edward N. Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.  IEG site, the Oxford University research group on the philosophy of information. It from bit and fit from bit. On the origin and impact of information in the average evolution - from bit to atom and ecosystem. Information philosophy which covers not only the physics of information, but also how life forms originate and from there evolve to become more and more complex, including evolution of genes and memes, into the complex memetics from organisations and multinational corporations and a "global brain", (Yves Decadt, 2000). Book
Book
published in Dutch with English paper summary in The Information
Information
Philosopher, http://www.informationphilosopher.com/solutions/scientists/decadt/ Luciano Floridi, "Where are we in the philosophy of information?" University of Bergen, Norway. Podcast dated 21.06.06.

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