The Philosophy of Information

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  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2011-03-08
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press
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Luciano Floridi presents a book that will set the agenda for the philosophy of information. PI is the philosophical field concerned with (1) the critical investigation of the conceptual nature and basic principles of information, including its dynamics, u

Author Biography

Luciano Floridi is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Hertfordshire -- where he holds the Research Chair in Philosophy of Information and the UNESCO Chair in Information and Computer Ethics -- and Fellow of St Cross College, University of Oxford, where he is the founder and director of the IEG, Oxford University interdepartmental research group on the philosophy of information. His research areas are the philosophy of computing and information, information/computer ethics, philosophy of technology, epistemology and philosophy of logic. For his work Floridi has received various prizes, awards and fellowships, including the APA Barwise Prize and the election as Fellow of the Society for the Study of Artificial Intelligence and the Simulation of Behaviour (AISB). He is the first philosopher to have been awarded the Gauss Professorship by the Gottingen Academy of Sciences. For more information, please visit his website: (http://www.philosophyofinformation.net)

Table of Contents

Prefacep. xii
Acknowledgementsp. xv
List of figuresp. xvii
List of tablesp. xix
List of most common acronymsp. xx
What is the philosophy of information?p. 1
Summaryp. 1
Introductionp. 1
Philosophy of artificial intelligence as a premature paradigm of PIp. 2
The historical emergence of PIp. 5
The dialectic of reflection and the emergence of PIp. 7
The definition of PIp. 13
The analytic approach to PIp. 17
The metaphysical approach to PIp. 19
PI as philosophia primap. 24
Conclusionp. 25
Open problems in the philosophy of informationp. 26
Summaryp. 26
Introductionp. 26
David Hilbert's viewp. 28
Analysisp. 30
Semanticsp. 33
Intelligencep. 35
Naturep. 42
Valuesp. 44
Conclusionp. 45
The method of levels of abstractionp. 46
Summaryp. 46
Introductionp. 47
Some definitions and preliminary examplesp. 48
Typed variablep. 48
Observablep. 48
Six examplesp. 49
Levels of abstractionp. 52
Behaviourp. 53
Gradient of abstractionp. 54
A classic interpretation of the method of abstractionp. 58
Some philosophical applicationsp. 60
Agentsp. 60
The Turing testp. 61
Turing's imitation gamep. 61
Turing's test revisitedp. 62
Turing discussedp. 63
Emergencep. 63
Artificial lifep. 65
Quantum observationp. 66
Decidable observationp. 66
Simulation and functionalismp. 67
The philosophy of the method of abstractionp. 68
Levels of organization and of explanationp. 69
Conceptual schemesp. 71
Pluralism without relativismp. 74
Realism without descriptivismp. 75
Constructionismp. 76
Conclusionp. 78
Semantic information and the veridicality thesisp. 80
Summaryp. 80
Introductionp. 80
The data-based approach to semantic infomiationp. 82
The general definition of informationp. 83
Understanding datap. 85
Taxonomic neutralityp. 86
Typological neutralityp. 87
Ontological neutralityp. 90
Genetic neutralityp. 91
Alethic neutralityp. 92
Why false information is not a kind of semantic informationp. 93
Why false information is pseudo-information: Attributive vs predicative usep. 97
Why false information is pseudo-information: A semantic argumentp. 98
First step: Too much infomiationp. 99
Second step: Excluding tautologiesp. 100
Third step: Excluding contradictionsp. 100
Fourth step: Excluding inconsistenciesp. 101
Last step: Only contingently true propositions count as semantic infomiationp. 103
The definition of semantic informationp. 104
Conclusionp. 106
Outline of a theory of strongly semantic informationp. 108
Summaryp. 108
Introductionp. 109
The Bar-Hillel-Carnap Paradoxp. 111
Three criteria of information equivalencep. 114
Three desiderata for TSSIp. 117
Degrees of vacuity and inaccuracyp. 117
Degrees of informativenessp. 123
Quantities of vacuity and of semantic informationp. 125
The solution of the Bar-Hillel-Carnap Paradoxp. 127
TSSI and the scandal of deductionp. 129
Conclusionp. 132
The symbol grounding problemp. 134
Summaryp. 134
Introductionp. 134
The symbol grounding problemp. 136
The representationalist approachp. 137
A hybrid model for the solution of the SGPp. 138
SGP and the symbolic theft hypothesisp. 142
A functional model for the solution of the SGPp. 143
An intentional model for the solution of the SGPp. 144
Clarionp. 146
The semi-representationalist approachp. 149
An epistemological model for the solution of the SGPp. 149
The physical symbol grounding problemp. 150
A model based on temporal delays and predictive semantics for the solution of the SGPp. 153
The non-representationalist approachp. 155
A communication-based model for the solution of the SGPp. 156
A behaviour-based model for the solution of the SGPp. 157
Emulative learning and the rejection of representationsp. 159
Conclusionp. 160
Action-based semanticsp. 162
Summaryp. 162
Introductionp. 162
Action-based Semanticsp. 164
Two-machine artificial agents and their AbSp. 166
Three controversial aspects of AM2p. 172
Learning and performing rule through Hebb's rule and local selectionp. 173
From grounded symbols to grounded communication and abstractionsp. 176
Conclusionp. 179
Semantic information and the correctness theory of truthp. 182
Summaryp. 182
Introductionp. 183
First step: Translationp. 186
Second step: Polarizationp. 188
Third step: Normalizationp. 190
Fourth step: Verification and validationp. 193
Fifth step: Correctnessp. 195
Some implications and advantages of the correctness theory of truthp. 199
Truthmakers and coherentismp. 199
Accessibility, bidimensionalism, and correspondentismp. 201
Types of semantic information and the variety of truthsp. 203
A deflationist interpretation of falsehood as failurep. 205
The information-inaptness of semantic paradoxesp. 205
Conclusionp. 208
The logical unsolvability of the Gettier problemp. 209
Summaryp. 209
Introductionp. 210
Why the Gettier problem is unsolvable in principlep. 212
Three objections and repliesp. 217
Conclusionp. 222
The logic of being informedp. 224
Summaryp. 224
Introductionp. 224
Three logics of informationp. 226
Modelling 'being informed'p. 228
IL satisfies A1, A2, A3, A5p. 229
Consistency and truth: IL satisfies A9 and A4p. 230
No reflectivity: IL does not satisfy A6, A8p. 232
Transmissibility: IL satisfies A10 and A11p. 236
Constructing the Information Base: IL satisfies A7p. 236
KTB-ILp. 237
Four epistemological implications of KTB-ILp. 238
Information overload in KTB-ILp. 238
In favour of the veridicality thesisp. 239
The relations between DL, IL and ELp. 240
Against the untouchablep. 241
Conclusionp. 243
Understanding epistemic relevancep. 244
Summaryp. 244
Introductionp. 245
Epistemic vs causal relevancep. 246
The basic casep. 249
Advantages of the basic casep. 249
Limits of the basic casep. 251
A probabilistic revision of the basic casep. 251
Advantages of the probabilistic revisionp. 252
Limits of the probabilistic revisionp. 252
A counterfactual revision of the probabilistic analysisp. 253
Advantages of the counterfactual revisionp. 253
Limits of the counterfactual revisionp. 253
A metatheoretical revision of the counterfactual analysisp. 254
Advantages of the metatheoretical revisionp. 256
Some illustrative casesp. 257
Misinformation cannot be relevantp. 260
Two objections and repliesp. 261
Completeness: No relevant semantic information for semantically unable agentsp. 261
Soundness: Rationality does not presuppose relevancep. 262
Conclusionp. 265
Semantic information and the network theory of accountp. 267
Summaryp. 267
Introductionp. 268
The nature of the upgrading problem: Mutual independencep. 268
Solving the upgrading problem: The network theory of accountp. 274
Advantages of a network theory of accountp. 279
Testing the network theory of accountp. 284
Conclusionp. 288
Consciousness, agents, and the knowledge gamep. 290
Summaryp. 290
Introductionp. 290
The knowledge gamep. 296
The first and classic version of the knowledge game: Externally inferable statesp. 297
Synchronic inferences: A fairer version of the knowledge gamep. 298
Winners of the classic versionp. 300
The second version of the knowledge gamep. 301
The third version of the knowledge gamep. 302
The fourth version of the knowledge gamep. 307
Dretske's question and the knowledge gamep. 309
Conclusionp. 313
Against digital ontologyp. 316
Summaryp. 316
Introductionp. 316
What is digital ontology? It from Bitp. 317
Digital ontology: From physical to metaphysical problemsp. 320
The thought experimentp. 325
Stage 1: Reality in itself is digital or analoguep. 327
Stage 2: The stubborn legacy of the analoguep. 329
Stage 3: The observer's analysisp. 330
Digital and analogue are features of the level of abstractionp. 332
Three objections and repliesp. 334
Conclusionp. 337
A defence of informational structural realismp. 339
Summaryp. 339
Introductionp. 340
First step: ESR and OSR are not incompatiblep. 344
Indirect knowledgep. 345
Structuralism and the levels of abstractionp. 347
Ontological commitments and levels of abstractionsp. 348
How to reconcile ESR and OSRp. 349
Second step: Relata are not logically prior to all relationsp. 353
Third step: The concept of a structural object is not emptyp. 355
Informational structural realismp. 360
Ten objections and repliesp. 361
Conclusionp. 369
Referencesp. 372
Indexp. 401
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