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Introduction

Mapping the philosophy of information

Authored by: Luciano Floridi

The Routledge Handbook of Philosophy of Information

Print publication date:  June  2016
Online publication date:  June  2016

Print ISBN: 9781138796935
eBook ISBN: 9781315757544
Adobe ISBN: 9781317633495

10.4324/9781315757544.ch00intro

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Abstract

Information is the Cinderella in the history of philosophy. Think of it for a moment. Understanding information is a necessary input for any philosophy of knowledge, no matter whether ordinary (epistemology) or scientific (philosophy of science). There is no ethics without choices, responsibilities, and moral evaluations, yet all these need a lot of relevant and reliable information and quite a good management of it. Logic was a matter of dialectics first, and then mathematical proofs, but today it is also if not mainly a question of information extraction, transmission, and dynamics. Ontology without informational patterns – real, virtual, possible, necessary, or even impossible – would be meaningless, and modal logic is a branch of information theory. The philosophy of mind needs informational states, and the philosophy of language without communication of information is pointless. Any philosophy of the logos is a philosophy of information and Christian philosophy of religion is inconceivable without the informational concept of revelation. The list could be extended and refined to aesthetics, hermeneutics, philosophy of biology, philosophy of physics, and so on. but the point is clear. To paraphrase Molière, Western philosophy has been speaking informationally without knowing it for twenty-five centuries. To use the initial analogy, we have always relied on Cinderella working hard in the house of philosophy. It is time to acknowledge her great and pervasive services.

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