The method of abstraction

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


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‘In the development of our understanding of complex phenomena, the most powerful tool available to the human intellect is abstraction.’ This citation come from Notes on Data Structuring, a very influential text written by one of the greatest computer scientists of our time, C. A. R. Hoare (Hoare 1972). Hoare is right. And philosophers should take notice, for we are in the business of conceptual design, a business that requires a very fine ability to handle abstractions. In this chapter, we shall look at what is probably the most important tool that can help us in such a business, the so-called method of levels of abstraction, or simply LoA.

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