Publications: [Classic Text in PI] "Philosophy and Computing: An Introduction"

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Perhaps not a "classic," but at least for me it is the place where I learned that what I was doing already had a name: "The Philosophy of Information".

A not so randomly chosen quote:

As an utterly new and revolutionary technology, databases have raised a number of philosophical issues, some of which can be briefly discussed here, but will need to be analysed in full by any future philosophy of information.

The conceptual framework provided by database technology can help us to clarify the meaning of “data”, “information” and “knowledge” (DIK), by sketching a query or erotetic model (erotetic logic is the logic of questions and answers). A datum is anything that makes a difference: a light in the dark, a black dot on a white page, a 1 opposed to a 0, a sound in the silence. (...)

To become informative for an intelligent being, a datum must be functionally associated with a relevant query. Thus a piece of information can be defined as a semantic molecule consisting of (datum a relevant question): 12 becomes informative once we know that it is the answer to the question “how many apostles were there?” Note that a datum does not need to be the correct answer to function as a proper compound of a semantic molecule: disinformation and propaganda are still forms of information, no matter whether wrong or incorrect. What is knowledge then? An embarrassingly old question. In our erotetic model, information becomes knowledge only if it is associated with the relevant explanation of the reasons why things are the way they are said to be. Knowledge involves understanding, not merely the contingent possession of a correct justification, and therefore insight, and can be defined as a body of (information a relevant explanation). (...)

The result of the previous analysis is that there are many more data than corresponding items of information, and the greatest part of our epistemic life is based on true information, not on knowledge, since understanding is a rare and often unnecessary phenomenon. (...)

Reference: L. Floridi, Philosophy and Computing - an Introduction, London / New-York: Routledge, 1999: 106-7.