Preface

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The Project

Philosophy done informationally has been around a long time, but the Philosophy of Information as a discipline is quite new. Philosophy of Information takes age-old philosophical debates and engages them with the up-to-the minute conceptual issues constantly being generated by our ever-changing, information-laden world. This alters the philosophical debates, and makes them interesting to many more people – including many philosophically-minded people who aren’t signed-up philosophers.

We, the authors, are young researchers who think of our work as part of Philosophy of Information, as taking this new and engaged approach. We’re excited by it and want to teach it. Students are excited by it and want to study it. But there are no textbooks, no introductions – not yet.

Writing a traditional textbook takes a while, and the Philosophy of Information is moving so quickly, that a textbook could be obsolete on publication. Anyway, a traditional textbook just doesn’t seem like the right approach for the philosophy of the information age. So we got together to take a new approach, team-writing this electronic text to make it available much more rapidly and openly.

Here, we introduce Philosophy of Information now. We cover core ideas, explaining how they relate both to traditional philosophy, and to the conceptual issues arising all over the place – such as in computer science, AI, natural and social sciences, as well as in popular culture. This is the beta version, for 2012. It is free online, and it will be updated annually: next year we’ll tell you about Philosophy of Information in 2013.

We hope you love Philosophy of Information as much as we do! If so, let us have your feedback, and come back in 2013. Maybe some of you will ultimately join us as researchers. Either way, enjoy it!

Yours, Patrick, Bert, Anthony, Simon, Penny, Nir, Carson, Phyllis, Eric, Giuseppe, Federica, Christoph, Mariarosaria, Matteo, and Orlin.