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Philosophy and Computer Science

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  1. Computational Intention.Raymond Turner - 2020 - Studies in Logic, Grammar and Rhetoric 63 (1):19-30.
    The core entities of computer science include formal languages, spec-ifications, models, programs, implementations, semantic theories, type inference systems, abstract and physical machines. While there are conceptual questions concerning their nature, and in particular ontological ones, our main focus here will be on the relationships between them. These relationships have an extensional aspect that articulates the propositional connection between the two entities, and an intentional one that fixes the direction of governance. An analysis of these two aspects will drive our investigation; (...)
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  • Open Problems in the Philosophy of Information.Luciano Floridi - 2004 - Metaphilosophy 35 (4):554-582.
    The philosophy of information (PI) is a new area of research with its own field of investigation and methodology. This article, based on the Herbert A. Simon Lecture of Computing and Philosophy I gave at Carnegie Mellon University in 2001, analyses the eighteen principal open problems in PI. Section 1 introduces the analysis by outlining Herbert Simon's approach to PI. Section 2 discusses some methodological considerations about what counts as a good philosophical problem. The discussion centers on Hilbert's famous analysis (...)
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  • The Philosophy of Computer Science.Raymond Turner - 2013 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
  • Filozofie informácie a problém jej chápania ako filozofie prima.Dominik Sadloň - 2022 - Pro-Fil 23 (1):57-74.
    V tejto stati je najprv predstavená filozofia informácie a demarkácia jej predmetu v metodologicky ucelenej forme, to nadviazaním na koncepciu FI L. Floridiho. V porovnaní s jeho návrhom je vyčlenený i predmet metafilozofie informácie, a takisto je ujasnené aj označenie,,filozofie prima“. Floridi tvrdí, že jeho koncepcia FI ho môže voči iným filozickým disciplínam nadobudnúť. Problém chápania FI ako filozofie prima sa však ani po dvadsiatich rokoch od jeho uvedenia výraznejšej priamej reflexie nedočkal. V tejto štúdii je zodpovedaná otázka, či je (...)
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  • Capturing the representational and the experimental in the modelling of artificial societies.David Anzola - 2021 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 11 (3):1-29.
    Even though the philosophy of simulation is intended as a comprehensive reflection about the practice of computer simulation in contemporary science, its output has been disproportionately shaped by research on equation-based simulation in the physical and climate sciences. Hence, the particularities of alternative practices of computer simulation in other scientific domains are not sufficiently accounted for in the current philosophy of simulation literature. This article centres on agent-based social simulation, a relatively established type of simulation in the social sciences, to (...)
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  • Disagreement in Discipline-Building Processes.David Anzola - 2019 - Synthese 198 (Suppl 25):6201-6224.
    Successful instances of interdisciplinary collaboration can eventually enter a process of disciplinarisation. This article analyses one of those instances: agent-based computational social science, an emerging disciplinary field articulated around the use of computational models to study social phenomena. The discussion centres on how, in knowledge transfer dynamics from traditional disciplinary areas, practitioners parsed several epistemic resources to produce new foundational disciplinary shared commitments, and how disagreements operated as a mechanism of differentiation in their production. Two parsing processes are examined to (...)
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  • Computing and Experiments: A Methodological View on the Debate on the Scientific Nature of Computing.Viola Schiaffonati & Mario Verdicchio - 2014 - Philosophy and Technology 27 (3):359-376.
    The question about the scientific nature of computing has been widely debated with no universal consensus reached about its disciplinary status. Positions vary from acknowledging computing as the science of computers to defining it as a synthetic engineering discipline. In this paper, we aim at discussing the nature of computing from a methodological perspective. We consider, in particular, the nature and role of experiments in this field, whether they can be considered close to the traditional experimental scientific method or, instead, (...)
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  • Per una filosofia dell'informazione.Luciano Floridi - 2005 - Epistemologia 28 (2):283–292.
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  • A Subjectivist Interpretation of Relevant Information.Luciano Floridi - 2008 - In Herbert Hrachovec & Alois Pichler (eds.), Wittgenstein and the Philosophy of Information: Proceedings of the 30th International Ludwig Wittgenstein-Symposium in Kirchberg, 2007. De Gruyter. pp. 285–304.
  • Trends in the Philosophy of Information.Luciano Floridi - 2008 - In Pieter Adriaans & Johan van Bentham (eds.), Philosophy of Information. Amsterdam, Netherlands: pp. 113–131.
    This chapter reviews some interesting research trends in the philosophy of information (PI). First, PI is defined; then, a series of open problems in PI on which philosophers are currently working is considered. The conclusion highlights the innovative character of this new area of research.
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  • The Logic of Being Informed.Luciano Floridi - 2006 - Logique Et Analyse 49 (196):433-460.
    One of the open problems in the philosophy of information is whether there is an information logic (IL), different from epistemic (EL) and doxastic logic (DL), which formalises the relation “a is informed that p” (Iap) satisfactorily. In this paper, the problem is solved by arguing that the axiom schemata of the normal modal logic (NML) KTB (also known as B or Br or Brouwer’s system) are well suited to formalise the relation of “being informed”. After having shown that IL (...)
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  • What is the Philosophy of Information?Luciano Floridi - 2002 - Metaphilosophy 33 (1-2):123–145.
    Computational and information-theoretic research in philosophy has become increasingly fertile and pervasive, giving rise to a wealth of interesting results. In consequence, a new and vitally important field has emerged, the philosophy of information (PI). This essay is the first attempt to analyse the nature of PI systematically. PI is defined as the philosophical field concerned with the critical investigation of the conceptual nature and basic principles of information, including its dynamics, utilisation, and sciences, and the elaboration and application of (...)
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  • Computers Are Syntax All the Way Down: Reply to Bozşahin.William J. Rapaport - 2019 - Minds and Machines 29 (2):227-237.
    A response to a recent critique by Cem Bozşahin of the theory of syntactic semantics as it applies to Helen Keller, and some applications of the theory to the philosophy of computer science.
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  • Semantic Information and the Correctness Theory of Truth.Luciano Floridi - 2011 - Erkenntnis 74 (2):147–175.
    Semantic information is usually supposed to satisfy the veridicality thesis: p qualifies as semantic information only if p is true. However, what it means for semantic information to be true is often left implicit, with correspondentist interpretations representing the most popular, default option. The article develops an alternative approach, namely a correctness theory of truth (CTT) for semantic information. This is meant as a contribution not only to the philosophy of information but also to the philosophical debate on the nature (...)
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  • Specification.Raymond Turner - 2011 - Minds and Machines 21 (2):135-152.
    The specification and implementation of computational artefacts occurs throughout the discipline of computer science. Consequently, unpacking its nature should constitute one of the core areas of the philosophy of computer science. This paper presents a conceptual analysis of the central role of specification in the discipline.
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  • Semantic Information and the Correctness Theory of Truth.Luciano Floridi - 2011 - Erkenntnis 74:147-175.
    Semantic information is usually supposed to satisfy the veridicality thesis: p qualifies as semantic information only if p is true. However, what it means for semantic information to be true is often left implicit, with correspondentist interpretations representing the most popular, default option. The article develops an alternative approach, namely a correctness theory of truth (CTT) for semantic information. This is meant as a contribution not only to the philosophy of information but also to the philosophical debate on the nature (...)
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  • Semantic Information and the Network Theory of Account.Luciano Floridi - 2012 - Synthese 184 (3):431-454.
    The article addresses the problem of how semantic information can be upgraded to knowledge. The introductory section explains the technical terminology and the relevant background. Section 2 argues that, for semantic information to be upgraded to knowledge, it is necessary and sufficient to be embedded in a network of questions and answers that correctly accounts for it. Section 3 shows that an information flow network of type A fulfils such a requirement, by warranting that the erotetic deficit, characterising the target (...)
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  • Computing as a Science: A Survey of Competing Viewpoints. [REVIEW]Matti Tedre - 2011 - Minds and Machines 21 (3):361-387.
    Since the birth of computing as an academic discipline, the disciplinary identity of computing has been debated fiercely. The most heated question has concerned the scientific status of computing. Some consider computing to be a natural science and some consider it to be an experimental science. Others argue that computing is bad science, whereas some say that computing is not a science at all. This survey article presents viewpoints for and against computing as a science. Those viewpoints are analyzed against (...)
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  • What a Maker’s Knowledge Could Be.Luciano Floridi - 2018 - Synthese 195 (1):465-481.
    Three classic distinctions specify that truths can be necessary versus contingent,analytic versus synthetic, and a priori versus a posteriori. The philosopher reading this article knows very well both how useful and ordinary such distinctions are in our conceptual work and that they have been subject to many and detailed debates, especially the last two. In the following pages, I do not wish to discuss how far they may be tenable. I shall assume that, if they are reasonable and non problematic (...)
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  • Software is an Abstract Artifact.Nurbay Irmak - 2012 - Grazer Philosophische Studien 86 (1):55-72.
    Software is a ubiquitous artifact, yet not much has been done to understand its ontological nature. There are a few accounts offered so far about the nature of software. I argue that none of those accounts give a plausible picture of the nature of software. I draw attention to the striking similarities between software and musical works. These similarities motivate to look more closely on the discussions regarding the nature of the musical works. With the lessons drawn from the ontology (...)
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  • On Defining Library and Information Science as Applied Philosophy of Information.Luciano Floridi - 2002 - Social Epistemology 16 (1):37–49.
    This paper analyses the relations between philosophy of information (PI), library and information science (LIS) and social epistemology (SE). In the first section, it is argued that there is a natural relation between philosophy and LIS but that SE cannot provide a satisfactory foundation for LIS. SE should rather be seen as sharing with LIS a common ground, represented by the study of information, to be investigated by a new discipline, PI. In the second section, the nature of PI is (...)
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  • Understanding Epistemic Relevance.Luciano Floridi - 2008 - Erkenntnis 69 (1):69-92.
    Agents require a constant flow, and a high level of processing, of relevant semantic information, in order to interact successfully among themselves and with the environment in which they are embedded. Standard theories of information, however, are silent on the nature of epistemic relevance. In this paper, a subjectivist interpretation of epistemic relevance is developed and defended. It is based on a counterfactual and metatheoretical analysis of the degree of relevance of some semantic information i to an informee/agent a, as (...)
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  • Programming Languages as Technical Artifacts.Raymond Turner - 2014 - Philosophy and Technology 27 (3):377-397.
    Taken at face value, a programming language is defined by a formal grammar. But, clearly, there is more to it. By themselves, the naked strings of the language do not determine when a program is correct relative to some specification. For this, the constructs of the language must be given some semantic content. Moreover, to be employed to generate physical computations, a programming language must have a physical implementation. How are we to conceptualize this complex package? Ontologically, what kind of (...)
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  • Offline and Online Data: On Upgrading Functional Information to Knowledge.Giuseppe Primiero - 2013 - Philosophical Studies 164 (2):371-392.
    This paper addresses the problem of upgrading functional information to knowledge. Functional information is defined as syntactically well-formed, meaningful and collectively opaque data. Its use in the formal epistemology of information theories is crucial to solve the debate on the veridical nature of information, and it represents the companion notion to standard strongly semantic information, defined as well-formed, meaningful and true data. The formal framework, on which the definitions are based, uses a contextual version of the verificationist principle of truth (...)
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  • Three Paradigms of Computer Science.Amnon H. Eden - 2007 - Minds and Machines 17 (2):135-167.
    We examine the philosophical disputes among computer scientists concerning methodological, ontological, and epistemological questions: Is computer science a branch of mathematics, an engineering discipline, or a natural science? Should knowledge about the behaviour of programs proceed deductively or empirically? Are computer programs on a par with mathematical objects, with mere data, or with mental processes? We conclude that distinct positions taken in regard to these questions emanate from distinct sets of received beliefs or paradigms within the discipline: – The rationalist (...)
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  • Liczby nieobliczalne a granice kodowania w informatyce.Paweł Stacewicz - 2018 - Studia Semiotyczne 32 (2):131-152.
    Opis danych i programów komputerowych za pomocą liczb jest epistemologicznie użyteczny, ponieważ pozwala określać granice różnego typu obliczeń. Dotyczy to w szczególności obliczeń dyskretnych, opisywalnych za pomocą liczb obliczalnych w sensie Turinga. Matematyczny fakt istnienia liczb rzeczywistych innego typu, tj. nieobliczalnych, wyznacza minimalne ograniczenia technik cyfrowych; z drugiej strony jednak, wskazuje na możliwość teoretycznego opracowania i fizycznej implementacji technik obliczeniowo silniejszych, takich jak obliczenia analogowe-ciągłe. Przedstawione w artykule analizy prowadzą do wniosku, że fizyczne implementacje obliczeń niekonwencjonalnych wymagają występowania w przyrodzie (...)
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  • About the “Trinity Thesis” Regarding the Ontology of Computer Programs.Henri Stephanou - 2020 - Philosophy and Technology 33 (2):323-330.
    This review of Turner’s “Computational Artifacts” focuses on one of the key novelties of the book, namely the proposal to understand the nature of computer programs as a “trinity” of specification, symbolic program, and physical process, replacing the traditional dualist views of programs as functional/structural or as symbolic/physical. This trinitarian view is found to be robust and helpful to solve typical issues of dualist views. Drawing comparisons with Simon’s view of the artifact as an interface, the author suggests that this (...)
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  • Uncomputable Numbers and the Limits of Coding in Computer Science.Paweł Stacewicz - 2019 - Studia Semiotyczne—English Supplement 30:107-126.
    The description of data and computer programs with the use of numbers is epistemologically valuable, because it allows to identify the limits of different types of computations. This applies in particular to discrete computations, which can be described by means of computable numbers in the Turing sense. The mathematical fact that there are real numbers of a different type, i.e. uncomputable numbers, determines the minimal limitations of digital techniques; on the other hand, however, it points to the possibility of the (...)
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