In information societies, operations, decisions and choices previously left to humans are increasingly delegated to algorithms, which may advise, if not decide, about how data should be interpreted and what actions should be taken as a result. More and more often, algorithms mediate social processes, business transactions, governmental decisions, and how we perceive, understand, and interact among ourselves and with the environment. Gaps between the design and operation of algorithms and our understanding of their ethical implications can have severe consequences (...) affecting individuals as well as groups and whole societies. This paper makes three contributions to clarify the ethical importance of algorithmic mediation. It provides a prescriptive map to organise the debate. It reviews the current discussion of ethical aspects of algorithms. And it assesses the available literature in order to identify areas requiring further work to develop the ethics of algorithms. (shrink)
The logic of ‘being informed’ gives a formal analysis of a cognitive state that does not coincide with either belief, or knowledge. To Floridi, who first proposed the formal analysis, the latter is supported by the fact that unlike knowledge or belief, being informed is a factive, but not a reflective state. This paper takes a closer look at the formal analysis itself, provides a pure and an applied semantics for the logic of being informed, and tries to find out (...) to what extent the formal analysis can contribute to an information-based epistemology. (shrink)
Informational semantics were first developed as an interpretation of the model-theory of substructural (and especially relevant) logics. In this paper we argue that such a semantics is of independent value and that it should be considered as a genuine alternative explication of the notion of logical consequence alongside the traditional model-theoretical and the proof-theoretical accounts. Our starting point is the content-nonexpansion platitude which stipulates that an argument is valid iff the content of the conclusion does not exceed the combined content (...) of the premises. We show that this basic platitude can be used to characterise the extension of classical as well as non-classical consequence relations. The distinctive trait of an informational semantics is that truth-conditions are replaced by information-conditions. The latter leads to an inversion of the usual order of explanation: Considerations about logical discrimination (how finely propositions are individuated) are conceptually prior to considerations about deductive strength. Because this allows us to bypass considerations about truth, an informational semantics provides an attractive and metaphysically unencumbered account of logical consequence, non-classical logics, logical rivalry and pluralism about logical consequence. (shrink)
Abstract: The core aim of this special issue is to present the philosophy of information as a way of doing philosophy, to focus on the contributions of Luciano Floridi to that area, and most important, to stimulate the debate on the most distinctive and controversial views he has defended in that context. This introduction contains a description of the philosophy of information, a discussion of two common misconceptions about the scope and the ambition of the philosophy of information, and a (...) brief overview of the essays in the issue. (shrink)
The starting point of this paper is a version of intra-theoretical pluralism that was recently proposed by Hjortland . In a first move, I use synonymy-relations to formulate an intuitively compelling objection against Hjortland's claim that, if one uses a single calculus to characterise the consequence relations of the paraconsistent logic LP and the paracomplete logic K3, one immediately obtains multiple consequence relations for a single language and hence a reply to the Quinean charge of meaning variance. In a second (...) move, I explain how a natural generalisation of the notion of synonymy can be used to counter this objection, but I also show how the solution can be turned into an equally devastating ‘one logic after all’ type of objection. Finally, I propose the general diagnosis that these problems could only arise in the presence of conceptual distinctions that are too coarse to accommodate coherent pluralist theses. T.. (shrink)
This paper develops and refines the suggestion that logical systems are conceptual artefacts that are the outcome of a design-process by exploring how a constructionist epistemology and meta-philosophy can be integrated within the philosophy of logic.
In this paper I present a more refined analysis of the principles of deductive closure and positive introspection. This analysis uses the expressive resources of logics for different types of group knowledge, and discriminates between aspects of closure and computation that are often conflated. The resulting model also yields a more fine-grained distinction between implicit and explicit knowledge, and places Hintikka’s original argument for positive introspection in a new perspective.
The traditional connection between logic and reasoning has been under pressure ever since Gilbert Harman attacked the received view that logic yields norms for what we should believe. In this article I first place Harman's challenge in the broader context of the dialectic between logical revisionists like Bob Meyer and sceptics about the role of logic in reasoning like Harman. I then develop a formal model based on contemporary epistemic and doxastic logic in which the relation between logic and norms (...) for belief can be captured. (shrink)
Up to now theories of semantic information have implicitly relied on logical monism, or the view that there is one true logic. The latter position has been explicitly challenged by logical pluralists. Adopting an unbiased attitude in the philosophy of information, we take a suggestion from Beall and Restall at heart and exploit logical pluralism to recognise another kind of pluralism. The latter is called informational pluralism, a thesis whose implications for a theory of semantic information we explore.
Substructural pluralism about the meaning of logical connectives is best understood as the view that natural language connectives have all (and only) the properties conferred by classical logic, but that particular occurrences of these connectives cannot simultaneously exhibit all these properties. This is just a more sophisticated way of saying that while natural language connectives are ambiguous, they are not so in the way classical logic intends them to be. Since this view is usually framed as a means to resolve (...) paradoxes, little attention is paid to the logical properties of the ambiguous connectives themselves. The present paper sets out to fill this gap. First, I argue that substructural logicians should care about these connectives; next, I describe a consequence relation between a set of ambiguous premises and an ambiguous conclusion, and review the logical properties of ambiguous connectives; and finally, I highlight how ambiguous connectives can explain our intuitions about logical rivalry. (shrink)
Cognitive states as well as cognitive commodities play central though distinct roles in our epistemological theories. By being attentive to how a difference in their roles affects our way of referring to them, we can undoubtedly accrue our understanding of the structure and functioning of our main epistemological theories. In this paper we propose an analysis of the dichotomy between states and commodities in terms of the method of abstraction, and more specifically by means of infomorphisms between different ways to (...) classify states of information, information-bases, and evidential situations. (shrink)
The distinction between distributive and non-distributive profiles figures prominently in current evaluations of the ethical and epistemological risks that are associated with automated profiling practices. The diagnosis that non-distributive profiles may coincidentally situate an individual in the wrong category is often perceived as the central shortcoming of such profiles. According to this diagnosis, most risks can be retraced to the use of non-universal generalisations and various other statistical associations. This article develops a top-down analysis of non-distributive profiles in which this (...) fallibility of non-distributive profiles is no longer central. Instead, it focuses on how profiling creates various asymmetries between an individual data-subject and a profiler. The emergence of informational, interest, and perspectival asymmetries between data-subject and profiler explains how non-distributive profiles weaken the epistemic position of a profiled individual. This alternative analysis provides a more balanced assessment of the epistemic risks associated with non-distributive profiles. (shrink)
In this paper we provide a formal description of what it means to be in a local or partial information-state. Starting from the notion of locality in a relational structure, we define so-called adaptive gen- erated submodels. The latter are then shown to yield an adaptive logic wherein the derivability of Pφ is naturally interpreted as a core property of being in a state in which one holds the information that φ.
Informational conceptions of logic are barely novel. We find them in the work of John Corcoran, in several papers on substructural and constructive logics by Heinrich Wansing, and in the interpretation of the Routley-Meyer semantics for relevant logics in terms of Barwises and Perrys theory of situations. Allo & Mares  present an informational account of logical consequence that is based on the content-nonexpantion platitude, but that also relies on a double inversion of the standard direction of explanation (in- (...) formation doesnt depend on a prior notion of meaning, but is used to naturalize meaning, and informational content is not defined relative to a pre-existing logical space, but that space is constructed relative to the level of abstraction at which information is assessed). In this paper I focus directly on one of the main ideas introduced in that paper, namely the contrast between logical discrimination and deductive strength, and use this contrast to (1) illustrate a number of open problems for an informational conception of logical consequence, (2) review its connection with the dynamic turn in logic, and (3) situate it relative to the research agenda of the philosophy of information. (shrink)
Modal logics have in the past been used as a unifying framework for the minimality semantics used in defeasible inference, conditional logic, and belief revision. The main aim of the present paper is to add adaptive logics, a general framework for a wide range of defeasible reasoning forms developed by Diderik Batens and his co-workers, to the growing list of formalisms that can be studied with the tools and methods of contemporary modal logic. By characterising the class of abnormality models, (...) this aim is achieved at the level of the model-theory. By proposing formulae that express the consequence relation of adaptive logic in the object-language, the same aim is also partially achieved at the syntactical level. (shrink)
One of the basic principles of the general definition of information is its rejection of dataless information, which is reflected in its endorsement of an ontological neutrality. In general, this principles states that “there can be no information without physical implementation” (Floridi (2005)). Though this is standardly considered a commonsensical assumption, many questions arise with regard to its generalised application. In this paper a combined logic for data and information is elaborated, and specifically used to investigate the consequences of restricted (...) and unrestricted data-implementation-principles. (shrink)
Floridi’s chapter on relevant information bridges the analysis of “being informed” with the analysis of knowledge as “relevant information that is accounted for” by analysing subjective or epistemic relevance in terms of the questions that an agent might ask in certain circumstances. In this paper, I scrutinise this analysis, identify a number of problems with it, and finally propose an improvement. By way of epilogue, I offer some more general remarks on the relation between (bounded) rationality, the need to ask (...) the right questions, and the ability to ask the right questions. (shrink)
This commentary is a reflection on a collaboration with the artist Rossella Biscotti and comments on how artistic research and logico-mathematical methods can be used to contribute to the development of critical perspectives on contemporary data practices.
In this paper I reassess Floridi's solution to the Bar-Hillel-Carnap paradox (the information-yield of inconsistent propositions is maximal) by questioning the orthodox view that contradictions cannot be true. The main part of the paper is devoted to showing that the veridicality thesis (semantic information has to be true) is compatible with dialetheism (there are true contradictions), and that unless we accept the additional non-falsity thesis (information cannot be false) there is no reason to presuppose that there is no such thing (...) like contradictory information. (shrink)
Herbert Simon was definitely 20th century’s most influential proponent of bounded rationality. His work was of a highly philosophical nature, but—as made clear time and again in this book—his ideas did not originate in philosophy at all. If the present collection of essays has any value to the philosophically oriented reader, it lies in the way it shows how a traditionally philosophical topic as human rationality and action cannot be claimed by philosophy alone. Even more, it shows that important contributions (...) to the issue were made in a highly applied context. Therefore, even if Models of a Man: Essays in Memory of Herbert Simon is all but a philosophy textbook, it is of interest to anyone taking Simon ’s influence in philosophy seriously. (shrink)
As Vincent Hendricks remarks early on in this book, the formal and mainstream traditions of epistemic theorising have mostly evolved independently of each other. This initial impression is confirmed by a comparison of the main problems and methods practitioners in each tradition are concerned with. Mainstream epistemol- ogy engages in a dialectical game of proposing and challenging definitions of knowledge. Formal epistemologists proceed differently, as they design a wide variety of axiomatic and model-theoretic methods whose consequences they investigate independently of (...) the need of giving counterexample-free definitions of knowledge. Or at least, this is a common way to explain where both disciplines stand in the larger landscape of epistemic theorising, and why interactions between them remain scarce. The main ambition of this book is to show that the distinction between formal and mainstream approaches should not preclude a fruitful interaction, and that it only takes the right outlook on their respective practices to disclose plenty of room for interaction. (shrink)
We present a multi-conclusion natural deduction calculus characterizing the dynamic reasoning typical of Adaptive Logics. The resulting system AdaptiveND is sound and complete with respect to the propositional fragment of adaptive logics based on CLuN. This appears to be the first tree-format presentation of the standard linear dynamic proof system typical of Adaptive Logics. It offers the advantage of full transparency in the formulation of locally derivable rules, a connection between restricted inference-rules and their adaptive counterpart, and the formulation of (...) abnormalities as a subtype of well-formed formulas. These features of the proposed calculus allow us to clarify the relation between defeasible and multiple-conclusion approaches to classical recapture. (shrink)
In this paper I use the distinction between hard and soft information from the dynamic epistemic logic tradition to extend prior work on informational conceptions of logic to include non-monotonic consequence-relations. In particular, I defend the claim that at least some non-monotonic logics can be understood on the basis of soft or “belief-like” logical information, and thereby question the orthodox view that all logical information is hard, “knowledge-like”, information.
European Computing and Philosophy conference, 2–4 July Barcelona The Seventh ECAP (European Computing and Philosophy) conference was organized by Jordi Vallverdu at Autonomous University of Barcelona. The conference started with the IACAP (The International Association for CAP) presidential address by Luciano Floridi, focusing on mechanisms of knowledge production in informational networks. The first keynote delivered by Klaus Mainzer made a frame for the rest of the conference, by elucidating the fundamental role of complexity of informational structures that can be analyzed (...) on different levels of organization giving place for variety of possible approaches which converge in this cross-disciplinary and multi-disciplinary research field. Keynotes by Kevin Warwick about re-embodiment of rats’ neurons into robots, Raymond Turner on syntax and semantics in programming languages, Roderic Guigo on Biocomputing Sciences and Francesco Subirada on the past and future of supercomputing presented different topics of philosophical as well as practical aspects of computing. Vonference tracks included: Philosophy of Information (PatrickAllo), Philosophy of Computer Science (Raymond Turner), Computer and Information Ethics (Johnny Søraker and Alison Adam), Computational Approaches to the Mind (Ruth Hagengruber), IT and Cultural Diversity (Jutta Weber and Charles Ess), Crossroads (David Casacuberta), Robotics, AI & Ambient Intelligence (Thomas Roth-Berghofer), Biocomputing, Evolutionary and Complex Systems (Gordana Dodig Crnkovic and Søren Brier), E-learning, E-science and Computer-Supported Cooperative Work (Annamaria Carusi) and Technological Singularity and Acceleration Studies (Amnon Eden). (shrink)
Fichte's reputation at the present time is in some respects a curious one. On the one hand, he is by common consent acknowledged to have exercised a dominant influence upon the development of German thought during the opening decades of the nineteenth century. Thus from a specifically philosophical point of view he is regarded as an innovator who played a decisive role in transforming Kant's transcendental idealism into the absolute idealism of his immediate successors, while at a more general level (...) he is customarily seen as having put into currency certain persuasive conceptions which contributed—less directly but no less surely—to the emergence and spread of romanticism in some of its varied and ramifying forms. On the other hand, however, it is noticeable that detailed consideration of his work has not figured prominently in the recent revival of concern with post-Kantian thought as a whole which has been manifested by philosophers of the English-speaking world. Although his name is frequently mentioned in that connection, one suspects that his books may not be so often read. In part this may be due to his particular mode of expounding his views, which at times attains a level of opacity that can make even Hegel's obscurest passages seem comparatively tractable. It is also true that Fichte's principal theoretical works—if not his semipopular writings—are largely devoid of the allusions to scientific, historical, psychological or cultural matters with which his German contemporaries were prone to illustrate their philosophical doctrines and enliven their more abstract discussions: there is a daunting aridity about much of what he wrote which can raise nagging doubts in the modern reader's mind about the actual issues that are in question. Yet the fact remains that by the close of the eighteenth century his ideas had already made a profound impact, capturing the imagination of a host of German thinkers and intellectuals. The problem therefore arises as to what preoccupations, current at the time, they owed their indubitable appeal and to what puzzles they were welcomed as proffering a solution. If these can be identified, it may become at least partially intelligible that Fichte should have been widely regarded as having provided a framework within which certain hitherto intractable difficulties could be satisfactorily reformulated and resolved. Let me accordingly begin by saying something about them. (shrink)
One of the striking features of the last few years has been a re-awakening of interest in spirituality. Many new books on prayer have appeared, old classics of the spiritual life have been re-published, prayer groups have sprung up and the Charismatic Movement has become an important factor in many Christian communities. If the 1960s was the decade of secularism and ‘God is dead’, the 1970s may well go down in history as the decade of renascent spirituality. But this interest (...) in spirituality has not, in general, gone hand in hand with a renewed interest in theology: indeed, in many cases I detect a positive hostility towards professional theologians . Still less has there been any link between this concern with spirituality and philosophy. And yet there are many important philosophical problems here: given that in a spiritual way of life men have certain experiences and are changed in various ways, what does this show? (shrink)
When considering a suitable topic for inclusion in this collection, it occurred to me that it might be worth discussing a writer whose interests were largely centred on themes directly related to those cited in the collection's title, and who throughout most of his philosophical career remained particularly insistent upon the need to define the boundaries separating humanistic modes of understanding from ones associated with the physical sciences. The writer in question was R. G. Collingwood. Although Collingwood has justly been (...) credited with perceptive insights into the metaphysical origins and presuppositions of natural science, as well as with raising pointed questions concerning the nature of conceptual change in scientific thought, he had in fact little first-hand knowledge of the subject and it is not in this sphere that his chief claims to importance and originality lie. Rather, they are to be found in an area with which he was certainly intimately acquainted and in which as a practitioner he helped to make significant discoveries on the ground. That was history, a discipline requiring in his view a type of thinking that had either been ignored by his philosophical contemporaries or else misconceived and distorted by those who had troubled to consider it. Thus, as a result of making a serious effort on his own account to come to terms with what it involved, he became—in his own words at the time—‘more and more conscious of being an outlaw’. (shrink)
In this interview, Jordan B. Kinder discusses The Beast: Making a Living on a Dying Planet with Patrick McCurdy. The Beast is a 2018 graphic novel published by independent Canadian publisher Ad Astra Comix. It is the result of a collaboration between communications scholar Patrick McCurdy, writer Hugh Goldring, and artist Nicole Marie Burton. Emerging from McCurdy’s work on the MediaToil database project—a database that gathers together competing visual representations of the Athabasca Oil Sands from several stakeholders—the graphic (...) novel addresses themes that arise from these representations while creatively exploring and navigating the tensions at the core of trying to live well in our current petroculture, a culture underwritten by neoliberalism and economic precarity. (shrink)
This volume reveals the wisdom we can learn from sailing, a sport that pits human skills against the elements, tests the mettle and is a rich source of valuable lessons in life. Unravels the philosophical mysteries behind one of the oldest organized human activities Features contributions from philosophers and academics as well as from sailors themselves Enriches appreciation of the sport by probing its meaning and value Brings to life the many applications of philosophy to sailing and the profound lessons (...) it can teach us A thought-provoking read for sailors and philosophers alike. (shrink)
As J. Baird Callicott has argued, Adam Smith’s moral theory is a philosophical ancestor of recent work in environmental ethics. However, Smith’s “all important emotion of sympathy” (Callicott 2001: 209) seems incapable of extension to entities that lack emotions with which one can sympathize. Drawing on the distinctive account of sympathy developed in Smith’s Theory of Moral Sentiments , as well as his account of anthropomorphizing nature in “History of Astronomy and Physics,” I show that sympathy with non-sentient nature is (...) possible within a Smithian ethics. This provides the possibility of extending sympathy, and thereby benevolence and justice, to nature. (shrink)
The Naked Self is a great book. It is good Kierkegaard scholarship and an excellent model of bringing history of philosophy to bear on contemporary metaphysics. After a stage-setting introduction, the book has eight main chapters and a conclusion including questions and answers from an imagined interlocutor. Stokes takes the reader from how “Kierkegaard’s phenomenology of self-experience may… be a useful resource for neo-Lockean metaphysics” to a sustained defense that “Kierkegaard himself is playing a different, and altogether more interesting, game”.Stokes’s (...) boldness is evident in his title, which remains mysterious until late in the book. Stokes draws on two key passages... (shrink)