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)
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.
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)
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.
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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.
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)
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)
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)
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.