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Semantic conceptions of information

Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (2008)

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  1. State of the Field: Measuring Information and Confirmation.Vincenzo Crupi & Katya Tentori - 2014 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 47:81-90.
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  • Generalized Information Theory Meets Human Cognition: Introducing a Unified Framework to Model Uncertainty and Information Search.Vincenzo Crupi, Jonathan D. Nelson, Björn Meder, Gustavo Cevolani & Katya Tentori - 2018 - Cognitive Science 42 (5):1410-1456.
    Searching for information is critical in many situations. In medicine, for instance, careful choice of a diagnostic test can help narrow down the range of plausible diseases that the patient might have. In a probabilistic framework, test selection is often modeled by assuming that people’s goal is to reduce uncertainty about possible states of the world. In cognitive science, psychology, and medical decision making, Shannon entropy is the most prominent and most widely used model to formalize probabilistic uncertainty and the (...)
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  • The Epistemology of Non-distributive Profiles.Patrick Allo - 2020 - Philosophy and Technology 33 (3):379-409.
    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 (...)
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  • In Defence of the Veridical Nature of Semantic Information.Luciano Floridi - 2007 - European Journal of Analytic Philosophy 3 (1):0-0.
    This paper contributes to the current debate on the nature of semantic information by offering a semantic argument in favour of the veridical thesis according to which p counts as information only if p is true. In the course of the analysis, the paper reviews some basic principles and requirements for any theory of semantic information.
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  • The Fundamental Problem of Logical Omniscience.Peter Hawke, Aybüke Özgün & Francesco Berto - 2020 - Journal of Philosophical Logic 49 (4):727-766.
    We propose a solution to the problem of logical omniscience in what we take to be its fundamental version: as concerning arbitrary agents and the knowledge attitude per se. Our logic of knowledge is a spin-off from a general theory of thick content, whereby the content of a sentence has two components: an intension, taking care of truth conditions; and a topic, taking care of subject matter. We present a list of plausible logical validities and invalidities for the logic of (...)
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  • Can Reference Be Naturalized? -Notes Toward an Integrational(誠) Causality.Daihyun Chung - 2016 - Philosophy Study 6 (5):289-304.
    As physicalisms of various kinds have faced difficulties in recent years, the time has come to explore possible alternatives, one of which is yinyang ontology. A yinyang theorist is expected to provide a plausible account of causation to replace the traditional notion of causation. The present paper is critical of the Humean tradition, which understands the relata of causal relations in terms of passive materiality so that humans use referential terms to describe causal relations constructively. But an alternative notion of (...)
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  • Kolmogorov Randomness, Complexity and the Laws of Nature.Giovanni Sommazzi - 2016 - Dissertation,
    A formal introduction to Kolmogorov complexity is given, along with its fundamental theorems. Most importantly the theorem of undecidability of a random string and the information-theoretic reformulation of Gödel’s first theorem of incompleteness, stated by Chaitin. Then, the discussion moves on to inquire about some philosophical implications the concept randomness has in the fields of physics and mathematics. Starting from the notion of “understanding as compression” of information, as it is illuminated by algorithmic information theory, it is investigated (1) what (...)
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  • Imagine the Possibilities: Information Without Overload.Mark Jago - 2006 - Logique Et Analyse 49 (196):345–371.
    Information is often modelled as a set of relevant possibilities, treated as logically possible worlds. However, this has the unintuitive consequence that the logical consequences of an agent's information cannot be informative for that agent. There are many scenarios in which such consequences are clearly informative for the agent in question. Attempts to weaken the logic underlying each possible world are misguided. Instead, I provide a genuinely psychological notion of epistemic possibility and show how it can be captured in a (...)
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  • Privacy, the Internet of Things and State Surveillance: Handling Personal Information Within an Inhuman System.Adam Henschke - 2020 - Moral Philosophy and Politics 7 (1):123-149.
    The Internet of Things is, in part, an information handling system that can remove humans from the information handling process. The particular problem explored is how we are to understand privacy when considering informational systems that handle personal information in ways that impact people’s lives when there is no human operator in direct contact with that personal information. I argue that these new technologies need to take concepts like privacy into account, but also, that we ought also to take these (...)
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  • Neural Information and the Problem of Objectivity.Charles Rathkopf - 2017 - Biology and Philosophy 32 (3):321-336.
    A fascinating research program in neurophysiology attempts to quantify the amount of information transmitted by single neurons. The claims that emerge from this research raise new philosophical questions about the nature of information. What kind of information is being quantified? Do the resulting quantities describe empirical magnitudes like those found elsewhere in the natural sciences? In this article, it is argued that neural information quantities have a relativisitic character that makes them distinct from the kinds of information typically discussed in (...)
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  • Hacia una interpretación fisico-causal de la información en contextos comunicacionales.Cristian Ariel López & Olimpia Iris Lombardi - 2018 - Critica 50 (149):59-88.
    El objetivo del presente artículo es proponer una nueva interpretación del concepto de información en contextos comunicacionales: una interpretación físicocausal. Apelando a las teorías manipulabilistas de la causación, principalmente en su versión intervencionista, buscaremos mostrar que la información comunicacional es una propiedad física que podemos manipular para generar situaciones comunicacionales. Este enfoque nos permite entender la naturaleza de la comunicación como estructura causal, puesta de manifiesto mediante criterios manipulabilistas. Confiamos en que el enfoque propuesto logra superar ciertas dificultades de las (...)
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  • Is There Room in Quantum Ontology for a Genuine Causal Role for Consciousness?Paavo Pylkkänen - 2017 - In E. Haven & A. Khrennikov (eds.), The Palgrave Handbook of Quantum Models in Social Science: Applications and Grand Challenges. London: Palgrave Macmillan. pp. 293-317.
    Western philosophy and science have a strongly dualistic tradition regarding the mental and physical aspects of reality, which makes it difficult to understand their possible causal relations. In recent debates in cognitive neuroscience it has been common to claim on the basis of neural experiments that conscious experiences are causally inefficacious. At the same time there is much evidence that consciousness does play an important role in guiding behavior. The author explores whether a new way of understanding the causal role (...)
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  • Información biológica: ¿La teoría de la información ataca de nuevo?María Ferreira Ruiz - 2019 - Manuscrito 42 (1):169-209.
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  • A Scientific Metaphysical Naturalisation of Information.Bruce Long - 2018 - Dissertation, University of Sydney
    The objective of this thesis is to present a naturalised metaphysics of information, or to naturalise information, by way of deploying a scientific metaphysics according to which contingency is privileged and a-priori conceptual analysis is excluded (or at least greatly diminished) in favour of contingent and defeasible metaphysics. The ontology of information is established according to the premises and mandate of the scientific metaphysics by inference to the best explanation, and in accordance with the idea that the primacy of physics (...)
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  • A Critical Analysis of Floridi’s Theory of Semantic Information.Pieter Adriaans - 2010 - Knowledge, Technology & Policy 23 (1-2):41-56.
    n various publications over the past years, Floridi has developed a theory of semantic information as well-formed, meaningful, and truthful data. This theory is more or less orthogonal to the standard entropy-based notions of information known from physics, information theory, and computer science that all define the amount of information in a certain system as a scalar value without any direct semantic implication. In this context the question rises what the exact relation between these various conceptions of information is and (...)
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  • What is Quantum Information?Olimpia Lombardi, Federico Holik & Leonardo Vanni - 2016 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 56:17-26.
    In the present paper we develop different arguments to show that there are no reasons to consider that there exists quantum information as qualitatively different than Shannon information. There is only one kind of information, which can be coded by means of orthogonal or non-orthogonal states. The analogy between Shannon’s theory and Schumacher’s theory is confined to coding theorems. The attempt to extend the analogy beyond this original scope leads to a concept of quantum information that becomes indistinguishable from that (...)
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  • Meaning, Autonomy, Symbolic Causality, and Free Will.Russ Abbott - 2018 - Review of General Psychology 22 (1):85-94.
    As physical entities that translate symbols into physical actions, computers offer insights into the nature of meaning and agency. • Physical symbol systems, generically known as agents, link abstractions to material actions. The meaning of a symbol is defined as the physical actions an agent takes when the symbol is encountered. • An agent has autonomy when it has the power to select actions based on internal decision processes. Autonomy offers a partial escape from constraints imposed by direct physical influences (...)
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  • Consciousness: A Unique Way of Processing Information.Giorgio Marchetti - 2018 - Cognitive Processing 1 (1612-4782).
    In this article, I argue that consciousness is a unique way of processing information, in that: it produces information, rather than purely transmitting it; the information it produces is meaningful for us; the meaning it has is always individuated. This uniqueness allows us to process information on the basis of our personal needs and ever-changing interactions with the environment, and consequently to act autonomously. Three main basic cognitive processes contribute to realize this unique way of information processing: the self, attention (...)
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  • Tacit Representations and Artificial Intelligence: Hidden Lessons From an Embodied Perspective on Cognition.Elena Spitzer - 2016 - In Vincent Müller (ed.), Fundamental Issues of Artificial Intelligence. Springer. pp. 425-441.
    In this paper, I explore how an embodied perspective on cognition might inform research on artificial intelligence. Many embodied cognition theorists object to the central role that representations play on the traditional view of cognition. Based on these objections, it may seem that the lesson from embodied cognition is that AI should abandon representation as a central component of intelligence. However, I argue that the lesson from embodied cognition is actually that AI research should shift its focus from how to (...)
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  • Environments of Intelligence. From Natural Information to Artficial Interaction.Hajo Greif - 2017 - London: Routledge.
    What is the role of the environment, and of the information it provides, in cognition? More specifically, may there be a role for certain artefacts to play in this context? These are questions that motivate "4E" theories of cognition (as being embodied, embedded, extended, enactive). In his take on that family of views, Hajo Greif first defends and refines a concept of information as primarily natural, environmentally embedded in character, which had been eclipsed by information-processing views of cognition. He continues (...)
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  • Information-Not-Thing: Further Problems with and Alternatives to the Belief That Information is Physical.Jesse David Dinneen & Christian Brauner - 2017 - Proceedings of 2017 CAIS-ACSI Conference.
    In this short paper, we show that a popular view in information science, information-as-thing, fails to account for a common example of information that seems physical. We then demonstrate how the distinction between types and tokens, recently used to analyse Shannon information, can account for this same example by viewing information as abstract, and discuss existing definitions of information that are consistent with this approach. -/- Dans ce court article nous montrons qu'une vision populaire en sciences de l'information, l'information en (...)
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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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  • The Dissolution of Bar-Hillel-Carnap Paradox by Semantic Information Theory Based on a Paraconsistent Logic.Samir Gorsky - 2018 - Principia: An International Journal of Epistemology 22 (1):139-151.
    Several logical puzzles, riddles and problems are defined based on the notion of games in informative contexts. Hintikka argues that epistemology or the theory of knowledge must be considered from the notion of information. So, knowledge cannot just be based on the notions of belief and justification. The present proposal will focus on the logical structure of information, and not only on the quantification of information as suggested by Claude A. Shannon. In many cases, the information bits, although seemingly or (...)
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  • Deflating the Deflationary View of Information.Olimpia Lombardi, Sebastian Fortin & Cristian López - 2016 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 6 (2):209-230.
    Christopher Timpson proposes a deflationary view about information, according to which the term ‘information’ is an abstract noun and, as a consequence, information is not part of the material contents of the world. The main purpose of the present article consists in supplying a critical analysis of this proposal, which will lead us to conclude that information is an item even more abstract than what Timpson claims. From this view, we embrace a pluralist stance that recognizes the legitimacy of different (...)
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  • Mental Evolution: A Review of Daniel Dennett’s From Bacteria to Bach and Back. [REVIEW]Charles Rathkopf - 2017 - Biology and Philosophy 32 (6):1355-1368.
    From Bacteria To Bach and Back is an ambitious book that attempts to integrate a theory about the evolution of the human mind with another theory about the evolution of human culture. It is advertised as a defense of memes, but conceptualizes memes more liberally than has been done before. It is also advertised as a defense of the proposal that natural selection operates on culture, but conceptualizes natural selection as a process in which nearly all interesting parameters are free (...)
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  • The Deflationary View of Information Reloaded: Communication and Manipulability.Olimpia Lombardi & Cristian López - unknown
    Timpson’s deflationary view of information is an innovative and well articulated view that had a great impact on the philosophy of physics community. However, recently some of the arguments supporting the deflationist view have been critically reviewed. The aim of this paper is to retain the general idea behind Timpson’s proposal, but replacing the conflictive elements used to support his thesis with new argumentative resources based on the notion of manipulability.
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  • Information, Security, Privacy, and Anonymity : Definitional and Conceptual Issues.Björn Lundgren - 2018 - Dissertation, KTH Royal Institute of Technology
    This doctoral thesis consists of five research papers that address four tangential topics, all of which are relevant for the challenges we are facing in our socio-technical society: information, security, privacy, and anonymity. All topics are approached by similar methods, i.e. with a concern about conceptual and definitional issues. In Paper I—concerning the concept of information and a semantic conception thereof—it is argued that the veridicality thesis is false. In Paper II—concerning information security—it is argued that the current leading definitions (...)
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  • Tesitmony as Significance Negotiation.F. Epp Jennifer - unknown
    This dissertation addresses the following questions: How should epistemologists conceptualize testimony? What do people use testimony to do? And why does ‘what people do’ with testimony matter epistemically? In response to these questions I both define and characterize testimony. While doing so I argue for the following answers, given here very briefly: What do people do when they testify? They tell each other things and avow that those things are true, offering their statements to others as reasons to believe. More (...)
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  • Information as a Probabilistic Difference Maker.Andrea Scarantino - 2015 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 93 (3):419-443.
    By virtue of what do alarm calls and facial expressions carry natural information? The answer I defend in this paper is that they carry natural information by virtue of changing the probabilities of various states of affairs, relative to background data. The Probabilistic Difference Maker Theory of natural information that I introduce here is inspired by Dretske's [1981] seminal analysis of natural information, but parts ways with it by eschewing the requirements that information transmission must be nomically underwritten, mind-independent, and (...)
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  • Methodological Practice and Complementary Concepts of Logical Consequence: Tarski's Model-Theoretic Consequence and Corcoran's Information-Theoretic Consequence.José M. Sagüillo - 2009 - History and Philosophy of Logic 30 (1):21-48.
    This article discusses two coextensive concepts of logical consequence that are implicit in the two fundamental logical practices of establishing validity and invalidity for premise-conclusion arguments. The premises and conclusion of an argument have information content (they ?say? something), and they have subject matter (they are ?about? something). The asymmetry between establishing validity and establishing invalidity has long been noted: validity is established through an information-processing procedure exhibiting a step-by-step deduction of the conclusion from the premise-set. Invalidity is established by (...)
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  • Knowability Relative to Information.Peter Hawke & Franz Berto - forthcoming - Mind.
    We present a formal semantics for epistemic logic, capturing the notion of knowability relative to information (KRI). Like Dretske, we move from the platitude that what an agent can know depends on her (empirical) information. We treat operators of the form K_AB (‘B is knowable on the basis of information A’) as variably strict quantifiers over worlds with a topic- or aboutness- preservation constraint. Variable strictness models the non-monotonicity of knowledge acquisition while allowing knowledge to be intrinsically stable. Aboutness-preservation models (...)
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  • Why Theories of Causality Need Production : An Information Transmission Account.Phyllis McKay Illari - 2011 - Philosophy and Technology 24 (2):95-114.
    In this paper, I examine the comparatively neglected intuition of production regarding causality. I begin by examining the weaknesses of current production accounts of causality. I then distinguish between giving a good production account of causality and a good account of production. I argue that an account of production is needed to make sense of vital practices in causal inference. Finally, I offer an information transmission account of production based on John Collier’s work that solves the primary weaknesses of current (...)
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  • Uncertainty, Credal Sets and Second Order Probability.Jonas Clausen Mork - 2013 - Synthese 190 (3):353-378.
    The last 20 years or so has seen an intense search carried out within Dempster–Shafer theory, with the aim of finding a generalization of the Shannon entropy for belief functions. In that time, there has also been much progress made in credal set theory—another generalization of the traditional Bayesian epistemic representation—albeit not in this particular area. In credal set theory, sets of probability functions are utilized to represent the epistemic state of rational agents instead of the single probability function of (...)
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  • Information Closure and the Sceptical Objection.Luciano Floridi - 2014 - Synthese 191 (6):1037-1050.
    In this article, I define and then defend the principle of information closure (pic) against a sceptical objection similar to the one discussed by Dretske in relation to the principle of epistemic closure. If I am successful, given that pic is equivalent to the axiom of distribution and that the latter is one of the conditions that discriminate between normal and non-normal modal logics, a main result of such a defence is that one potentially good reason to look for a (...)
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  • Natural Probabilistic Information.Daniel M. Kraemer - 2015 - Synthese 192 (9):2901-2919.
    Natural information refers to the information carried by natural signs such as that smoke is thought to carry natural information about fire. A number of influential philosophers have argued that natural information can also be utilized in a theory of mental content. The most widely discussed account of natural information holds that it results from an extremely strong relation between sign and signified. Critics have responded that it is doubtful that there are many strong relations of this sort in the (...)
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  • Reasoning About Data and Information: Abstraction Between States and Commodities.Patrick Allo - 2009 - Synthese 167 (2):231-249.
    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 (...)
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  • The Logic of 'Being Informed' Revisited and Revised.Patrick Allo - 2011 - Philosophical Studies 153 (3):417-434.
    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 (...)
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  • Information Dynamics.Amos Golan - 2014 - Minds and Machines 24 (1):19-36.
    Though we have access to a wealth of information, the main issue is always how to process the available information. How to make sense of all we observe and know. Just like the English alphabet: we know there are 26 letters but unless we put these letters together in a meaningful way, they convey no information. There are infinitely many ways of putting these letters together. Only a small number of those make sense. Only some of those convey exactly what (...)
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  • Distributed Cognition in Scientific Contexts.Hyundeuk Cheon - 2014 - Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 45 (1):23-33.
    Even though it has been argued that scientific cognition is distributed, there is no consensus on the exact nature of distributed cognition. This paper aims to characterize distributed cognition as appropriate for philosophical studies of science. I first classify competing characterizations into three types: the property approach, the task approach, and the system approach. It turns out that the property approach and the task approach are subject to criticism. I then argue that the most preferable way to understand distributed cognition (...)
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  • Information Gain and Approaching True Belief.Jonas Clausen Mork - 2015 - Erkenntnis 80 (1):77-96.
    Recent years have seen a renewed interest in the philosophical study of information. In this paper a two-part analysis of information gain—objective and subjective—in the context of doxastic change is presented and discussed. Objective information gain is analyzed in terms of doxastic movement towards true belief, while subjective information gain is analyzed as an agent’s expectation value of her objective information gain for a given doxastic change. The resulting expression for subjective information gain turns out to be a familiar one (...)
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  • A Universal Model for the Normative Evaluation of Internet Information.Edward H. Spence - 2009 - Ethics and Information Technology 11 (4):243-253.
    Beginning with the initial premise that as the Internet has a global character, the paper will argue that the normative evaluation of digital information on the Internet necessitates an evaluative model that is itself universal and global in character. The paper will show that information has a dual normative structure that commits all disseminators of information to both epistemological and ethical norms that are in principle universal and thus global in application. Based on this dual normative characterization of information the (...)
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  • Medicine in a Neurocentric World: About the Explanatory Power of Neuroscientific Models in Medical Research and Practice. [REVIEW]Lara Huber & Lara K. Kutschenko - 2009 - Medicine Studies 1 (4):307-313.
    Medicine in a Neurocentric World: About the Explanatory Power of Neuroscientific Models in Medical Research and Practice Content Type Journal Article Category Editorial Notes Pages 307-313 DOI 10.1007/s12376-009-0036-2 Authors Lara Huber, University Medical Center of the Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz Institute for History, Philosophy and Ethics of Medicine Am Pulverturm 13 55131 Mainz Germany Lara K. Kutschenko, University Medical Center of the Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz Institute for History, Philosophy and Ethics of Medicine Am Pulverturm 13 55131 Mainz Germany Journal (...)
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  • A Semantic Information Formula Compatible with Shannon and Popper's Theories.Chenguang Lu - manuscript
    Semantic Information conveyed by daily language has been researched for many years; yet, we still need a practical formula to measure information of a simple sentence or prediction, such as “There will be heavy rain tomorrow”. For practical purpose, this paper introduces a new formula, Semantic Information Formula (SIF), which is based on L. A. Zadeh’s fuzzy set theory and P. Z. Wang’s random set falling shadow theory. It carries forward C. E. Shannon and K. Popper’s thought. The fuzzy set’s (...)
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  • What is Shannon Information?Olimpia Lombardi, Federico Holik & Leonardo Vanni - 2016 - Synthese 193 (7):1983-2012.
    Despite of its formal precision and its great many applications, Shannon’s theory still offers an active terrain of debate when the interpretation of its main concepts is the task at issue. In this article we try to analyze certain points that still remain obscure or matter of discussion, and whose elucidation contribute to the assessment of the different interpretative proposals about the concept of information. In particular, we argue for a pluralist position, according to which the different views about information (...)
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  • Information Without Truth.Andrea Scarantino & Gualtiero Piccinini - 2010 - Metaphilosophy 41 (3):313-330.
    Abstract: According to the Veridicality Thesis, information requires truth. On this view, smoke carries information about there being a fire only if there is a fire, the proposition that the earth has two moons carries information about the earth having two moons only if the earth has two moons, and so on. We reject this Veridicality Thesis. We argue that the main notions of information used in cognitive science and computer science allow A to have information about the obtaining of (...)
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  • A Critical Analysis of Floridi’s Theory of Semantic Information.Pieter Adriaans - 2010 - Knowledge, Technology & Policy 23 (1-2):41-56.
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