The Philosophy of Information: Ethical, Ontological and Epistemic Perspectives.

Steven McKinlay

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

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Abstract

This thesis is a philosophical examination with the aim of developing more robust accounts of Luciano Floridi''s informational realism and information ethics. Floridi''s novel metaphysical framework argues that reality can be analysed from an informational perspective. Using object oriented terminology and theory Floridi develops his theory as a world consisting of dynamically interacting informational objects. Furthermore, Floridi''s controversial information ethics argues that informational objects can be moral agents and have at least minimal intrinsic value. Floridi wants us to take the information object idea literally. However, I dispute this claim, arguing in chapters 3 and 4, that while the concept has some utility its ontological value is difficult to defend beyond it being a useful metaphorical or linguistic term. A complete metaphysical theory needs to address the problem of causality and I do this in chapter 5 using the metaphysical problem of absences to show how information can be employed to address causal issues. The position I develop in these early chapters is brought to bear upon Floridi''s Epistemology (chapter 6), and his Ethics (chapter 7). Chapter 6 develops the argument that at least in some cases knowledge and information are coexstensive, that is, in some cases prior or descriminating knowledge is required in order to interpret information. Chapter 7 introduces what I consider to be a signficant issue related to the use of the term ''informational entropy'� within information ethics. After identifying the problem I go on to offer a possible solution.The ultimate aim of this thesis is to present a more coherent, more robust informational metaphysics and consequently this work contributes to and strengthens Floridi''s information ethics as well as any epistemic accounts that are informed by the philosophy of information.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • Charles Sturt University
Supervisors/Advisors
  • Weckert, John, Principal Supervisor
  • Luck, Morgan, Co-Supervisor
  • Clarke, Stephen, Co-Supervisor
Place of PublicationAustralia
Publisher
Publication statusPublished - 2014

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