Archive for January, 2010

Information and Truth

Thursday, January 28th, 2010

The alethic nature of semantic information has been, and continues to be a point of contention. At the very least semantic information is understood as semantic content; that is, meaningful, well-formed data. Defenders of the alethic neutrality of semantic information argue that semantic content already qualifies as information, regardless of whether it is true, false or has no alethic value at all. Opponents hold that not just any semantic content qualifies as information. For semantic content to qualify as information, it must also be true; false information or misinformation is not actually a kind of information.


Some Offhand Commentary on Fred Dretske’s Knowledge and the Flow of Information

Tuesday, January 26th, 2010

Fred Dretske’s Knowledge and the Flow of Information is ultimately an attempt to use the notion of information to explicate knowledge. As part of this enterprise, several philosophically interesting issues are tackled. The first of these is the development of a semantic theory of information. After establishing a connection between information and knowledge, Dretske goes on to apply his ideas to key philosophical areas such as perception and intentional content or meaning. Here I take a look at his account of information.


Another Requirement on Semantic Information?

Sunday, January 17th, 2010

According to the General Definition of Information (GDI), X is an instance of information, understood as semantic content, if and only if:

  1. X consists of one or more data
  2. the data in X are well-formed
  3. the well-formed data in X are meaningful.

A host of influential thinkers about information, most notably Luciano Floridi, add to this list the requirement of truth. For semantic content to count as information, it must be true. False semantic content (also known as false information, or misinformation), is not actually a type of information. For more on this, see the SEP entry on Semantic Conceptions of Information. I also endorse a truth requirement condition in defining semantic information, so that if something is semantic information, then it is well-formed, meaningful and truthful data.

I have recently been thinking about the prospect of adding another condition to the definition of semantic information. (more…)

Information and Misinformation. An Investigation of the Notions of Information, Misinformation, Informing, and Misinforming

Sunday, January 17th, 2010

Finally got my hands on a copy of the book Information and Misinformation. An Investigation of the Notions of Information, Misinformation, Informing, and Misinforming, by Christopher Fox. The book was published in 1983. I have come across references to it in some of the contemporary philosophy of information literature and this piqued my curiosity. My interest was largely due to the fact that it struck me as being a book that had faded into relative obscurity and was being somewhat rediscovered via contemporary references. Fox addresses the question of the nature of information by developing notions of information, misinformation, and misinforming to serve as a part of the foundation of an information science.