The Society for the Philosophy of Information (SPI) and its members promote the philosophy of information and its community by organising research, teaching, editorial, and networking activities. At their website you can find everything you need to know about the SPI and the philosophy of information.
Special issue of TripleC on the nature of information: http://www.triple-c.at/index.php/tripleC
Towards a Framework for Semantic Information (my PhD thesis)
Abstract: This thesis addresses some important questions regarding an account of semantic information. Starting with the contention that semantic information is to be understood as truthful meaningful data, several key elements for an account of semantic information are developed. After an introductory overview of information, the thesis is developed over four chapters. ‘Quantifying Semantic Information’ looks at the quantification of semantic information as represented in terms of propositional logic. The main objective is to investigate how traditional inverse probabilistic approaches to quantifying semantic information can be replaced with approaches based on the notion of truthlikeness. In ‘Agent-Relative Informativeness’ the results of the previous chapter are combined with belief revision in order to construct a formal framework in which to, amongst other things, measure agent-relative informativeness; how informative some piece of information is relative to a given agent. ‘Environmental Information and Information Flow’ analyses several existing accounts of environmental information and information flow before using this investigation to develop a better account of and explicate these notions. Finally, ‘Information and Knowledge’ contributes towards the case for an informational epistemology, based on Fred Dretske’s information-theoretic account of knowledge.
The Difference That Makes a Difference series of workshops is a forum for interdisciplinary sharing of insights on the nature of information.
CFP 5th Workshop on Philosophy of Information
27th-28th March 2013
University of Hertfordshire, UK
Submissions are invited for the Fifth Workshop on the Philosophy of Information, which will take place at the University of Hertfordshire, 27th-28th March 2013
The topic this year will be the intersections between qualitative and quantitative views of information.
There is no registration fee, and no fee for the refreshments, lunches, and the workshop dinner.
Bursaries that will cover the participation expenses will be awarded on the basis of need and scientific merit.
Please send abstracts of approximately 1000 words to Mrs Penny Driscoll, <email@example.com>, no later than 1 February 2013.
A selection of the best papers will be submitted for publication in a peer-reviewed journal, tba. Papers from the 4th workshop are forthcoming in Minds and Machines.
The Workshop is organised by the UNESCO Chair in Information and Computer Ethics
http://www.philosophyofinformation.net, in collaboration with the AHRC project ‘Understanding Information Quality Standards and their Challenges’ (2011-2013)
For more information about format and previous participants, see previous workshops in the series:
The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy has just published an entry on information: http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/information/
Currently making my way through my copy of James Gleick’s “The Information: A History, a Theory, a Flood”. In chapter 9 (Entropy and its Demons) there is a brief explanatory discussion of a distinction between the use of ‘information’ in Claude Shannon’s sense and the use of ‘information’ in Norbert Wiener’s sense. This is a distinction that I had to ascertain myself when looking at Wiener’s cybernetics for a reading group I was participating in. As Gleick writes:
… a particular message reduces the entropy in the ensemble of possible message – in terms of dynamical systems, a phase space.
That was how Shannon saw it. Wiener’s version was slightly different. It was fitting – for a word that began by meaning the opposite of itself – that these colleagues and rivals placed opposite signs on their formulation of entropy. Where Shannon identified information with entropy, Wiener said it was negative entropy. Wiener was saying that information meant order, but an orderly thing does not necessarily embody much information. Shannon himself pointed out their difference and minimized it, calling it a sort of “mathematical pun.” They get the same numerical answers, he noted:
I consider how much information is produced when a choice is made from a set – the larger the set the more information. You consider the larger uncertainty in the case of a larger set to mean less knowledge of the situation and hence less information.
So there is ‘information’ as a measure of entropy and there is ‘information’ in the sense of order. Given the idea of entropy as the extent to which a system is disorganized, the former conception of information (entropy) is inversely related to the latter conception of information (negentropy).
Much to my contentment I have finished my thesis and submitted it for examination.
I have just revised my CV: view CV.