Sunday, May 21, 2017

Teleology, metaphysics, and epistemology

From Why Information Matters by Luciano Floridi.
While information has been a concept in the background for so long in the history of philosophy, it now also fits neatly in its foreground. Seventeenth-century philosophers redirected their attention from the nature of the knowable object (metaphysics) to the relation between the object and the knowing subject (epistemology). Problems surrounding how we come to know the world then consumed much of modern philosophy. Then, in the twentieth century, philosophers came to reflect primarily on how knowledge is organized — how it is stored and linguistically structured — thus moving from epistemology to philosophy of language and logic. And with the growth of the information society in which billions of people now spend their lives, some philosophers have increasingly focused on the very fabric of knowledge — information and its dynamics, including communication, flows, and processing. As a result, information has arisen as a concept as fundamental and important as being, knowledge, life, intelligence, meaning, and good and evil — all concepts with which it is interdependent, and so equally worthy of autonomous investigation. It is also a more impoverished concept, in terms of which the others can be expressed and to which they can be related. This is why the philosophy of information may explain and guide the purposeful construction of our intellectual environment, and provide the systematic treatment of the conceptual foundations of contemporary society.
And don't forget Teleology - the explanation of phenomena by the purpose they serve rather than by postulated causes.

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