Synopses & Reviews
We live an information-soaked existence - information pours into our lives through television, radio, books, and of course, the Internet. Some say we suffer from 'infoglut'. But what is information? The concept of 'information' is a profound one, rooted in mathematics, central to whole branches of science, yet with implications on every aspect of our everyday lives: DNA provides the information to create us; we learn through the information fed to us; we relate to each other through information transfer - gossip, lectures, reading. Information is not only a mathematically powerful concept, but its critical role in society raises wider ethical issues: who owns information? Who controls its dissemination? Who has access to information?
Luciano Floridi, a philosopher of information, cuts across many subjects in this essay, from a brief look at the mathematical roots of information - its definition and measurement in 'bits'- to its role in genetics (we are information), and its social meaning and value. He ends by considering the ethics of information, including issues of ownership, privacy, and accessibility; copyright and open source.
For those unfamiliar with its precise meaning and wide applicability as a philosophical concept, 'information' may seem a bland or mundane topic. Those who have studied some science or philosophy or sociology will already be aware of its centrality and richness. But for all readers, whether from the humanities or sciences, Floridi gives a fascinating and inspirational introduction to this most fundamental of ideas.
We live in a society that is awash with information, but few of us really understand what information is. In this Very Short Introduction
, one of the world's leading authorities on the philosophy of information and on information ethics, Luciano Floridi, offers an illuminating exploration of information as it relates to both philosophy and science. He discusses the roots of the concept of information in mathematics and science, and considers the role of information in several fields, including biology. Floridi also discusses concepts such as "Infoglut" (too much information to process) and the emergence of an information society, and he addresses the nature of information as a communication process and its place as a physical phenomenon. Perhaps more important, he explores information's meaning and value, and ends by considering the broader social and ethical issues relating to information, including problems surrounding accessibility, privacy, ownership, copyright, and open source. This book helps us understand the true meaning of the concept and how it can be used to understand our world.
About the Series: Combining authority with wit, accessibility, and style, Very Short Introductions offer an introduction to some of life's most interesting topics. Written by experts for the newcomer, they demonstrate the finest contemporary thinking about the central problems and issues in hundreds of key topics, from philosophy to Freud, quantum theory to Islam.
About the Author
is Professor of Philosophy and Ethics of Information at the University of Oxford, Senior Research Fellow at the Oxford Internet Institute, and Fellow of St Cross College, Oxford. Among his recognitions, he has been appointed the Gauss Professor by the Academy of Sciences in Göttingen, and is recipient of the APA's Barwise Prize, the IACAP's Covey Award, and the INSEIT's Weizenbaum Award. He is an AISB and BCS Fellow, Editor in Chief of Philosophy and Technology and of the Synthese Library, and was Chairman of EU Commission's 'Onlife' research group. His most recent books are: The Philosophy of Information
(OUP, 2011), Information: A Very Short Introduction
(OUP, 2010), and The Cambridge Handbook of Information and Computer Ethics