Notes de laboNotesNotes de lecture

Quelques notes tirées du livre de Luciano Floridi, The philosophy of information

Tiré de : Floridi, Luciano. The philosophy of information (Oxford [England]; New York: Oxford University Press, 2011).

Ces Notes de lectures citent et commentent le texte dans sa langue originelle, ici l’anglais.

 

Good problem / Open problem / Reseach Method

« Good problems are the driving force of any intellectual pursuit. Being able to do valuable research hugely depends on having good taste in choosing them. Now, for Hilbert, a good problem is a problem rich in consequences, clearly defined, easy to understand and difficult to solve, but still accessible. Again, it is worth learning the lesson, with a further qualification. We saw in chapter one that genuine philosophical problems should also be intrinsically open, that is, they should allow for genuine, reasonable, informed differences of opinion. Open problems call for explicit solutions, (p. 29 ) which facilitate a critical approach and hence empower the interlocutor. »

Floridi (2011) p. 28-29

 

Good problem / Reseach Method

« Hilbert thought that mathematical research has a historical nature and that mathematical problems often have their initial roots in historical circumstances, in the ‘ever-recurring interplay between thought and experience’. Philosophical problems are no exception. Like mathematical problems, they are not contingent but timely. »

Floridi (2011) p. 28

 

Solution / Explicitness / Rigor / Research Method

The more explicit and rigorous a solution is, the more easily it is criticizable. Logic is only apparently brusque. Its advice is as blunt as that of a good friend. The real trap is the false friendliness of sloppy thinking and obscure oracles. Their alluring rhetoric undermines the very possibility of disagreement, lulling the readers’ reason to sleep.

Floridi (2011) p. 28

 

Information / Epistemology

« The informational circle: How can information be assessed? If information cannot be transcended but can only be checked against further information—if it is information all the way up and all the way down—what does this tell us about our knowledge of the world?

The informational circle is reminiscent of the hermeneutical circle. It underpins the modern debate on the foundation of epistemology and the acceptability of some form of realism in the philosophy of science, according to which our information about the world captures something of the way the world is (Floridi (1996)). »

Floridi (2011) p. 40

 

Information / Epistemology / Model / Information Modelling / Reseach Method

« The semantic view of science: Is science reducible to information modelling?

The semantic approach to scientific theories (…), argues that

scientific reasoning is to a large extent model-based reasoning. It is models almost all the way up and models almost all the way down. (Giere (1999), p. 56).

Theories do not make contact with phenomena directly, but rather higher models are brought into contact with other, lower models (see chapter nine). These are themselves theoretical conceptualizations of empirical systems, which constitute an object being modelled as an object of scientific research. Giere (1988) takes most scientific models of interest to be non-linguistic abstract objects. Models, however, are the medium, not the message. Is information the (possibly non-linguistic) content of these models? How are informational models (semantically, cognitively, and instrumentally) related to the conceptualizations that constitute their empirical references? »

Floridi (2011) p. 41

 

Data / Information / Materialism

« Wiener’s problem: What is the ontological status of information?

Most people agree that there is no information without (data) representation. This principle is often interpreted materialistically, as advocating the impossibility of physically disembodied information, through the equation ‘representation = physical implementation’. (…) Here, let me stress that the problem is whether the informational might be an independent ontological category, different from the physical/material and the mental, assuming one could draw this Cartesian distinction. Wiener, for example, thought that

Information is information, not matter or energy. No materialism which does not admit this can survive at the present day. (Wiener (1948), p. 132)

If the informational is not an independent ontological category, to which category is it reducible? If it is an independent ontological category, how is it related to the physical/material and to the mental? »

Floridi (2011) p. 42

 

Notes de laboVivre entre les lignesNotesObservationsRéflexions

La vérité des informations personnelles comme indice de moralité sociale?

ObservationsLe niveau d’exactitude des informations personnelles peut-il être un indice de la justesse morale du système social dans lequel ces informations sont utilisées?

Cette question m’est venue alors que j’effectuais de travaux de rénovation à la maison en écoutant l’émission Tapestry (CBC One). Cette semaine, Mary Hynes recevait Sam Harris en marge de la publication de son livre The Moral Landscape: How Science Can Determine Human Values (l’horizon moral : comment la science peut déterminer les valeurs humaines). Une entrevue étonnamment courte compte tenu de la prédilection de l’émission à consacrer toute l’heure à un seul personnage ou sujet. En écoutant Harris, on comprend. Il propose certes une thèse convaincante à propos de la capacité de la science à éclairer une question morale, voire même à trancher entre ce qui est bien et mal. Cependant, la hargne de ses attaques contre les religions agace vite, affaiblissant d’autant sa démonstration.

Reste que, par exemple, la neuroscience peut constater objectivement grâce au scanneur et à analyse hormonale que, règle générale, une action altruiste fait du bien aux êtres humains qui la posent comme à ceux qui la reçoivent. Elle constate tout aussi exactement l’effet inverse d’une action égoïste, et que c’est encore pire pour une action malfaisante. Beaucoup de développements en biologie, en éthologie et ethnologie ainsi qu’en psychologie et sociologie offrent effectivement un éclairage de plus en plus révélateur sur diverses questions morales. Comme le souligne Harris, la science offre ici l’avantage de transcender les cultures, les religions et les systèmes moraux particuliers du fait du caractère démontrable et universel de ses conclusions.

Quel rapport avec la qualité des informations personnelles? La réponse courte est que, d’une part, la science est dépendante de la qualité de ses données et que cette qualité dépend souvent de la volonté ou capacité des humains à dire la vérité. Or d’autre part, le niveau de véracité des informations fournies est mesurable… scientifiquement.

La réponse anecdotique tient à deux observations récentes sur la nécessité de… mentir. (suite…)

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