Philosophy and Computing: An Introduction / Edition 1

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Philosophy and Computing explores each of the following areas of technology: the digital revolution; the computer; the Internet and the Web; CD-ROMs and Mulitmedia; databases, textbases, and hypertexts; Artificial Intelligence; the future of computing.
Luciano Floridi shows us how the relationship between philosophy and computing provokes a wide range of philosophical questions: is there a philosophy of information? What can be achieved by a classic computer? How can we define complexity? What are the limits of quantam computers? Is the Internet an intellectual space or a polluted environment? What is the paradox in the Strong Artificial Intlligence program?
Philosophy and Computing is essential reading for anyone wishing to fully understand both the development and history of information and communication technology as well as the philosophical issues it ultimately raises.

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Editorial Reviews

Hoping that what he calls the philosophy of information will someday be a recognized branch of the profession, Floridi (philosophy, Oxford U.) introduces two kinds of philosophy students to information and communications technology: those who need to acquire some literacy in order to use computers efficiently; and those who may be interested in developing a critical understanding of the digital age. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (
Thomas Manfred Forster
Flioridi casts his net widely and his breadth of knowledge makes this book exhilarating to read...excellent.
The Times Literary Supplement
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780415180252
  • Publisher: Taylor & Francis
  • Publication date: 9/28/1999
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 256
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Table of Contents

Preface ix
1 Divide et computa: philosophy and the digital environment 1
The digital revolution 1
The four areas of the digital revolution 4
From the analogue to the digital: the new physics of knowledge 9
The digitisation of the infosphere: three steps 14
The relations between philosophy and computing 15
2 The digital workshop 20
From the laboratory to the house 20
What is a computer? 21
Programming languages and software 47
Types of commercial computers 50
The personal computer 51
3 A revolution called Internet 56
The Internet as a basic technological change 56
What is the Internet? 61
What can the Internet be used for? 67
The future of the human encyclopaedia in the third age of IT: Frankenstein or Pygmalion? 79
4 The digital domain: infosphere, databases and hypertexts 88
The Paradox of the growth of knowledge: from the chicken and the egg to the needle in a haystack 88
"Everything must be transformed into an Encyclopaedia" (Novalis) 97
What is a database system? 99
Types of database systems 102
Data, information and knowledge: an erotetic approach 106
The hyperbolic space of the infosphere and the fifth element 108
The aesthetic and the ontological interpretation of databases 110
Ideometry 111
The commodification of information and the growth of the infosphere 113
Rich and poor in the information economy 114
ICT practical problems and computer ethics 116
Textual analysis: a constructionist approach 116
Hypertext as information retrieval system 117
Conclusion: a Renaissance mind? 130
5 Artificial intelligence: a light approach 132
Turing's Test 134
Four limits of Turing's Test 136
The application-areas of AI 142
The conditions of possibility of AI and the paradox of GOFAI 146
From GOFAI to LAI 148
The Cartesian nature of LAI 150
Deep Blue: a Cartesian computer 151
The success of LAI 154
The limits of LAI 215
Conclusion 218
Notes 224
Bibliography 227
Index 238
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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 27, 2002

    Philosophy and Computing: An Introduction

    From The Philosophers' Magazine (9), January 18, 2000 Floridi's book is a technical tour de force that seeks to explore some of the philosophical implications of ICT (Information and Communication Technology) in the context of a rigorous and detailed examination of areas of technology such as the digital revolution, databases and hypertext, the internet and artificial intelligence. The strength of the book is his grasp of the technology. Over and over again he demonstrates a remarkable technical proficiency as he discusses areas as diverse as computer architecture, database design, network protocols and many others.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 27, 2002

    Philosophy and Computing: An Introduction

    From 'Ends and Means', The Journal of the University of Aberdeen Centre for Philosophy Technology and Society. Philosophy and Computing: An Introduction is Luciano Floridi's wide-ranging account of the philosophical aspects of computers, the Internet, and digitisation in general. It is philosophy in quite a broad sense of the term, including both some relatively technical (for an introduction) sections on elementary computation theory, and many observations of a more sociological nature, examining how computer use is changing our ways of thinking and working.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 27, 2002

    Philosophy and Computing: An Introduction

    New Scientist, 9 October 1999, p. 59 'Must read... An impressive introductory text. Floridi bravely categorises artificial intelligence, and deals with cyborgs and robots'. Kevin Warwick, Professor of Cybernetics, University of Reading, UK

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