“A different kind of knowing”: speculations on understanding in light of the Philosophy of Information

This is a slightly updated and extended version of a paper by myself and Lyn Robinson, presented at the 9th Conceptions of Library and Information Science conference, Uppsala, 28 June 2016. It includes some additional points raised in discussion of the paper. Introduction This is a different kind of knowing… It’s like understanding, I suppose… Continue reading “A different kind of knowing”: speculations on understanding in light of the Philosophy of Information

Information, misinformation disinformation: Copenhagen interlude

A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of visiting the Danish Royal School of Library and Information Science, now part of the University of Copenhagen's Faculty of Humanities, to act as part of the committee for the defence of the doctoral thesis of Sille Obelitz Søe. The thesis, entitled "The urge to detect, the… Continue reading Information, misinformation disinformation: Copenhagen interlude

The new dualism of information and data science

A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to hear Luciano Floridi give a Turing Lecture at the British Library Conference Centre, on 'Ethics in the Age of Information'. The Alan Turing Institute is the UK's national institute for data science, and locates itself at the intersection of computer science, mathematics, statistics and systems engineering.… Continue reading The new dualism of information and data science

The noblest pleasure: theories of understanding in the information sciences

This is a modified and updated version of a chapter published in 'Theory development in the information sciences' (edited by Diane Sonnenwald, University of Texas Press, 2016, pages 281-299). Some newer references are included here, but for the full bibliography, see the original chapter. My aim in writing the chapter was to set out my… Continue reading The noblest pleasure: theories of understanding in the information sciences

Albert’s imagination and the significance of information

The true sign of intelligence is not knowledge but imagination (Albert Einstein) As you no doubt know, this year marks the hundredth anniversary of Einstein’s theory of general relativity, first presented by him in 1915 to the Prussian Academy of Sciences. Even among physics enthusiasts, general relativity has a daunting reputation, largely because of its… Continue reading Albert’s imagination and the significance of information

The Fermi paradox and the information society

The Fermi paradox has long troubled people who wonder if there is life elsewhere in the universe. The paradox relies on two evident facts, both of which have become very much more evident since Enrico Fermi first posed the question which took his name in 1950: “where is everybody?”. The first fact is that it… Continue reading The Fermi paradox and the information society

The Sampo: the constructor in the Kalevala

While on a recent visit to the Information Studies department at Oulu University, I happened to read an interesting article by Jorma Leppänen in the Finnish Airlines magazine. This dealt with the Kalevala, the Finnish epic poem, and my eye was caught by his mention of the Sampo, of which I have to admit I… Continue reading The Sampo: the constructor in the Kalevala

Information about information

One of my long-standing interests, as shown by its frequent appearance on this blog, is the idea of information as a constituent of the physical world. I am, of course, particularly interested in the relations which this may have with the concept of recorded and communicable human information. A valuable new resource for discussing these… Continue reading Information about information

As long as we don’t pretend that it is science?

This is an adaption of an editorial to appear in Journal of Documentation, jointly written by myself and Lyn Robinson Ever since Rolf Landauer famously announced that “information is physical”, there has been an increasing tendency by scientists including David Deutsch, Seth Lloyd and Anton Zellinger to claim a place for information as a fundamental… Continue reading As long as we don’t pretend that it is science?

Why Norbert Wiener was plaintive, and would have hated the REF exercise

I was recently re-reading parts of Norbert Wiener's autobiography, I am a mathematician, shortly after writing a brief account of theories of information for our upcoming book Introduction to Information Science. What caught my attention was how the lives and work of the proponents of what has been come to be known as information theory… Continue reading Why Norbert Wiener was plaintive, and would have hated the REF exercise