The Abstractions and Materiality of “In-Itself”

Looking forward to reading Luciano Floridi’s new book, The Logic of Information. I’ve been thinking about two of Floridi’s open problems for philosophy of information posed in his brilliant The Philosophy of Information: “P15 What is the Ontological Status of Information?” and “P5 The Problem of Alethization” (i.e., How can meaningful data acquire their truth values?). I’m addressing P5 in the context of digital publics at the conference linked below.

Additionally, briefly, I believe that there is a thing or “world in itself” at a particular level of abstraction (x-xi), where it makes sense, per Kant, to say that we’ve no direct access to it, the thing. But at another level there is no “itself.” Hence, one is tempted to argue, contra Norbert Wiener, that information is not information, i.e., not a thing in itself. I also believe that misinformation can be relevant in time, that is, in addition to “indirectly, inferentially or metatheoretically relevant” (260), and to suggest otherwise misses the most important lessons of 20th-century pragmatist philosophy of language, e.g., Wittgenstein’s.

Media in Transition 10 MIT 17-18 May 2019

Image result for floridi logic information
Fifteen Normal Modal Logics (Floridi, PoI)

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