More recently this field has become known as the philosophy of information. The expression was coined in the 1990s by Luciano Floridi, who has published prolifically in this area with the intention of elaborating a unified and coherent, conceptual frame for the whole subject.
Definitions of "information"
The concept information has been defined by several theorists.
Claude E. Shannon, for his part, was very cautious: "The word 'information' has been given different meanings by various writers in the general field of information theory. It is likely that at least a number of these will prove sufficiently useful in certain applications to deserve further study and permanent recognition. It is hardly to be expected that a single concept of information would satisfactorily account for the numerous possible applications of this general field." (Shannon 1993, p. 180)[full citation needed]. Thus, following Shannon, Weaver supported a tripartite analysis of information in terms of (1) technical problems concerning the quantification of information and dealt with by Shannon's theory; (2) semantic problems relating to meaning and truth; and (3) what he called "influential" problems concerning the impact and effectiveness of information on human behaviour, which he thought had to play an equally important role. And these are only two early examples of the problems raised by any analysis of information.
According to Luciano Floridi, four kinds of mutually compatible phenomena are commonly referred to as "information":
Information about something (e.g. a train timetable)
Information as something (e.g. DNA, or fingerprints)
Information for something (e.g. algorithms or instructions)
Information in something (e.g. a pattern or a constraint).
The word "information" is commonly used so metaphorically or so abstractly that the meaning is unclear.
Computing and philosophy
Recent creative advances and efforts in computing, such as semantic web, ontology engineering, knowledge engineering, and modern artificial intelligence provide philosophy with fertile ideas, new and evolving subject matters, methodologies, and models for philosophical inquiry. While computer science brings new opportunities and challenges to traditional philosophical studies, and changes the ways philosophers understand foundational concepts in philosophy, further major progress in computer science would only be feasible when philosophy provides sound foundations for areas such as bioinformatics, software engineering, knowledge engineering, and ontologies.
Pancomputationalism: On this view, computational and informational concepts are considered to be so powerful that given the right level of abstraction, anything in the world could be modeled and represented as a computational system, and any process could be simulated computationally. Then, however, pancomputationalists have the hard task of providing credible answers to the following two questions:
how can one avoid blurring all differences among systems?
what would it mean for the system under investigation not to be an informational system (or a computational system, if computation is the same as information processing)?
Information and society
Numerous philosophers and other thinkers have carried out philosophical studies of the social and cultural aspects of electronically mediated information.
Albert Borgmann, Holding onto Reality: The Nature of Information at the Turn of the Millennium (Chicago University Press, 1999)
Mark Poster, The Mode of Information (Chicago Press, 1990)
Luciano Floridi, "The Informational Nature of Reality", Fourth International European Conference on Computing and Philosophy 2006 (Dragvoll Campus, NTNU Norwegian University for Science and Technology, Trondheim, Norway, 22–24 June 2006).
IEG site, the Oxford University research group on the philosophy of information.
It from bit and fit from bit. On the origin and impact of information in the average evolution - from bit to atom and ecosystem. Information philosophy which covers not only the physics of information, but also how life forms originate and from there evolve to become more and more complex, including evolution of genes and memes, into the complex memetics from organisations and multinational corporations and a "global brain", (Yves Decadt, 2000). Book published in Dutch with English paper summary in The Information Philosopher, [www.informationphilosopher.com]