Cover image for Philosophy and computing : an introduction
Philosophy and computing : an introduction
Floridi, Luciano, 1964-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
London ; New York: Routledge, 1999.
Physical Description:
xiv, 242 pages ; 24 cm

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
QA76.167 .F56 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



Philosophy and Computingexplores 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 Computingis 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.

Author Notes

Luciano Floridi is research fellow at Wolfson College and Lecturer in philosophy at Jesus College, Oxford University

Reviews 1

Choice Review

Floridi's philosophy textbook on computing attempts to introduce the basic elements of the field while providing an interesting perspective. The author begins with the digital revolution and the transformations it has brought in computation, automatic control, modeling, and information management; he then describes the computer from the fundamentals of the Turing machine and Boolean logic to the von Neumann machine and finally the commercial PC. Later chapters introduce the Internet, databases, and artificial intelligence (AI). Floridi (Oxford Univ.) does manage some interesting perspectives; e.g., in the artificial intelligence chapter he beautifully contrasts the early strong AI that models human performance with the more recent light AI, and provides an interesting treatment of IBM's Deep Blue defeat of chess expert Kasparov. Recommended for graduate students, researchers, and professionals. C. Tappert; United States Military Academy

Table of Contents

Prefacep. ix
1 Divide et computa: philosophy and the digital environmentp. 1
The digital revolutionp. 1
The four areas of the digital revolutionp. 4
From the analogue to the digital: the new physics of knowledgep. 9
The digitisation of the infosphere: three stepsp. 14
The relations between philosophy and computingp. 15
2 The digital workshopp. 20
From the laboratory to the housep. 20
What is a computer?p. 21
Programming languages and softwarep. 47
Types of commercial computersp. 50
The personal computerp. 51
3 A revolution called Internetp. 56
The Internet as a basic technological changep. 56
What is the Internet?p. 61
What can the Internet be used for?p. 67
The future of the human encyclopaedia in the third age of IT: Frankenstein or Pygmalion?p. 79
4 The digital domain: infosphere, databases and hypertextsp. 88
The Paradox of the growth of knowledge: from the chicken and the egg to the needle in a haystackp. 88
"Everything must be transformed into an Encyclopaedia" (Novalis)p. 97
What is a database system?p. 99
Types of database systemsp. 102
Data, information and knowledge: an erotetic approachp. 106
The hyperbolic space of the infosphere and the fifth elementp. 108
The aesthetic and the ontological interpretation of databasesp. 110
Ideometryp. 111
The commodification of information and the growth of the infospherep. 113
Rich and poor in the information economyp. 114
ICT practical problems and computer ethicsp. 116
Textual analysis: a constructionist approachp. 116
Hypertext as information retrieval systemp. 117
Conclusion: a Renaissance mind?p. 130
5 Artificial intelligence: a light approachp. 132
GOFAIp. 132
Turing's Testp. 134
Four limits of Turing's Testp. 136
The application-areas of AIp. 142
The conditions of possibility of AI and the paradox of GOFAIp. 146
From GOFAI to LAIp. 148
The Cartesian nature of LAIp. 150
Deep Blue: a Cartesian computerp. 151
The success of LAIp. 154
The limits of LAIp. 215
Conclusionp. 218
Notesp. 224
Bibliographyp. 227
Indexp. 238