Information, possible worlds and the cooptation of scepticism

L. Floridi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)
36 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

The article investigates the sceptical challenge from an information-theoretic perspective. Its main goal is to articulate and defend the view that either informational scepticism is radical, but then it is epistemologically innocuous because redundant; or it is moderate, but then epistemologically beneficial because useful. In order to pursue this cooptation strategy, the article is divided into seven sections. Section 1 sets up the problem. Section 2 introduces Borel numbers as a convenient way to refer uniformly to (the data that individuate) different possible worlds. Section 3 adopts the Hamming distance between Borel numbers as a metric to calculate the distance between possible worlds. In Sects. 4 and 5, radical and moderate informational scepticism are analysed using Borel numbers and Hamming distances, and shown to be either harmless (extreme form) or actually fruitful (moderate form). Section 6 further clarifies the approach by replying to some potential objections. In the conclusion, the Peircean nature of the overall approach is briefly discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)63-88
JournalSynthese
Volume175
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2010

Keywords

  • Borel numbers
  • Hamming distance
  • Informational scepticism
  • Levenshtein distance
  • Semantic information

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