Prefiguring Floridi’s Theory of Semantic Information

  • John Mingers Kent Business School University of Kent Canterbury CT7 2PE UK
Keywords: Autopoiesis, Embodied cognition, Information theory, Knowledge, Pragmatics, Semantic information, Theory of communicative action


Abstract: Luciano Floridi has been very active in helping to develop both the philosophy of information as a discipline and an actual theory of the nature of semantic information. This paper has three purposes. First, to demonstrate that Floridi’s information theory was largely prefigured by work carried out by Mingers and published some ten years earlier. This is simply a matter of setting the record straight, although the degree of commonality may provide some support for the theory. Second, to point out that there appears to be a degree of equivocation, or even contradiction, within Floridi’s theory concerning the ontological status of information – is it objective, independent of the receiver, or is it subjective, constructed by the receiver from the data they access? The paper argues strongly for an objective interpretation. Third, to point out extensions to Mingers’ theory in terms of the social and pragmatic aspects of language, the processing of information into meaning through embodied cognition, and the relation between information and different forms of knowledge  

Author Biography

John Mingers, Kent Business School University of Kent Canterbury CT7 2PE UK

Professor of Operational Research and Systems

Kent Business School

University of Kent