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Is Information Meaningful Data?

Floridi, Luciano (2005) Is Information Meaningful Data? [Preprint]


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There is no consensus yet on the definition of semantic information. This paper contributes to the current debate by criticising and revising the Standard Definition of semantic Information (SDI) as meaningful data, in favour of the Dretske-Grice approach: meaningful and well-formed data constitute semantic information only if they also qualify as contingently truthful. After a brief introduction, SDI is criticised for providing necessary but insufficient conditions for the definition of semantic information. SDI is incorrect because truth-values do not supervene on semantic information, and misinformation (that is, false semantic information) is not a type of semantic information, but pseudo-information, that is not semantic information at all. This is shown by arguing that none of the reasons for interpreting misinformation as a type of semantic information is convincing, whilst there are compelling reasons to treat it as pseudo-information. As a consequence, SDI is revised to include a necessary truth-condition. The last section summarises the main results of the paper and indicates some interesting areas of application of the revised definition.

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Item Type: Preprint
Floridi, Luciano
Additional Information: published in Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, 2005, 70.2, 351-370
Keywords: Barwise, Dretske, Geach, Grice, information theory, semantic information, standard definition of semantic information, philosophy of information.
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Computation/Information > Classical
Depositing User: Luciano Floridi
Date Deposited: 25 Nov 2005
Last Modified: 07 Oct 2010 15:13
Item ID: 2536
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Computation/Information > Classical
Date: November 2005

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