PhD project

Topics in the Philosophy of Information: Investigating the Philosophical Bases and Implications of Information Technologies

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Application deadline

28 February 2023

Philosophy of information is one of the most exciting and innovative developments in contemporary thought. It is at once highly topical, drawing on and dealing with the information technologies in which our lives are increasingly immersed, and expansive in its ability to treat practically any problem in the history of philosophy from the perspective of an informational paradigm. Luciano Floridi, the foremost philosopher of information, defines it as ‘the philosophical field concerned with (a) the critical investigation of the conceptual nature and basic principles of information, including its dynamics, utilisation, and sciences; and (b) the elaboration and application of information- theoretic and computational methodologies to philosophical problems.’

Philosophy of information crosses traditional divides both within philosophy itself, and between philosophy and computer science. While Floridi’s work is grounded in the analytic tradition, he positions it beyond the analytic-continental divide. French philosophers such as Raymond Ruyer and Gilbert Simondon made important developments in the area in the 1950s, and Wu Kun has pioneered a philosophy of information in China since the early 1980s. The candidate could tackle any of many possible topics and problems in the philosophy of information, including (but not limited to): the central problem, what is information?; the relationship between information and semantic meaning; the ethics of information; the contributions of information-theoretic and computational models to epistemology; the existential impact of information technologies on human life; the changing image of the human brought about by information technologies; the politics of information society; digital ontologies; the metaphysics of virtual realities; the philosophy of artificial intelligence; the concept of information in the history of philosophy; the nature of artificial agents and artificial companions.

This PhD project offers expert supervision from both Philosophy and Computing. Dr Ashley Woodward (philosophy) is an established researcher who has published on the concept of information in a number of continental philosophers (Heidegger, Lyotard, Vattimo, Ruyer, Simondon), and who is currently working on a major project titled ‘Transforming Information.’ Dr Brian Pluss (computing) is a researcher in computational argumentation, with application to social and political domains.

References

Luciano Floridi, The Philosophy of Information, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011.
Raymond Ruyer, La Cybernetique et l'origine de l'information, Paris: Flammarion, 1954.
Gilbert Simondon, Individuation in Light of Notions of Form and Information, trans. T. Adkins., Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2020 [1958].

How to apply

  1. Email Dr Ashley Woodward (a.z.woodward@dundee.ac.uk) to:
    • send a copy of your CV
    • discuss your potential application and any practicalities (e.g. suitable start date).
  2. After discussion with Dr Woodward, you can apply via our direct application system. Apply for the Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) degree in Philosophy
Learn about applying for a research degree

Supervisors

Principal supervisor

Person

Senior Lecturer in Philosophy

a.z.woodward@dundee.ac.uk +44 (0)1382 384439

Second supervisor

Person

Lecturer

b.pluss@dundee.ac.uk +44 (0)1382 385196