The philosophy of information in Lyotard and Gadamer: postmodernism and hermeneutics

Lyotard‘s famed antipathy towards meta-narratives might well be framed as the problem of the growing chasm between knowledge on the one hand (the abode of philosophy, sociology, political theory, anthropology, history) and the sources of such knowledge, namely information and data -once we accept the “knowledge pyramid”, or the ascending steps of data, information, knowledge, and that other one. What I wish to illustrate is that the invocation of computer and machine analogies for human thought are precipitous. The philosophy of information is not just that which is practiced by Luciano Floridi. By invoking the philosophy of information, however, we are simultaneously given a route away from the impasse diagnosed by Lyotard, and a means of better appreciating and understanding Gadamer’s philosophical hermeneutics.

I have noted previously (“Defending Modernism and visions of the future”) that there is nothing necessarily wrong with ideals or narratives in and of themselves. The problem comes with the struggle to define coherent ideals and narratives, and accordingly just ceasing to make any effort at when the going gets intellectually tough. How much, then, was the vulgar notion of Lyotard’s thesis an excuse for laziness? Continue reading

Technology and ethics: a moralist proposal

One of the problems with thinking about technology is that because we are born into a world of technology, this clouds our ability to see how it restricts our ability to think beyond what is right in front of us. We have difficulty thinking clearly about it in and of itself, and so all our difficulties with it are effectively distributed. Accordingly we have an ethics of technology, latched on to the side of the big machine. We think of specific problems with technology, we even expand this into the biggest of spheres, and discuss the existential risks attached to technology, or the risks which are integral to certain types of technology.

This is not the fault of philosophers of technology. It is simply another symptom of how our thought about the implications of all our actions are farmed out to different areas. Continue reading