Information: A Very Short Introduction

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OUP Oxford, Feb 25, 2010 - Computers - 152 pages
11 Reviews
We live an information-soaked existence - information pours into our lives through television, radio, books, and of course, the Internet. Some say we suffer from 'infoglut'. But what is information? The concept of 'information' is a profound one, rooted in mathematics, central to whole branches of science, yet with implications on every aspect of our everyday lives: DNA provides the information to create us; we learn through the information fed to us; we relate to each other through information transfer - gossip, lectures, reading. Information is not only a mathematically powerful concept, but its critical role in society raises wider ethical issues: who owns information? Who controls its dissemination? Who has access to information? Luciano Floridi, a philosopher of information, cuts across many subjects, from a brief look at the mathematical roots of information - its definition and measurement in 'bits'- to its role in genetics (we are information), and its social meaning and value. He ends by considering the ethics of information, including issues of ownership, privacy, and accessibility; copyright and open source. For those unfamiliar with its precise meaning and wide applicability as a philosophical concept, 'information' may seem a bland or mundane topic. Those who have studied some science or philosophy or sociology will already be aware of its centrality and richness. But for all readers, whether from the humanities or sciences, Floridi gives a fascinating and inspirational introduction to this most fundamental of ideas. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.

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Review: Information: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions #225)

User Review  - Joshua Jarrott - Goodreads

A very concise introduction to information theory and philosophy of information. Floridi does a wonderful job of picking apart the various ways the term "information" can be used. The last chapter is ... Read full review

Review: Information: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions #225)

User Review  - Napalmlolita - Goodreads

Presents the connections between information theory and entropy/thermodynamics in unclear way. I learned a lot but I still don't understand information in its most fundamental essence, that of physics and mathematics. Easily 4 stars if only that one thing was clarified. Read full review


1 The information revolution
2 The language of information
3 Mathematical information
4 Semantic information
5 Physical information
6 Biological information
7 Economic information
8 The ethics of information
the marriage of physis and techne

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About the author (2010)

Luciano Floridi is the Professor of Philosophy and Ethics of Information at the Oxford Internet Institute, and a fellow of St Cross College, Oxford University. He is the founder and director of the Oxford University Information Ethics Research Group. His research interests include the philosophy of information, information and computer ethics, epistemology and philosophy of logic, and the history and philosophy of scepticism. He is the author of Philosophy and Computing: An Introduction (Routledge, 1999) and editor of the Blackwell Guide to the Philosophy of Computing and Information (Blackwell, 2004).