Lundgren, Björn | 2019
Synthese 196(7): 2885–2906. doi.org/10.1007/s11229-017-1587-5
The concept of information has well-known difficulties. Among the many issues that have been discussed is the alethic nature of a semantic conception of information. Floridi (Minds Mach 14(2):197–222, 2004; Philos Phenomenol Res 70:351–370, 2005; EUJAP 3(1):31–41, 2007; The philosophy of information, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2011) argued that semantic information must be truthful. In this article, arguments will be presented in favor of an alethically neutral conception of semantic information and it will be shown that such a conception can withstand Floridi’s criticism. In particular, it is argued that an alethically neutral conception of semantic information can manage the so-called Bar-Hillel Carnap paradox, according to which contradictions have maximum informational content. This issue, as well as some of Floridi’s other arguments, is resolved by disentangling the property of being information from the property of being informative. The essay’s final conclusion is that although semantic information is alethically neutral, a veridical conception of semantic information can, and should, be retained as a subconcept of semantic information (i.e., as veridical semantic information), as it is essential for the analysis of informativity, which, unlike the property of being information, depends on truth.
Read the article: Does semantic information need to be truthful?