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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences : Philosophy

Undergraduate Course: Philosophy of Information (PHIL10186)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 10 (Year 4 Undergraduate) AvailabilityNot available to visiting students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThis course examines different conceptual analyses of information and their implications for issues in cognitive science, epistemology, and internet ethics. The material divides roughly into two units. In the first unit, we cover the use of information as a foundational concept for grounding theories of knowledge and mental representation. In the second unit, we examine the way ethical considerations are transformed by informational interactions, addressing questions such as: Do interactions in virtual realms (chatrooms, MMORPGs, Second Life) carry the same ethical obligations as physical interactions? How does the algorithmic structure of social media accelerate the spread of fake news? and How does generative AI change our perspective on human creativity?
Course description This course addresses philosophical questions around information of two different kinds. The first half of the course considers information as a passive resource flowing through nature, and thereby potentially grounding theories of knowledge, inference, and mental representation. Topics covered in this unit of the course typically include Shannon information, semantic information, the distinction between natural and non-natural meaning, and the factivity (or not) of information.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Students MUST have passed: Mind, Matter and Language (PHIL08014) AND Knowledge and Reality (PHIL08017)
It is RECOMMENDED that students have passed Logic 2: Modal Logics (PHIL10162)
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements Students studying on MA Cognitive Science (Humanities) and students who have studied 1 course in probability and 1 course are permitted to take this course without having met the pre-requisites of: Knowledge and Reality (PHIL08017) AND Mind, Matter and Language (PHIL08014). However, it is advisable that students discuss the suitability of the course with their PT and the course organizer before enrolling.
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2024/25, Not available to visiting students (SS1) Quota:  0
Course Start Semester 2
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Seminar/Tutorial Hours 22, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 174 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) Take-Home Test: 35%
Weekly Worksheets: 5%
Final Paper: 60%
Feedback Not entered
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Articulate and defend a philosophical analysis of information.
  2. Define and critically contrast Shannon information and semantic information.
  3. Critically discuss whether information is factive.
  4. Explain and evaluate relevant notions of information for ethical questions arising on the internet.
  5. Articulate and critically assess the relationship between physical and informational aspects of the world.
Reading List
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Not entered
KeywordsNot entered
Course organiserDr Alistair Isaac
Tel: (0131 6)51 5174
Course secretary
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