, Volume 184, Issue 3, pp 431–454

Semantic information and the network theory of account


DOI: 10.1007/s11229-010-9821-4

Cite this article as:
Floridi, L. Synthese (2012) 184: 431. doi:10.1007/s11229-010-9821-4


The article addresses the problem of how semantic information can be upgraded to knowledge. The introductory section explains the technical terminology and the relevant background. Section 2 argues that, for semantic information to be upgraded to knowledge, it is necessary and sufficient to be embedded in a network of questions and answers that correctly accounts for it. Section 3 shows that an information flow network of type A fulfils such a requirement, by warranting that the erotetic deficit, characterising the target semantic information t by default, is correctly satisfied by the information flow of correct answers provided by an informational source s. Section 4 illustrates some of the major advantages of such a Network Theory of Account (NTA) and clears the ground of a few potential difficulties. Section 5 clarifies why NTA and an informational analysis of knowledge, according to which knowledge is accounted semantic information, is not subject to Gettier-type counterexamples. A concluding section briefly summarises the results obtained.


AccountEpistemic logicExplanationGettier problemInformation theoryNetwork theoryNetwork theory of accountPhilosophy of informationSemantic information

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Research Chair in Philosophy of Information and GPI, Department of PhilosophyUniversity of HertfordshireHatfieldUK
  2. 2.Faculty of Philosophy and IEGUniversity of OxfordOxfordUK