Philosophical Studies

, Volume 164, Issue 2, pp 371-392

First online:

Offline and online data: on upgrading functional information to knowledge

  • Giuseppe PrimieroAffiliated withFWO - Research Foundation Flanders, Centre for Logic and Philosophy of Science, Ghent UniversityIEG, Oxford University Email author 

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This paper addresses the problem of upgrading functional information to knowledge. Functional information is defined as syntactically well-formed, meaningful and collectively opaque data. Its use in the formal epistemology of information theories is crucial to solve the debate on the veridical nature of information, and it represents the companion notion to standard strongly semantic information, defined as well-formed, meaningful and true data. The formal framework, on which the definitions are based, uses a contextual version of the verificationist principle of truth in order to connect functional to semantic information, avoiding Gettierization and decoupling from true informational contents. The upgrade operation from functional information uses the machinery of epistemic modalities in order to add data localization and accessibility as its main properties. We show in this way the conceptual worthiness of this notion for issues in contemporary epistemology debates, such as the explanation of knowledge process acquisition from information retrieval systems, and open data repositories.


Epistemic modalities Functional information Upgrade