, Volume 23, Issue 1-2, pp 75-95
Date: 30 Jul 2010

Perceptual Evidence and Information

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Abstract

Quite recently, Luciano Floridi has put forward the fascinating suggestion that knowledge should be analyzed as special kind of information, in particular as accounted information. As I will try tentatively to show, one important consequence of Floridi’s proposal is that the notion of justification, and of evidence, should play no role in a philosophical understanding of knowledge. In this paper, I shall suggest one potential difficulty with which Floridi’s proposal might be consequently afflicted, yet accept the fundamental suggestion that traditional epistemology should be merrily wedded with the philosophy of information; in particular, I shall plead for the less drastic conclusion, according to which, although knowledge should be taken to entail justification, it is the very notion of evidence—in particular of perceptual evidence—that should be analyzed in information-theoretic terms. By so doing, my principal aim will be to explain away an apparent difficulty—which is preliminary to the preoccupations motivating Floridi’s more ambitious attempt—from which Conee and Feldman’s Evidentialism is apparently afflicted. So, the conclusion that I will try to establish is that the notion of perceptual evidence, once it is appropriately analyzed in information-theoretic terms, should play an important role in our understanding of knowledge.

Tommaso Piazza: Researcher C2007, co-financed by FSE and POPH