Synthese

, Volume 184, Issue 3, pp 431–454

Semantic information and the network theory of account

Article

Abstract

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.

Keywords

Account Epistemic logic Explanation Gettier problem Information theory Network theory Network theory of account Philosophy of information Semantic information 

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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

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