Philosophy & Technology

, Volume 27, Issue 3, pp 327–343 | Cite as

The Minimal Levels of Abstraction in the History of Modern Computing

  • Federico GobboEmail author
  • Marco Benini
Special Issue


From the advent of general purpose, Turing-complete machines, the relation between operators, programmers and users with computers can be observed as interconnected informational organisms (inforgs), henceforth analysed with the method of levels of abstraction (LoAs), risen within the philosophy of information (PI). In this paper, the epistemological levellism proposed by L. Floridi in the PI to deal with LoAs will be formalised in constructive terms using category theory, so that information itself is treated as structure-preserving functions instead of Cartesian products. The milestones in the history of modern computing are then analysed through constructive levellism to show how the growth of system complexity lead to more and more information hiding.


Epistemological levellism Constructive levellism Philosophy of information Computational interconnected informational organisms 

CR Subject Classification

K.2: History of Computing 



Dr Benini was supported by a Marie Curie Intra European Fellowship, grant no. PIEF-GA-2010-271926, Predicative Theories and Grothendieck Toposes, within the 7th European Community Framework Programme.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.DISIM—Department of Engineering, Computer Science and MathematicsUniversity of L’AquilaL’Aquila (AQ)Italy
  2. 2.Department of Pure MathematicsUniversity of LeedsLeedsUK

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