Philosophy & Technology

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

The Minimal Levels of Abstraction in the History of Modern Computing

Special Issue

Abstract

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.

Keywords

Epistemological levellism Constructive levellism Philosophy of information Computational interconnected informational organisms 

CR Subject Classification

K.2: History of Computing 

References

  1. Allo, P. (ed.). (2011). Putting information first: Luciano Floridi and the philosophy of information. Oxford:Wiley.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Berners-Lee, T., & Fischietti,M. (2000). Weaving the Web. San Francisco: Harper Publishing.Google Scholar
  3. Bridges, D., & Richman, F. (1987). Varieties of constructive mathematics. London Mathematical Society, Lecture Notes Series (Vol. 97). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Ceruzzi, P. (2003). A history of modern computing. Cambridge: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  5. Conrad, M. (1995). The price of programmability. In R. Herken & R. Herken (Eds.), The universal Turing machine a half-century survey, Computerkultur (Vol. 2, pp. 261–281), Springer: Vienna.Google Scholar
  6. Demir, H. (Ed.). (2012). Luciano Floridi’s philosophy of technology: Critical reflections. In Philosophy of engineering and technology book series. Dordrecht: Springer.Google Scholar
  7. Donovan, J. J. (1974). Operating systems. New York: McGraw-Hill.Google Scholar
  8. Floridi, L. (2008). The method of levels of abstraction. Minds and Machines, 18, 303–329.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Floridi, L. (2010). Information: A very short introduction: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  10. Floridi, L. (2011a). A defence of constructionism: philosophy as conceptual engineering. Metaphilosophy, 42(3), 282–304.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Floridi, L. (2011b). The philosophy of information: Oxford: Oxford University Press. Google Scholar
  12. Floridi, L., & Sanders, J. (2004). Levellism and the method of abstraction. Tech. rep., Information Ethics Group.Google Scholar
  13. Goldblatt, R. (2006). Topoi: The categorial analysis of logic. In Dover books on mathematics. Mineola: Dover Publications.Google Scholar
  14. Mac Lane, S. (1998). Categories for the working mathematician. Berlin: Springer.Google Scholar
  15. Primiero, G. (2008). Information and knowledge: A constructive type-theoretical approach. In Logic, epistemology, and the unity of science. Berlin: Springer.Google Scholar
  16. Ryan, K. LK., Lee, S. SG., Lee, E. W. (2009). Business process management (bpm) standards: a survey. Business Process Management Journal, 15(5), 1463–7154.Google Scholar
  17. Sambin, G., & Valentini, S. (1995). Building up a toolbox for Martin-L¨of’s type theory: Subset theory. In G. Sambin & J. Smith (Eds.), 1998, Twenty-five years of constructive type theory. Proceedings of a congress held in Venice (pp. 221–244). Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  18. Sommaruga, G. (Ed.). (2009). Formal theories of information: From Shannon to semantic information theory and general concepts of information. Berlin: Springer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Turing, A. M. (1950). Computing machinery and intelligence. Mind, 59, 433–460.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Wolf, M. J., & Grodzinsky, F. S. (2012). Artificial agents, cloud computing, and quantum computing: Applying Floridi’s method of levels of abstraction. In H. Demir (Ed.), Luciano Floridi’s philosophy of technoloy: critical reflections. Dordrecht: Springer.Google Scholar

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

Personalised recommendations