Document (#31953)

Author
Frohmann, B.
Title
Documentation redux : prolegomenon to (another) philosophy of information
Source
Library trends. 52(2004) no.3, S.387-407
Year
2004
Abstract
A philosophy of information is grounded in a philosophy of documentation. Nunberg's conception of the phenomenon of information heralds a shift of attention away from the question "What is information?" toward a critical investigation of the sources and legitimation of the question itself. Analogies between Wittgenstein's deconstruction of philosophical accounts of meaning and a corresponding deconstruction of philosophical accounts of information suggest that because the informativeness of a document depends on certain kinds of practices with it, and because information emerges as an effect of such practices, documentary practices are ontologically primary to information. The informativeness of documents therefore refers us to the properties of documentary practices. These fall into four broad categories: their materiality; their institutional sites; the ways in which they are socially disciplined; and their historical contingency. Two examples from early modern science, which contrast the scholastic documentary practices of continental natural philosophers to those of their peers in Restoration England, illustrate the richness of the factors that must be taken into account to understand how documents become informing.
Footnote
Artikel in einem Themenheft: The philosophy of information
Theme
Information

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