Philosophy Of The Information Age

Information, misinformation and fake news in the information age - the 21st century threatens to wreak havoc on the social organisation of information and knowledge. 

We are awash in a glut of information coming at us from all sources, some reliable, some unreliable. But the old top-down authorities that once functioned to certify some information as true and other information as false, are quickly being dismantled. 

How can we distinguish the good from the bad, the wheat from the chaff? We all face epistemological problems hardly imagined by our predecessors.

Finding a new basis for social identification. Distant and powerful forces, not answerable to local communities, shape so much of our lives. How can we sustain local communities, communities with which we can identify? 

Or in the new cyber age is the very idea of a local community an outmoded parochial idea suited only to centuries gone by?
The Mind-Body problem. Neuroscience is revealing so much about the brain. Does this new knowledge solve age-old mysteries of the mind? Or does it reduce the mind to mere dumb matter and rob us of what we once thought was so special about us?

Can freedom survive the onslaught of science? Science, especially neuro-science, is revealing more and more about the true workings of the mind, threatening to explode our ancient beliefs about things like the freedom of the will. 

Can traditional practices that, presuppose human freedom, survive this scientific onslaught? If we are not really free is it really permissible to punish people, and even put them to death, for their wrongful acts?

Intellectual property, in the age of re-mix culture. Ideas now spread like wildfire, mixing and re-mixing in the blink of an eye. Can the very idea of intellectual property survive in the age of re-mix? Are outmoded ideas of property stifling the growth of a new culture?

We need new models of collective decision making and collective rationality. Solving the problems of the 21st Century will require coordinated rational action on a massive scale. 

But we really have no models of collective rationality, no idea of the institutional, social, political and economic structures that will allow us to meet these challenges. 

Neouto

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