Abstract: At the 4th International Conference on the Foundations of Information Science in Beijing, August, 2010, Professor Wu Kun of the Xi’an Jiaotong University presented, for the first time in English, the results of some thirty years of research on the theory and philosophy of information. In particular, Wu’s theory (Basic Theory of the Philosophy of Information; BTPI) focuses on the natural ontological properties of information, and their importance for a proper understanding of the function of information in society. When describing my recent extension of logic to real process systems (Logic in Reality; LIR), including information, at the same Conference, I noted that Wu’s approach embodied many critical aspects of this logic, to which its normative principles apply. In this paper, I provide a summary of the Wu Basic Theory that defines a Philosophy of Information as a Metaphilosophy. The latter is not directed toward the codification of such a metaphilosophy as yet another static discipline or body of knowledge. It is rather an attitude toward the positioning of information as encompassing a critical component of all disciplines, beyond the scientific content specific to them. The Metaphilosophy of Information, then, describes primarily an attitude or stance, which I have termed the Informational Stance, that requires attention to the informational aspects of complex processes as a methodological necessity, in a process that Wu calls Informational Thinking. The Informational Stance, in my view, is thus a philosophical stance that is most appropriate for, and above all not separated nor isolated from, the emerging science and philosophy of information itself, for which I show that Logic in Reality is the appropriate logic. My major conclusion is that the BTPI of Wu, his new informational view of the need for unification of critical disciplines and their formulation as a metaphilosophy constitute a major contribution, as yet unrecognized outside China, to the General Theory of Information that is the subject of this Conference. The theories described in this paper may constitute part of a new transdisciplinary paradigm, in which information has a central role. Application of my interpretation of logic together with Wu’s metaphilosophy of information could contribute to resolving critical outstanding issues in the field of information and provide further support for an ethical development of the emerging Information Society.
Keywords: ethics; information; logic; metaphilosophy; process
WU KUN AND THE METAPHILOSOPHY OF INFORMATION
Joseph E. Brenner