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What Is Information?

2018
Author:

Peter Janich
Translated by Eric Hayot and Lea Pao

What Is Information?

A novel way of looking at information challenges longstanding dogmas—from a preeminent German thinker

In this wholly original addition to the quest to understand information, German philosopher Peter Janich argues that our understanding of information is based in the much broader history of scientific naturalism. His novel critique of this widespread dogma grounds science in human life practices and wrestles with the very fundamentals of the scientific way of understanding reality.

It is widely agreed that we live in an “information age,” but what exactly is information? This small, seemingly facile question is in fact surprisingly difficult, and it has occupied many of the best philosophical minds of the modern age.

In this wholly original addition to the quest to understand information, German philosopher Peter Janich argues that our understanding of information is based in the much broader history of scientific naturalism—the belief that science is a fundamental aspect of the world and not a human contrivance. His novel critique of this widespread dogma grounds science in human life practices and wrestles with the very fundamentals of the scientific way of understanding reality.

Offering new perspectives on the major contemporary fields of communications technology, neurobiology, and artificial intelligence, What Is Information? provides a deep look into humanity in an information age. Its arguments show ways of reconciling the sciences and the humanities, shining new light on the relationship of science to the natural world.

What Is Information?

Peter Janich (1942–2016) was a German philosopher of science and the author of some thirty books and more than two hundred articles. His work has been translated into Italian, Chinese, Korean, Japanese, and English.

Eric Hayot is distinguished professor of comparative literature and Asian studies at Pennsylvania State University and the author of four books, most recently The Elements of Academic Style.

Lea Pao is assistant professor of German studies at Stanford University.

What Is Information?

Translators’ Introduction
Eric Hayot and Lea Pao
1. Information and Myth
2. Legacies
3. Articles of Faith
4. Information Concepts Today
5. Methodical Repair Work
6. Consequences
Translators’ Acknowledgments
Notes
Peter Janich: A Partial Bibliography
Index