December 8, 2020
1:00 - 4:00 PM (Pacific Standard Time)
Location: Google Meets
(Click on the underlined links below to read the paper or comments)
"Complex Information Ethics Theory"
AbstractComplex-information (C-I) ethics is an information-centric theory of which several variants have already been proposed. Importantly, syntactical information is fundamentally a synonym for the ordered relationships that are necessary for anything to be extant or communicated. Conversely, the thermodynamics property called “entropy” is the antithesis of information and order. Relationships are the central basis of the “feminist ethics of care,” and on a much broader scale for “information ethics” as proposed by philosopher Luciano Floridi. Traditional feminist ethics primarily weighs the value of relationships between humans and its communities. However, Floridi’s information ethics is concerned about syntactical information beginning at the physical level so that even artifacts resulting from atomic relationships have value. Negative values such as suffering and destruction are consistent with increases in entropy and its typical increase in disorder.
C-I theory strikes a middle ground between anthropocentric traditional feminist ethics and all-inclusive “ontocentric” information ethics by arguing for the intrinsic value of “complexities.” “The good is that which preserves, augments, or recursively promotes organized complexities” was proposed by the Belgian philosopher Clement Vidal, and physicist Jean-Paul Delahaye in 2018, and termed “universal ethics.” Admittedly, they preceded me in publication and possibly in actual formulation. Complexities like life, ecosystems, and societies in turn depend on a deep and dynamic level of syntactical information content and processing to become manifest. Where we importantly diverge, however, is in their sole use of a metric called “logical depth” to determine what qualifies as a complexity. The theory’s dependence on what is widely acknowledged as an imperfect metric in turn led them to include things that are non-complex by the standard of more widely accepted qualifying criteria for complexity. Nevertheless, many of the miscategorized items such as works of art and new scientific theories still have sufficient value to humans to ethically warrant their preservation and promotion. The basis for this value, however, is not due to their syntactical informational “logical depth,”, but due to their semantic (meaning to an agent) or novel informational attributes. The semantics of works of art, for example, are primarily derived from the emotions that they represent, invoke, or express for the artist, their audience, or both. The novelty of works of art like the Mona Lisa also significantly adds to their value – its singular loss or damage would prompt large collective angst. Relevantly, even abstract symbols of institutions and ideals, like the Japanese flag or Christian cross that are simple syntactically, can provoke strong emotional responses amongst their devotees. Hence, syntactically “deep” complexity is not a prerequisite for artifacts or processes to have anthropocentric value. Deriving an ethical theory that more formally incorporates the insights and tools of thermodynamics’ second law and entropy, information and its associated theory, as well as the interdisciplinary science of complexity (it is a complex world!) will provide us with a new array of perspectives on the varied nature of ethics and its associated issues.
"Complex Information Ethics Theory," Ken Solis (Independent Scholar)
"Comments for Ken Solis" David LePoire
"Comments for Ken Solis"Kevin Gibson
PAPER SYMPOSIUM SCHEDULE
Chair: Cecilea Mun (Independent Scholar)
1:00 – 1:45: "Complex Information Ethics Theory," Ken Solis (Independent Scholar)
1:45 – 2:05: First Commentary, Cecilea Mun (Independent Scholar)
2:05 – 2:25: Second Commentary, David J. LePoire (Argonne National Laboratory)
2:25 - 2:30: Short Break
2:30 – 2:50: Third Commentary, Kevin Gibson (Marquette University, WI)
2:50 – 3:30: Author's Replies, Ken Solis (Independent Scholar)
3:30 – 4:00: Audience Questions for Author and Panel of Commentator