Feeling my way forward
I was slightly shocked to realise that it’s been nearly ten months since my last post. I suppose I got out of the habit while working on my MSc dissertation. The eventual submission date was 22nd December, and since then I’ve been trying to decide what to do next. For a number of reasons—mainly the same ones that got me a four month extension—I don’t expect the result to be good enough to let me do a PhD, but I’m far too keen on the information-related philosophy just to let it drop, so I’ve been looking at doing another MSc, this time part-time from the start, so I can keep on earning.
However, another possibility is to return to my previous plan of trying to write for a non-specialist readership. Ideally, I’d do both, but I feel quite dubious about the prospect of two years of trying to fit in both MSc work and non-academic writing around computer repair jobs. Nor do I want to postpone the non-academic work for two years.
If I tried to put down all my thinking on this here, it would probably be unreadable. Suffice it to say that, compared to embarking on another degree course, writing for a general readership feels like “the path with heart.” I have not decided definitely to ditch the MSc—I don’t actually have to make that decision for several months yet—but that’s now looking quite likely.
So what about the non-academic writing? It will mainly be about information as the bridge between mind and matter, so thoroughly philosophical, but explaining everything from scratch in my own words, and ranging well beyond what I’d be able to cover in any academic writing short of a PhD thesis. And of course I’ll be much, much freer style-wise than I would in that.
What I have in mind tends to take the form of a book, but for various reasons, not least being the possibility of useful feedback, I might well publish chunks here as and when they seem suitable. So be warned!
Just as a taster, here’s a quote from Valentino Braitenberg
The concept of information, properly understood, is fully sufficient to do away with popular dualistic schemes invoking spiritual substances distinct from anything in physics. This is Aristotle redivivus, the concept of matter and form united in every object of this world, body and soul, where the latter is nothing but the formal aspect of the former. The very term “information” clearly demonstrates its Aristotelian origin in its linguistic root. (In Luciano Floridi, ed, Philosophy of Computing and Information: Five Questions, 2008, p16)