In 2008, when acting as Professor for Internet and Society at the University of Salzburg, Austria, Wolfgang Hofkirchner – together with his then Assistant Professor Christian Fuchs who had successfully finalised his next step of academic career (habilitation for the venia docendi in Information and Communication Technologies & Society) – organised the kickoff meeting of an ICTs-and-Society Network. Manuel Castells sent Eduard Aibar Puentes as representative of the IN3 (Internet Interdisciplinary Institute of the Universitat Oberta de Catalunya in Barcelona). Among others, Gustavo Cardoso, Alice Robbin, Karine Barzilai-Nahon, Leah Lievrouw, Niels Ole Finnemann, Brian D. Loader, Ben Anderson, Michel Menou, Peng Hwa Ang, Chengyu Xiong were invited. The idea was and has been since to install a platform for interdisciplinary discourse and self-reflection of an emerging discipline.
Several meetings followed, one at the IN3, Spain, in 2010, another at Uppsala University, Sweden, in 2012. Christian Fuchs co-ordinates the next conference as conference stream at our Summit. The topic they bring in is, above all, political economy of digital media.
For reflection of disciplines, it is worth resorting to philosophy. Philosophy of information, including information ethics, is helpful to orient empirical research and technological development as well as development of social innovation. And it is needful, given the global challenges of our time.
So it does not come as a surprise that philosophers of information are scattered globally, embedded in different cultural settings, and representing different scientific approaches. Rafael Capurro and Luciano Floridi are the first when it comes to Europe (though Capurro has Latin-American origins); Russia finds its first information philosopher with Arkadiy Dmitriyevich Ursul (whose philosophical study of information was published in German language in the German Democratic Republic in 1970); in Japan, Tamito Joshida, Member of the Japan Academy, Professor Emeritus at the University of Tokyo and the Chuo University, Vice-President of the Science Council of Japan, combined philosophy of science considerations with semiotics and introduced the idea of an “informatic turn” as a second scientific revolution (an idea dating back to the late 1960s, but for the first time presented to an international public in English in 2005 only – see here); and China’s first philosopher of information is Kun Wu (who established that field in China about 30 years ago).
Kun Wu founded the International Centre for Philosophy of Information at his Xi’an Jiaotong University only recently with scholars like Luciano Floridi, Anthony Beavers from University of Evansville, Indiana, and Colin Allen from Indiana University Bloomington. They held the first international conference on philosophy of information last year in Xi’an (see here). This time they focus on the relationship between philosophy and disciplines.