Sunday, 22 June 2014

The Philosophy of Data


Data Philosophy – a beginning


This is a blog about the philosophy of data. In many ways that means it’s a blog about nearly everything. Only ‘nearly’ because there are limits to what we can be called ‘data’. What those limits are, is, in my view, the subject of philosophical investigation. Just as are the following questions:

  •          What is ‘Data’?
  •          What is the Mind/Data relationship?
  •          Are there laws governing the nature of Data?
  •          Does Data exist objectively?

Seasoned philosophers will recognise the themes referenced by these questions, but I suspect they are new issues to many of those who practice the arts of identifying, retrieving, manipulating and presenting data. Everyone will notice that I have not raised any questions of ethics/value here. If those kinds of questions are pressing for you - sorry, that’s just not the sort of philosophy I do. 

I intend to explore these questions (and others) as well as the problems that will inevitably arise from attempts to answer them.  I welcome all comments and suggestions, I am not going to be able to answer any of these questions by myself, but possibly together we can at least make some progress towards understanding how to ask the best ones.


I promise to keep my posts short and to include at least one #dataviz in each one (because…you know…the internet).

Here's an indication of where data philosophy lies in the current zeitgeist against the fortunes of its soaraway sibling, data science: