[Humanist] 24.139 philosophy of information and care

Humanist Discussion Group willard.mccarty at mccarty.org.uk
Wed Jun 23 07:12:47 CEST 2010

                 Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 24, No. 139.
         Centre for Computing in the Humanities, King's College London
                Submit to: humanist at lists.digitalhumanities.org

        Date: Tue, 22 Jun 2010 20:42:14 +0000 (GMT)
        From: peter jones <h2cmng at yahoo.co.uk>
        Subject: Philosophy of information empowers philosophy of care
        In-Reply-To: <20100622085430.83AFF58017 at woodward.joyent.us>

Originally posted at:


The moral and ethical dimensions of nursing quickly become apparent
to individual practitioners and professional associations. Philosophy
in nursing boasts specific courses, journals and groups, for example:

International Philosophy of Nursing Society (IPONS)

Nursing Philosophy (journal)

International Centre for Nursing Ethics

Here on W2tQ, in papers and on the website I have stressed the importance of
the health career model as a framework that can utilise information as a
fundamental and potentially unifying concept.

Expanding on the post last week about the philosophers' magazine [tpm50]
let's look at Floridi's piece on the philosophy of information (PI). The 50
ideas featured are each only granted two pages, but this has a definite
philosophical equivalent twitter-styled appeal. On page 42 (- 43) Floridi
notes that:

>  ... PI possesses one of the most powerful conceptual
>vocabularies ever devised in philosophy. This is because one can rely
>on informational concepts whenever a complete understanding of some
>series of events is unavailable or unnecessary for providing an
>explanation. Virtually any issue can be rephrased informationally. Such
>semantic power is a great advantage of PI, understood as a methodology.
>It shows that we a dealing with an influential paradigm. But
>it may also be a disadvantage, because a metaphorically pan
>informational approach can lead to a dangerous equivocation, namely,
>thinking that since any x can be described in (more or less
>metaphorically) informational terms, then the nature of any x is
>genuinely informational. (Luciano Floridi, 2010).Admittedly Floridi's context is the position and status of PI as an emerging discipline within philosophy. As he notes the vocabulary while powerful lies in the discipline of philosophy.

Given my preoccupation with information, Floridi's observation above is a timely warning for me and the many nurses who in the past saw a concomitant
risk that in adopting the nursing process, patients (and carers) would
be processed. Ironically, this processing concerned information. The
workflow - form and layout of the documentation - was prescribed. This
is an old tale, with the nursing process being subsumed within the
routine work of nursing. Perhaps though this also demonstrates a need
for a new debate?

My interest in information is as a trope to explain the significance of the
care (knowledge) domains that underpin Hodges' model. Crucially, though
these can stand on their own as nursing philosophy issues. Joining the
efforts of the nursing philosophers above, this can bring information and
philosophy out of the academic realm to include a more practical and
grounded variety of topics:

FROM: personal identity,definitions and ownership of computer based records,
utility versus security of information (summary care record ...),
definitions of information (data, knowledge) - through
TO: patient information and patient informatics, ...
where is collective informatics# heading?

Taking Floridi's lead - which of the above .... are core nursing (health) information concepts (and not just freeloading info-masqueraders along for the ride)? Well, that is a question for a new community of scholars to decide?

Philosophy resources: Interpersonal care domain

#Collective informatics = all the claimed informatics disciplines combined?
Peter Jones
Chorley & Ormskirk Community Mental Health teams
Lancashire, UK
Hodges' Health Career - Care Domains - Model
h2cm: help2Cmore - help-2-listen - help-2-care

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