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  Topics in the Philosophy of Information: Investigating the Philosophical Bases and Implications of Information Technologies

   School of Humanities

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  Dr A Woodward, Dr Brian Pluss  No more applications being accepted  Self-Funded PhD Students Only

About the Project

Philosophy of information is one of the most exciting and innovative developments in contemporary thought. It is at once highly topical, drawing on and dealing with the information technologies in which our lives are increasingly immersed, and expansive in its ability to treat practically any problem in the history of philosophy from the perspective of an informational paradigm. Luciano Floridi, the foremost philosopher of information, defines it as ‘the philosophical field concerned with (a) the critical investigation of the conceptual nature and basic principles of information, including its dynamics, utilisation, and sciences; and (b) the elaboration and application of information- theoretic and computational methodologies to philosophical problems.’ Philosophy of information crosses traditional divides both within philosophy itself, and between philosophy and computer science. While Floridi’s work is grounded in the analytic tradition, he positions it beyond the analytic-continental divide. French philosophers such as Raymond Ruyer and Gilbert Simondon made important developments in the area in the 1950s, and Wu Kun has pioneered a philosophy of information in China since the early 1980s. The candidate could tackle any of many possible topics and problems in the philosophy of information, including (but not limited to): the central problem, what is information?; the relationship between information and semantic meaning; the ethics of information; the contributions of information-theoretic and computational models to epistemology; the existential impact of information technologies on human life; the changing image of the human brought about by information technologies; the politics of information society; digital ontologies; the metaphysics of virtual realities; the philosophy of artificial intelligence; the concept of information in the history of philosophy; the nature of artificial agents and artificial companions.

This PhD project offers expert supervision from both Philosophy and Computing. Dr Ashley Woodward (philosophy) is an established researcher who has published on the concept of information in a number of continental philosophers (Heidegger, Lyotard, Vattimo, Ruyer, Simondon), and who is currently working on a major project titled ‘Transforming Information.’ Dr Brian Pluss (computing) is a researcher in computational argumentation, with application to social and political domains.

For informal enquiries about the project, contact Dr Ashley Woodward ([Email Address Removed])

For general enquiries about the University of Dundee, contact [Email Address Removed]

Our research community thrives on the diversity of students and staff which helps to make the University of Dundee a UK university of choice for postgraduate research. We welcome applications from all talented individuals and are committed to widening access to those who have the ability and potential to benefit from higher education.


Applicants must have obtained, or expect to obtain, a UK honours degree at 2.1 or above (or equivalent for non-UK qualifications), and/or a Masters degree in a relevant discipline. For international qualifications, please see equivalent entry requirements here:

English language requirement: IELTS (Academic) overall score must be at least 7.0 (with not less than 7.0 in writing, reading, listening or speaking). The University of Dundee accepts a variety of equivalent qualifications; please see full details of the University’s English language requirements here:


Step 1: Email Dr Ashley Woodward ([Email Address Removed]) to (1) send a copy of your CV and (2) discuss your potential application and any practicalities (e.g. suitable start date).

Step 2: After discussion with Dr Woodward, formal applications can be made via our direct application system. When applying, please follow the instructions below:

Candidates must apply for the Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) degree in Philosophy using our direct application system: Philosophy research degrees | University of Dundee.

Please select the study mode (full-time/part-time) and start date agreed with the lead supervisor.

In the Research Proposal section, please:

-       Enter the lead supervisor’s name in the ‘proposed supervisor’ box

-       Enter the project title listed at the top of this page in the ‘proposed project title’ box

In the ‘personal statement’ section, please outline your suitability for the project selected.

Communication & Media Studies (7) Philosophy (28)

Funding Notes

There is no funding attached to this project. The successful applicant will be expected to provide the funding for tuition fees and living expenses, via external sponsorship or self-funding. Potential competitive funding sources include the Scottish Graduate School for the Arts and Humanities and the Economic and Social Research Council. Some support in applying for funding is available, but securing funding remains the responsibility of the student.


Luciano Floridi, The Philosophy of Information, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011.
Raymond Ruyer, La Cybernetique et l'origine de l'information, Paris: Flammarion, 1954.
Gilbert Simondon, Individuation in Light of Notions of Form and Information, trans. T. Adkins., Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2020 [1958].
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