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Research

My doctoral research re-examines the foundationalist debate in library and information science, focusing on Floridi’s (2002) claim that philosophy of information (PI) can provide the most appropriate conceptual foundation for LIS, as well as his further claimed that LIS can be defined as applied PI.

The research is focused on answering three main questions, each with a number of related sub-questions:

What is the nature and status of LIS?

  • Is there an important distinction between library science (or librarianship) and information science?
  • What would be the main benefit of establishing a philosophical foundation for LIS?
  • Can it be argued that the lack of consensus within LIS at the conceptual level is evidence that it is an immature, or pre-paradigmatic science as defined by Kuhn (1996)?

What is the philosophy of information?

  • What are the main questions PI seeks to answer and how can answering them benefit LIS?
  • Floridi (2011) claims that the main method of PI – the method of levels of abstraction (LoA) – can be applied fruitfully to a variety of philosophical issues: what is this method and how can it be applied to philosophical issues as they arise within LIS?
  • Is Floridi’s (2002) claim that LIS can be defined as applied PI tenable?

What does it mean for philosophy to be applied?

  • What is the relationship between science and philosophy and how do their methodologies differ?
  • Is there an inherent tension in viewing LIS as a science and viewing it as an applied philosophy?

As well as focussing on the metatheoretical issues relating to PI and LIS, one of the main aims of my research is to investigate the practical implications for LIS of adopting philosophy of information as a conceptual foundation and thus to demonstrate the impact of clarifying these philosophical and conceptual issues to LIS researchers, librarians and information professionals.

References

Floridi, L. (2002). On defining library and information science as applied philosophy of information. Social Epistemology,16(1), 37-49.

Kuhn, T. (1996). The structure of scientific revolutions (3rd ed.). Chicago ; London: University of Chicago Press.