The Foundation of Information Science: One World or Three? A Discussion of Gnoli (2018).

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Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to make a critical analysis of the views put forward by Claudio Gnoli (2018) in this journal concerning philosophical problems in library and information science (LIS).
Approach: The paper present the basic ideas in Gnoli (2018) and discusses the set of basic assumptions, concepts and conclusions put forward.
Findings: It is argued that the idea of the theory of levels is basically sound, but we do not need to consider the material world, the mental world (minds) and the world of mentefacts as three different worlds. They represents different levels with different kinds of emergent properties in the world. Further, although the concepts of artifacts and mentefacts are useful, there are other terms within LIS, such as document, work and object that have been influential and should be discussed in this context. It is also argued that subjective versus objective knowledge is often confused with private versus public knowledge, which is problematic. Finally it is claimed that the cognitive view and the “sociological view” are not about two different levels of reality but are competing views about the same reality.
Value: The paper clarifies some aspects of the analytical framework of domain-analysis and adds to the developments of the philosophical dimensions of information within LIS.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Documentation
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)164-171
Number of pages8
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2019

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