Mapping the foundationalist debate in computer ethics
Purchase on Springer.com
$39.95 / €34.95 / £29.95*
Rent the article at a discountRent now
* Final gross prices may vary according to local VAT.
The paper provides a critical review of thedebate on the foundations of Computer Ethics(CE). Starting from a discussion of Moor'sclassic interpretation of the need for CEcaused by a policy and conceptual vacuum, fivepositions in the literature are identified anddiscussed: the ``no resolution approach'',according to which CE can have no foundation;the professional approach, according to whichCE is solely a professional ethics; the radicalapproach, according to which CE deals withabsolutely unique issues, in need of a uniqueapproach; the conservative approach, accordingto which CE is only a particular appliedethics, discussing new species of traditionalmoral issues; and the innovative approach,according to which theoretical CE can expandthe metaethical discourse with a substantiallynew perspective. In the course of the analysis,it is argued that, although CE issues are notuncontroversially unique, they are sufficientlynovel to render inadequate the adoption ofstandard macroethics, such as Utilitarianismand Deontologism, as the foundation of CE andhence to prompt the search for a robust ethicaltheory. Information Ethics (IE) is proposed forthat theory, as the satisfactory foundation forCE. IE is characterised as a biologicallyunbiased extension of environmental ethics,based on the concepts of information object/infosphere/entropy rather thanlife/ecosystem/pain. In light of the discussionprovided in this paper, it is suggested that CEis worthy of independent study because itrequires its own application-specific knowledgeand is capable of supporting a methodologicalfoundation, IE.
Supplementary Material (0)
- T.W. Bynum, editor. Computers and Ethics. Oxford: Blackwell, published as the October 1985 issue of Metaphilosophy, 1985.
- T.W. Bynum. Human Values and the Computer Science Curriculum, http://www.southernct.edu/organizations/rccs/resources/teaching/teaching_mono/bynum/bynum_human_values.html, 1992.
- T.W. Bynum. Global Information Ethics and the Information Revolution. Bynum and Moor, 274–289, 1998
- T.W. Bynum and J.H. Moor, editors. The Digital Phoenix: How Computers are Changing Philosophy. Oxford: Blackwell, 1998.
- T.W. Bynum. A Very Short History of Computer Ethics. APA Newsletters on Philosophy and Computers: Spring February 1999, http://www.southernct.edu/organizations/rccs/resources/research/introduction/bynum_shrt_hist.html, 2000.
- R. Epstein. The Case of the Killer Robot. New York: JohnWiley and Sons, 1997.
- L. Floridi. Does Information have a Moral Worth in Itself?. Computer Ethics: Philosophical Enquiry (CEPE 98). London School of Economics and Political Science, London, December 14-15, preprint available at http://www.wolfson.ox.ac.uk/floridi/papers.htm, 1998.
- L. Floridi. Information Ethics: On the Philosophical Foundation of Computer Ethics. Ethics and Information Technology, 1(1): 37–56, preprint available at http://www.wolfson.ox.ac.uk/floridi/papers.htm, 1999a.
- L. Floridi, editor. Etica and Politica, special issue on Computer Ethics, 2, http://www.univ.trieste.it/~dipfilo/etica_e_politica/1999_2/homepage.html., 1999b.
- L. Floridi. Ethics in the Infosphere. The Philosophers' Magazine, 6: pp. 18–19, 2001.
- L. Floridi (forthcoming-a). Information Ethics: An Environmental Approach to the Digital Divide, Philosophy in the Contemporary World preprint available at http://www.wolfson.ox.ac.uk/floridi/papers.htm.
- L. Floridi (forthcoming-b). On the Intrinsic Value of Information Objects and the Infosphere, preprint available at http://www.wolfson.ox.ac.uk/floridi/papers.htm.
- L. Floridi and J.W. Sanders. Entropy as Evil in Information Ethics. Floridi, http://www.univ.trieste.it/~dipfilo/etica_e_politica/1999_2/homepage.html, 1999b.
- L. Floridi and J.W. Sanders. Artificial Evil and the Foundation of Computer Ethics. Ethics and Information Technology, 3(1): 55–66, 2001; and also Etica and Politica, 2(2), 2000, http://www.univ.trieste.it/~dipfilo/etica_e_politica/2000_2/index.html, 2001.
- L. Floridi and J.W. Sanders (forthcoming-c). On the Morality of Artificial Agents, preprint available from http://www.wolfson.ox.ac.uk/~floridi/papers.htm, in A. Marturano and L. Introna editors, Ethics of Virtualities. Essays on the limits of the bio-power technologies, to be published for the series Culture Machine, Athlone Press, London.
- T. Forester and P. Morrison. Computer Ethics: Cautionary Tales and Ethical Dilemmas in Computing, 2nd ed. 1994. Cambridge, Mass: MIT Press, 1990.
- K. Gorniak-Kocikowska. The Computer Revolution and the Problem of Global Ethics. Science and Engineering Ethics, 2(2), 1996.
- D.W. Gotterbarn. Computer Ethics: Responsibility Regained, first published in the National Forum, rep. in Business Legal and Ethical Issues. Australian Computer Society August 1993 and in Johnson and Nissenbaum 1995, http://www-cs.etsu-tn.edu/gotterbarn/artpp1.htm, 1991.
- D.W. Gotterbarn. The Use and Abuse of Computer Ethics, special ethics issue of The Journal of Systems and Software, 17(1), http://www.southernct.edu/organizations/rccs/resources/teaching/teaching_mono/gotterbarn02/gotter barn02_intro.html, 1992.
- D.W. Gotterbarn. Software Engineering Ethics. In J. Marciniak, editor, Encyclopedia of Software Engineering, 2nd ed. New York: Wiley-Interscience, 2001.
- D.G. Johnson. Sorting Out the Uniqueness of Computer-Ethical Issues. Floridi, http://www.univ.trieste.it/~dipfilo/etica_e_politica/1999_2/homepage.html, 1999b.
- D.G. Johnson and H. Nissenbaum, editors. Computers, Ethics, and Social Values. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall, 1995.
- D. Langford. Practical Computer Ethics. London: McGraw-Hill, 1995.
- W. Maner. Is Computer Ethics Unique?. Floridi, http://www.univ.trieste.it/~ipfilo/etica_e_politica/1999_2/homepage.html, 1999b.
- W. Maner. Unique Ethical Problems in Information Technology. Science and Engineering Ethics, 2(2): 137–154. Revised version in Maner (1999), 1996.
- R. Mason. Four Ethical Issues of the Information Age. MIS Quarterly, 10(1): 5–12, 1986.
- J.H. Moor. What is Computer Ethics?. Metaphilosophy, 16(4): 266–275, http://www.southernct.edu/organizations/rccs/resources/teaching/teaching_mono/moor/moor_definition.html, 1985.
- S. Naresh. Ethical Norms for the Information Society. Proceedings of the First Session of UNESCO's COMEST, Oslo April 1999, pp. 169–177. Paris: UNESCO, 1999.
- D.B. Parker. Ethical Conflicts in Computer Science and Technology. Arlington, VA: AFIPS Press, 1981.
- D.B. Parker. Ethical Dilemmas in Computer Technology. In W.M. Hoffman and J.M. Moore, editors, Ethics and the Management of Computer Technology. Cambridge, MA: Oelgeschlager, Gunn and Hain, 1982.
- D.B. Parker. Ethical Conflicts in Information and Computer Science, Technology, and Business. Wellesley, MA: QED Information Sciences, 1990.
- M. Rowlands. The Environmental Crisis - Understanding the Value of Nature. New York: St. Martin's Press, 2000.
- H.T. Tavani. Computer Ethics: Current Perspectives and Resources. APA Newsletters on Philosophy and Computers, Spring February, 1999, http://www.apa.udel.edu/apa/publications/newsletters/v99n2/computers/feature-tavani.asp, 2000.
About this Article
- Mapping the foundationalist debate in computer ethics
Ethics and Information Technology
Volume 4, Issue 1 , pp 1-9
- Cover Date
- Print ISSN
- Online ISSN
- Kluwer Academic Publishers
- Additional Links
- computer ethics
- information and communication technology
- information ethics
- policy vacuum
- uniqueness debate
- Industry Sectors