, Volume 14, Issue 1, pp 101-117

Epistemic Value Theory and Information Ethics

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Abstract

Three of the major issues in information ethics – intellectual property, speech regulation, and privacy – concern the morality of restricting people’s access to certain information. Consequently, policies in these areas have a significant impact on the amount and types of knowledge that people acquire. As a result, epistemic considerations are critical to the ethics of information policy decisions (cf. Mill, 1978 [1859]). The fact that information ethics is a part of the philosophy of information highlights this important connection with epistemology. In this paper, I illustrate how a value-theoretic approach to epistemology can help to clarify these major issues in information ethics. However, I also identify several open questions about epistemic values that need to be answered before we will be able to evaluate the epistemic consequences of many information policies.