Article

Minds and Machines

, Volume 14, Issue 1, pp 101-117

Epistemic Value Theory and Information Ethics

  • Don FallisAffiliated withSchool of Information Resources, University of Arizona

Rent the article at a discount

Rent now

* Final gross prices may vary according to local VAT.

Get Access

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.

epistemic value theory epistemology information ethics intellectual property philosophy of information privacy social epistemology speech regulation