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    Williams, Lynne Y. and Neal, Diane M. 2012. The Digital Aggregated Self: A Literature Review. p. 170.

    Brenner, Joseph E. 2010. A Logic of Ethical Information. Knowledge, Technology & Policy, Vol. 23, Issue. 1-2, p. 109.

    Durante, Massimo 2010. The Value of Information as Ontological Pluralism. Knowledge, Technology & Policy, Vol. 23, Issue. 1-2, p. 149.

    Floridi, Luciano 2009. Network Ethics: Information and Business Ethics in a Networked Society. Journal of Business Ethics, Vol. 90, Issue. S4, p. 649.

  • Print publication year: 2008
  • Online publication date: July 2009

3 - Information Ethics: Its Nature and Scope


The world of the future will be an ever more demanding struggle against the limitations of our intelligence, not a comfortable hammock in which we can lie down to be waited upon by our robot slaves.

(Wiener 1964, p. 69)


In recent years, information ethics (IE) has come to mean different things to different researchers working in a variety of disciplines, including computer ethics, business ethics, medical ethics, computer science, the philosophy of information, social epistemology, and library and information science. Perhaps this Babel was always going to be inevitable, given the novelty of the field and the multifarious nature of the concept of information itself. It is certainly unfortunate, for it has generated some confusion about the specific nature and scope of IE. The problem, however, is not irremediable, for a unified approach can help to explain and relate the main senses in which IE has been discussed in the literature. The approach is best introduced schematically and by focusing our attention on a moral agent A.

Suppose A is interested in pursuing whatever she considers her best course of action, given her predicament. We shall assume that A's evaluations and actions have some moral value, but no specific value needs to be introduced. Intuitively, A can use some information (information as a resource) to generate some other information (information as a product) and in so doing affect her informational environment (information as target).

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Information Technology and Moral Philosophy
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