Purpose The purpose of this paper is to explore an emerging ethical theory for the Digital Age – Flourishing Ethics – which will likely be applicable in many different cultures worldwide, addressing not only human concerns but also activities, decisions and consequences of robots, cyborgs, artificially intelligent agents and other new digital technologies. Design/methodology/approach In the past, a number of influential ethical theories in Western philosophy have focused upon choice and autonomy, or pleasure and pain or fairness and justice. These (...) are important ethical concepts, but we consider “flourishing” to be a broader “umbrella concept” under which all of the above ideas can be included, plus additional ethical ideas from cultures in other regions of the world. Before explaining the applied approach, this study discusses relevant ideas of four example thinkers who emphasize flourishing in their ethics writings: Aristotle, Norbert Wiener, James Moor and Simon Rogerson. Findings Flourishing Ethics is not a single ethical theory. It is “an approach,” a “family” of similar ethical theories which can be successfully applied to humans in many different cultures, as well as to non-human agents arising from new digital technologies. Originality/value This appears to be the first extended analysis of the emerging flourishing ethics “family” of theories. (shrink)
This essay describes a new ethical theory that has begun to coalesce from the works of several scholars in the international computer ethics community. I call the new theory ‚Flourishing Ethics’ because of its Aristotelian roots, though it also includes ideas suggestive of Taoism and Buddhism. In spite of its roots in ancient ethical theories, Flourishing Ethics is informed and grounded by recent scientific insights into the nature of living things, human nature and the fundamental nature of the universe – (...) ideas from today’s information theory, astrophysics and genetics. Flourishing Ethics can be divided conveniently into two parts. The first part, which I call ‚Human-Centered FE,’ is focused exclusively upon human beings – their actions, values and characters. The second part, which I call ‚General FE,’ applies to every physical entity in the universe, including humans. Rather than replacing traditional ‚great ethical theories,’ Flourishing Ethics is likely to deepen and broaden our understanding of them. (shrink)
Abstract: In the past, major scientific and technological revolutions, like the Copernican Revolution and the Industrial Revolution, have had profound effects, not only upon society in general, but also upon Philosophy. Today's Information Revolution is no exception. Already it has had significant impacts upon our understanding of human nature, the nature of society, even the nature of the universe. Given these developments, this essay considers some of the philosophical contributions of two "philosophers of the Information Age"—Norbert Wiener and Luciano Floridi—with (...) regard to the nature of the universe, human nature, the nature of society, and the nature of "artificial agents" such as robots, softbots, and cyborgs. (shrink)
This clear and accessible textbook and its associated website offer a state of the art introduction to the burgeoning field of computer ethics and professional responsibility. Includes discussion of hot topics such as the history of computing; the social context of computing; methods of ethical analysis; professional responsibility and codes of ethics; computer security, risks and liabilities; computer crime, viruses and hacking; data protection and privacy; intellectual property and the “open source” movement; global ethics and the internet Introduces key issues (...) and concepts at the start of each section, and features classroom-tested study questions, and lists of useful websites and further reading Provides a wealth of relevant case studies, and an easy-to learn case-analysis technique Is accompanied by a website, offering sample student answers, additional study questions, example case analyses, and discussion forums. (shrink)
This volume contains English translations of Frege's early writings in logic and philosophy and of relevant reviews by other leading logicians. Professor Bynum has contributed a biographical essay, introduction, and extensive bibliography.
In The Philosophy of Information, Luciano Floridi presents an ontological theory of Being qua Being, which he calls “Informational Structural Realism”, a theory which applies, he says, to every possible world. He identifies primordial information (“dedomena”) as the foundation of any structure in any possible world. The present essay examines Floridi’s defense of that theory, as well as his refutation of “Digital Ontology” (which some people might confuse with his own). Then, using Floridi’s ontology as a starting point, the present (...) essay adds quantum features to dedomena, yielding an ontological theory for our own universe, Quantum Informational Structural Realism, which provides a metaphysical interpretation of key quantum phenomena, and diminishes the “weirdness” or “spookiness” of quantum mechanics. (shrink)
This is an introduction to a set of papers on Computer Ethics from the conference ETHICOMP95. Taken as a whole, the collection of papers provides arguments and concepts to launch a new development in computer ethics: ‘Global Information Ethics’. A rationale for globalization is provided, as well as some early efforts which move in that direction.
This article discusses some``historical milestones'' in computer ethics, aswell as two alternative visions of the futureof computer ethics. Topics include theimpressive foundation for computer ethics laiddown by Norbert Wiener in the 1940s and early1950s; the pioneering efforts of Donn Parker,Joseph Weizenbaum and Walter Maner in the1970s; Krystyna Gorniak's hypothesis thatcomputer ethics will evolve into ``globalethics''; and Deborah Johnson's speculation thatcomputer ethics may someday ``disappear''.
The present paper uses a Flourishing Ethics analysis to address the question of which ethical values and principles should be “instilled” into artificially intelligent agents. This is an urgent question that is still being asked seven decades after philosopher/scientist Norbert Wiener first asked it. An answer is developed by assuming that human flourishing is the central ethical value, which other ethical values, and related principles, can be used to defend and advance. The upshot is that Flourishing Ethics can provide a (...) common underlying ethical foundation for a wide diversity of cultures and communities around the globe; and the members of each specific culture or community can add their own specific cultural values—ones which they treasure, and which help them to make sense of their moral lives. (shrink)
Aristotle's theory of human action is an impressive achievement that has served philosophy well for more than two thousand years. In every philosophical era it is explored anew--and with great profit. As a contribution to contemporary efforts in this regard, the present dissertation aims to lay out, lucidly and in detail, the various components of Aristotle's action theory. ;Since actions, according to Aristotle, constitute a sub-class of "the voluntary", the dissertation begins by examining Aristotle's account of voluntary activities. It discusses (...) the chief characteristics shared by all such activities, and compares the Nicomachean and Eudemian accounts. ;Perception is examined next, because percepts and their lingering traces , according to Aristotle, are the triggers of desire. And desire provides the impetus for animal behavior and human action. Aristotle's analysis assumes a rich array of desire-types, including appetites, passions, emotions, and wishes, all of which are analyzed in the dissertation. ;The keys to adult human action--distinguishing it from animal and child behavior--are deliberation, "choice" and the so-called "practical syllogism". The dissertation examines these in some detail and produces a model of the practical syllogism. ;Once the practical syllogism has been examined, the dissertation considers the question of whether Aristotle's theory of action provides a successful resolution of the so-called "problem of free will". It is argued that Aristotle--despite common misconceptions to the contrary--was aware of the problem and had a promising philosophical basis for its solution. (shrink)
Abstract: This brief article describes the circumstances that led to the creation of the journal Metaphilosophy in autumn 1968. A year after I had left graduate school, an unfortunate accident left me flat on my back for several weeks with nothing to do while recuperating from eye surgery. Bored, I decided to do something constructive, so I created a scholarly journal devoted to articles about the nature of philosophy, or how the different schools or branches of philosophy relate to each (...) other, or how philosophy relates to other disciplines. I made up the word “metaphilosophy” to describe such content, and I decided to call the journal by that name. With help from my wife, from my best friend, and from my undergraduate philosophy mentor, the journal Metaphilosophy was launched. (shrink)
This chapter contains sections titled: Two Philosophers of the Information Age Wiener's Role in the Birth of the Information Revolution Wiener on the Nature of the Universe Digital Physics Human Nature Artificial Agents Wiener on Society in the Information Age The Philosophy of Information: Floridi's Ambitious Project Floridi on the Nature and Goodness of the Universe Artificial Agents and Ethics Human Nature and the Information Society Concluding Remarks: Comparing Wiener and Floridi Acknowledgments References.