Cyberethics: Social and Moral Issues in the Computer Age / Edition 1

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The amazing transformation of society brought about by the wide dispersion of computers has given rise to new moral dilemmas. With the rapid development of this technology, the impact of computers on privacy, personal identity, intellectual property, and the form and practice of democracy is becoming more apparent every day. Inevitably, this penetration of computer technology into our private and social lives has a moral dimension, which raises questions about our conduct and requires moral reflection and decision-making. The twenty-six groundbreaking essays collected in this insightful anthology define the nature of this new moral landscape and offer thoughtful answers to the ethical questions raised by the interaction of people and computers.

Divided into five sections, the volume begins with a definition of cyberethics. There is general agreement with James H. Moor's basic definition of the field as "the formulation and justification of policies for the ethical use of computers." Next the issues of anonymity and personal identity are considered. Computers provide individuals with a unique opportunity to create personae for the virtual world that are quite distinct from their normal identities. What are the moral dimensions of creating virtual personalities?
Perhaps the most pressing ethical issue is addressed in the next section on privacy. The ability of computers to store vast amounts of information on any individual raises the harrowing specter of a Big Brother society in the not-too-distant future. How should information be used and how might it be abused? What safeguards are needed to protect privacy as information technology becomes ever more sophisticated?

In the fourth section, questions concerning ownership of intellectual property and copyright law are considered. How can the rights of authorship be protected in the context of the internet?
Finally, the fifth section explores the debate now taking place regarding the impact of computers on democracy. Do computers offer new possibilities for enhancing democracy or will this prospect turn out to be a myth?

This is a much needed anthology of thought-provoking articles on the critical moral issues facing our "brave new world."

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Editorial Reviews

Following an opening section that defines cyberethics, this anthology of 26 essays explores anonymity, personal identity, and the moral dimensions of creating new personalities; privacy; ownership of intellectual property and copyright law; and the impact of computers on democracy and community. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (
From The Critics
The transformation of society brought about by computers has brought with it new moral dilemmas, from the impact of computers on privacy and copyright issues to the involvement of computers in personal lives. Cyberethics offers the reader 26 essays examining these new moral issues and provide thoughtfully reasoned answers to ethical questions.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781573927901
  • Publisher: Prometheus Books
  • Publication date: 4/28/2000
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 300
  • Lexile: 1350L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.21 (h) x 0.82 (d)

Meet the Author

Robert M. Baird (Waco, TX) is chair of the Philosophy Department at Baylor University, where Stuart E. Rosenbaum is professor of philosophy. Baird and Rosenbaum are coeditors of Prometheus's Contemporary Issues Series.

Reagan Ramsower is an associate dean of technology and a professor at the Hankamer School of Business at Baylor.

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Table of Contents

Introduction 9
Pt. 1 The Moral Landscape in Cyberspace 21
1 What Is Computer Ethics? 23
2 If Aristotle Were a Computing Professional 34
3 Does Computer Ethics Compute? 41
4 Ethics and the Computer World: A New Challenge For Philosophers 44
5 Subsumption Ethics 56
6 Narrative versus Logical Reasoning in Computer Ethics 73
7 Computer Ethics and Moral Methodology 80
Pt. 2 Anonymity in Cyberspace 95
8 Anonymous Communication Policies for the Internet: Results and Recommendations of the AAAS Conference and Assessing Anonymous Communication on the Internet: Policy Deliberations 97
9 Who Am We? 129
10 The Artificial Intelligensia and Virtual Worlds 142
Pt. 3 Privacy in Cyberspace 153
11 Little Brother Is Watching You 155
12 The Erosion of Privacy? 162
13 The Demise of Privacy in a Private World: From Front Porches to Chat Rooms 171
14 Privacy and the Computer: Why We Need Privacy in the Information Society 188
15 Toward a Theory of Privacy in the Information Age 200
Pt. 4 Property Ownership in Cyberspace 213
16 Wild, Wild Web 215
17 Should Computer Programs Be Owned? 222
18 Mind over Matter 236
19 Protecting Intellectual Property in Cyberspace 243
20 Intellectual Property in Synchronous and Collaborative Virtual Space 257
Pt. 5 Communities, Citizenship, and Democracy 283
21 Advanced Information Technology and Political Communication 285
22 Better Democracy through Technology 288
23 A Nation of Strangers? 295
24 Is the Global Information Infrastructure a Democratic Technology? 304
25 Cyberlibertarian Myths and the Prospects for Community 319
26 Liberty and Community Online 332
Contributors 353
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