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Computer Science - General Issues | Ethics in Cyberspace - How Cyberspace May Influence Interpersonal Interaction

Ethics in Cyberspace

How Cyberspace May Influence Interpersonal Interaction

Ploug, Thomas

2009, IX, 223 p.

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  • Addresses issues of life on the net, which are key to anyone interested in understanding this phenomenon
  • Advances highly original views as to key determinants of life on the net
  • Examines the ethical consequences of interacting on the net rather than face-to-face
  • Applies advanced philosophical analysis in the study of life on the net
  • The philosophical approach taken warrants strictness and clarity of analysis

Over the last few decades information and communication technology has come to play an increasingly prominent role in our dealings with other people. Computers, in particular, have made available a host of new ways of interacting, which we have increasingly made use of. In the wake of this development a number of ethical questions have been raised and debated. Ethics in Cyberspace focuses on the consequences for ethical agency of mediating interaction by means of computers, seeking to clarify how the conditions of certain kinds of interaction in cyberspace (for example, in chat-rooms and virtual worlds) differ from the conditions of interaction face-to-face and how these differences may come to affect the behaviour of interacting agents in terms of ethics.

Thomas Ploug’s book is a very significant contribution to the literature of applied ethics. It provides an original and fascinating account of the morally relevant features of interaction in cyberspace and explains the implications that these features have for the moral judgements of agents involved in such interaction. As Ethics in Cyberspace illustrates, cyberspatial interaction raises new ethical challenges that need to be met head-on. This book is indispensable to anyone interested in the application of ethical principles in the modern world.
Professor Søren Holm, PhD, DMed, Cardiff Law School and University of Oslo. Editor-in-Chief, Journal of Medical Ethics

Thomas Ploug’s Ethics in Cyberspace contains a meticulously argued analysis of the ethically relevant differences between interaction inside and outside cyberspace. Ploug’s main focus is on interaction in chat-rooms and various kinds of tele-operation, but the theoretical approach formulated in the book has much wider applicability. Ploug offers an admirably clear conceptual framework and investigates a range of approaches to the subject, all of which will be useful for anyone seeking to develop a philosophical analysis of the moral aspects of interaction in cyberspace. I have no hesitation in recommending this book highly.
Professor Peter Øhrstrøm, PhD, DSc, Information Science, Aalborg University, Denmark. Author of Temporal Logic (Kluwer Academic Publishers, 1995) and co-editor of Arthur N. Prior: Papers on Time and Tense (Oxford University Press, 2003)

Content Level » Research

Keywords » Agency - Computers and Society - Cyberspace - David Hume - Epistemology - Ethics - Explanation - Metaphysics - Philosophy of Technology - Reality - anonymity - identity - morality - reason - technology

Related subjects » Applied Ethics & Social Responsibility - Epistemology & Philosophy of Science - General Issues - Philosophy

Table of contents 


I The basic premise

1 Ethics in Cyberspace

1.1 Introduction

1.1.1 The Face of the Other

1.1.2 The 'Legal Tender' experiment

1.1.3 Explaining the basic premise

1.1.4 Road-map

2 The basic premise revisited

2.1 Shortcomings of the basic premise

2.1.1 The kind of mediation

2.1.2 The character of actions contrasted

2.1.3 Coincidental difference in interaction

2.1.4 Qualitative identity of situations

2.2 The basic premise

2.2.1 Restating the basic premise

2.2.2 Exploration of the basic premise

II Action, explanation and cyberspace

3 Actions and explanations

3.1 Actions and reasons

3.1.1 'The moral problem'

3.1.2 A Humean theory of motivation

3.1.3 Internalism in relation to normative reasons

3.1.4 Pure cognitivist internalism

3.2 Explaining the basic premise

3.2.1 The role of beliefs in explanation

3.2.2 The role of ontological conditions in explanation

3.2.3 Explanatory model

4 Interaction in Cyberspace

4.1 Cyberspace | Infrastructure and interaction

4.1.1 Conceptual computers and digital electronic machines

4.1.2 Defining Cyberspace | virtuality and interaction

4.1.3 Specific kinds of interaction in Cyberspace

4.2 Key properties of cyberspatial interaction

4.2.1 Limited exchange of data and information

4.2.2 Limited sensory access

4.2.3 Extensive anonymity

4.2.4 Logical relationship between key properties

III Explaining the basic premise

5 Belief and particularity

5.1 Structure of analysis

5.2 The three hypotheses

5.2.1 Being convinced to a certain extent

5.2.2 The reality of the patient

5.2.3 Reliable and relevant evidence

6 Belief and reality

6.1 Hypothesis I | Reality and determinateness

6.1.1 Determinateness and determinedness

6.1.2 Belief, reality and determinateness

6.2 Hypothesis II | Reality, causality and life-world

6.2.1 Causality and life-world

6.2.2 Belief, reality and causality

6.2.3 Belief, reality and life-world

6.3 Hypothesis III | Reality and vulnerability

6.3.1 Vulnerability and dependency

6.3.2 Belief, reality and vulnerability

6.4 Hypotheses I-III | Beliefs and evidence

6.4.1 Linking beliefs and evidence

7 Belief and evidence

7.1 Evidence in cyberspatial interaction

7.1.1 Lack of evidence

7.1.2 Lack of relevant evidence

7.1.3 Lack of reliable evidence

8 Belief and action

8.1 Belief, reality and ethics

8.1.1 Belief, reality and motivation

8.1.2 The particularity of moral concern

8.2 Explaining the moral difference in interaction

8.2.1 Foundation for explaining

8.2.2 Explaining

8.2.3 Revisiting sources of inspiration

9 A few concluding comments

9.1 Alternative explanations and interpretations


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