Information Ethics: From Case-based Analyses to Theoretical Foundations

Luciano Floridi

ETHICOMP Journal Vol 1 Issue 1


The paper is based on (a) a moderate version of Walter Maner’s thesis (computer ethics as a new branch of ethics concerned with original situations and issues brought about by the information society), and a radicalisation of (b) Jacek Sojka’s, Simon Rogerson’s and Terrell Ward Bynum’s interpretation of computer ethics as information ethics (IE). In the paper it is argued that (i) if premises (a) and (b) are accepted, then IE could be fruitfully seen as a particular case of “environmental” ethics or ethics of the infosphere (IE); that (ii) the newly emerging field of IE requires a theoretical foundation; that (iii) the theoretical foundation needs to concern the essential concepts involved in the ethical analysis; and that (iv) any consistent IE position that may be developed in the future will need to endorse two IE principles: one ontological, concerning the nature of an agent in the infosphere (the principle of uniformity), from which a proper interpretation of the concept of responsibility depends; and the other methodological, concerning the nature of action in the infosphere (the principle of reflexivity), from which a correct understanding of the systemic nature of IE depends.