Science and Engineering Ethics, (1996) 2, 2, pp 137-154
ETHICOMP Journal Vol 1 Issue 1
A distinction is made between moral indoctrination and instruction in ethics. It is argued that the legitimate and important field of computer ethics should not be permitted to become mere moral indoctrination. Computer ethics is an academic field in its own right with unique ethical issues that would not have existed if computer technology had not been invented. Several example issues are presented to illustrate this point. The failure to find satisfactory non-computer analogies testifies to the uniqueness of computer ethics. Lack of an effective analogy forces us to discover new moral values, formulate new moral principles, develop new policies, and find new ways to think about the issues presented to us. For all of these reasons, the kind of issues presented deserve to be addressed separately from others that might at first appear similar. At the very least, they have been so transformed by computing technology that their altered form demands special attention.