Ethics for things

Ethics and Information Technology 10 (2-3):149-154 (2008)
Abstract
This paper considers the ways that Information Ethics (IE) treats things. A number of critics have focused on IE’s move away from anthropocentrism to include non-humans on an equal basis in moral thinking. I enlist Actor Network Theory, Dennett’s views on ‹as if’ intentionality and Magnani’s characterization of ‹moral mediators’. Although they demonstrate different philosophical pedigrees, I argue that these three theories can be pressed into service in defence of IE’s treatment of things. Indeed the support they lend to the extension of moral status to non-human objects can be seen as part of a trend towards the accommodation of non-humans into our moral and social networks. A number of parallels are drawn between philosophical arguments over artificial intelligence and information ethics
Keywords actor-network theory   distributed morality   information ethics   intentionality
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