A critique of information ethics

Tony Doyle

pp. 163-175

Luciano Floridi presents Information Ethics (IE) as an alternative to traditional moral theories. IE consists of two tenets. First, reality can be interpreted at numerous, mutually consistent levels of abstraction, the highest of which is information. This level, unlike the others, applies to all of reality. Second, everything, insofar as it is an information object, has some degree of intrinsic value and hence moral dignity. I criticize IE, arguing that Floridi fails to show that the moral community should be expanded beyond beings capable of suffering or having preferences. Next, I look at Floridi's extended case against consequentialism generally and utilitarianism in particular. I try to show that his criticisms are flawed. Third, I argue that, for the most part, it is not clear what IE's practical implications are. I conclude with a critical discussion of the one area of information ethics, traditionally conceived, that Floridi has written about at length, privacy.

Publication details

DOI: 10.1007/s12130-010-9104-x

Full citation:

Doyle, T. (2010). A critique of information ethics. Knowledge, Technology & Policy 23 (1-2), pp. 163-175.

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