What’s Right and Good about Internet Information? A Universal Model of Ethics for Evaluating the Cultural Quality of Digital Information

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Abstract

The overall primary objective of this paper is to describe and propose a meta-ethical as well as normative model for the theoretical and practical evaluation of the quality of digital information on the Internet in terms of rights (the Right), virtues of character and moral sentiments (the Good) and eudaimonia, happiness or self-fulfillment (the Good Life). This model as I shall argue must of necessity be universal and objective in its mode of justification and motivation and global in its reach. It has to be able to transcend cultural boarders so as to be able to objectively evaluate the quality of information that is in its essence borderless and global.Although the model proposed is universal and objective, it has both local and global applications. Furthermore, it allows and can account for the maximal flexibility and variety of expression of any number of personal and cultural perspectives and interests. Although universal, the model proposed is not dogmatic as it is based, of necessity, on universal shared interests and capacities, in short, the general interest and capacity for purposive action that all human agents have in common, irrespective of their specific cultural placement and orientation. More importantly, the model proposed overcomes moral relativism. As the proposed model is based on the supreme principle of morality (Alan Gewirth’s Principle of Generic Consistency, the PGC) the model can accommodate other ethical theories and is thus sensitive at least to some minimal robust pluralism based on the requirements of practical reason.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationInternational Conference on Computer Ethics
Subtitle of host publicationPhilosophical Enquiry (CEPE)
EditorsLarry Hinman, Philip Brey, Luciano Floridi, Frances Grodzinsky, Lucas Introna
Place of PublicationSan Diego, United States of America
PublisherCentre for Telematics and Information Technology (CTIT), Enschede, the Netherlands
Pages347-366
Number of pages20
Publication statusPublished - 2007
EventCEPE 2007 - University of San Diego, San Diego, USA, New Zealand
Duration: 12 Jul 200714 Jul 2007

Conference

ConferenceCEPE 2007
Country/TerritoryNew Zealand
Period12/07/0714/07/07

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