Cover image for Cyberethics : social & moral issues in the computer age
Cyberethics : social & moral issues in the computer age
Baird, Robert M., 1937-
Publication Information:
Amherst, N.Y. : Prometheus Books, [2000]

Physical Description:
355 pages ; 23 cm
Reading Level:
1350 Lexile.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
QA76.9.C66 C92 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



The amazing transformation of society brought about by the wide dispersion of computers has given rise to new moral dilemmas. With the rapid development of this technology, the impact of computers on privacy, personal identity, intellectual property, and the form and practice of democracy is becoming more apparent every day. Inevitably, this penetration of computer technology into our private and social lives has a moral dimension, which raises questions about our conduct and requires moral reflection and decision-making. The twenty-six groundbreaking essays collected in this insightful anthology define the nature of this new moral landscape and offer thoughtful answers to the ethical questions raised by the interaction of people and computers.

Divided into five sections, the volume begins with a definition of cyberethics. There is general agreement with James H. Moor's basic definition of the field as "the formulation and justification of policies for the ethical use of computers." Next the issues of anonymity and personal identity are considered. Computers provide individuals with a unique opportunity to create personae for the virtual world that are quite distinct from their normal identities. What are the moral dimensions of creating virtual personalities?
Perhaps the most pressing ethical issue is addressed in the next section on privacy. The ability of computers to store vast amounts of information on any individual raises the harrowing specter of a Big Brother society in the not-too-distant future. How should information be used and how might it be abused? What safeguards are needed to protect privacy as information technology becomes ever more sophisticated?

In the fourth section, questions concerning ownership of intellectual property and copyright law are considered. How can the rights of authorship be protected in the context of the internet?
Finally, the fifth section explores the debate now taking place regarding the impact of computers on democracy. Do computers offer new possibilities for enhancing democracy or will this prospect turn out to be a myth?

This is a much needed anthology of thought-provoking articles on the critical moral issues facing our "brave new world."

Author Notes

Robert M. Baird is chair of the Department of Philosophy
Stuart E. Rosenbaum is professor of philosophy
Reagan Romsawer is associate dean of technology and professor in the Hankamer School of Business at Baylor University

Table of Contents

James H. MoorJames H. MoorMichael ScanlanJohn LaddDavid H. GleasonJohn M. ArtzJeroen van den HovenRob Kling and Ya-ching Lee and Al Teich and Mark S. FrankelSherry TurkleStacey EdgarMiriam SchulmanMarie A. Wright and John S. KakalikGary Gumpert and Susan J. DruckerLucas D. IntronaJames H. MoorMike GodwinDeborah G. JohnsonJames V. DeLongJ. C. DavisBeth E. KolkoDavid L. PaletzBrock N. MeeksJames E. Katz and Philip AspdenDeborah G. JohnsonLangdon WinnerBarry Fagin
Introductionp. 9
Part 1 The Moral Landscape in Cyberspacep. 21
1. What Is Computer Ethics?p. 23
2. If Aristotle Were a Computing Professionalp. 34
3. Does Computer Ethics Compute?p. 41
4. Ethics and the Computer World: A New Challenge For Philosophersp. 44
5. Subsumption Ethicsp. 56
6. Narrative versus Logical Reasoning in Computer Ethicsp. 73
7. Computer Ethics and Moral Methodologyp. 80
Part 2 Anonymity in Cyberspacep. 95
8. Anonymous Communication Policies for the Internet: Results and Recommendations of the AAAS Conference and Assessing Anonymous Communication on the Internet: Policy Deliberationsp. 97
9. Who Am We?p. 129
10. The Artificial Intelligensia and Virtual Worldsp. 142
Part 3 Privacy in Cyberspacep. 153
11. Little Brother Is Watching Youp. 155
12. The Erosion of Privacy?p. 162
13. The Demise of Privacy in a Private World: From Front Porches to Chat Roomsp. 171
14. Privacy and the Computer: Why We Need Privacy in the Information Societyp. 188
15. Toward a Theory of Privacy in the Information Agep. 200
Part 4 Property Ownership in Cyberspacep. 213
16. Wild, Wild Webp. 215
17. Should Computer Programs Be Owned?p. 222
18. Mind over Matterp. 236
19. Protecting Intellectual Property in Cyberspacep. 243
20. Intellectual Property in Synchronous and Collaborative Virtual Spacep. 257
Part 5 Communities, Citizenship, and Democracyp. 283
21. Advanced Information Technology and Political Communicationp. 285
22. Better Democracy through Technologyp. 288
23. A Nation of Strangers?p. 295
24. Is the Global Information Infrastructure a Democratic Technology?p. 304
25. Cyberlibertarian Myths and the Prospects for Communityp. 319
26. Liberty and Community Onlinep. 332
Contributorsp. 353