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Issue No 001

Vol. 1 - June 2004
Information Ethics

Introduction is the theme woven into our first issue: introduction into the subject, the agents and the ambience.

  • In his "Position Paper" Rafael Capurro introduces into the state of the discussion on information ethics in Germany.
  • Following Wittgenstein (where Wittgenstein never would have gone himself), Felix Weil wants to introduce with his contribution the notion of 'use' into ethics – into information ethics in particular.
  • Thomas Hausmanninger asks the question "Controlling the Net: Pragmatic Action or Ethics Needed?" and argues to take the ethical approach to the problems concerned.

Thus having introduced ourselves we comply with our standards set for the journal and invite for the international discourse within IJIE:

  • Shifra Baruchson from Israel elaborates on the relationship of "Printed Versus Internet Plagiarism" and proves that information is not equal to information but strongly depends on its media.
  • Tadashi Takenouchi from Tokyo University in Japan familiarizes with Rafael "Capurro's Hermeneutic Approach to Information Ethics" and finds some interesting interactions with Japanese thought patterns.

We hope that all ICIE members, contributors and readers of this journal will appreciate the IJIE as a tool for their research and/or practice. We will do our best to enhance this platform continuously by providing new features supporting the journal’s objectives. Any ideas or suggestions for improvement are highly welcome.

Rafael Capurro (Editor in Chief),
Thomas Hausmanninger and Felix Weil

Full Journal
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Editorial: On IJIE
Language: English
pdf-fulltext (340 KB)

Informationsethik – Eine Standortbestimmung
by Rafael Capurro
Language: German
abstract:   Information Ethics – A Position Paper
The paper describes some of the main ethical challenges of information society as currently discussed within the framework of the World Summit on the Information Society. It addresses the question of ‘what is information ethics?’ under a twofold perspective. In a large sense information ethics is said to deal with ethical questions related to all kinds of digital phenomena including all non-digital but digitalized or digitalizable phenomena. In a narrower sense information ethics deals with ethical questions of human communication within a digital environment. A non-metaphysical foundation of information ethics in the narrower sense (‘nethics’ or Internet ethics) is given. Curricula targets are briefly outlined.
pdf-fulltext (260 KB)

Von der Ethik des Mediengebrauchs zu einer 'brauchbaren' Medienethik
by Felix Weil
Language: German
abstract:   From the Ethical Use of the Media to a 'useful' Media Ethics
Without knowing the rules of the game in a specific area qualified ethical decisions within are simply not possible. Therefore, a fundamental understanding of the phenomenon 'media' is a prerequisite for the ‘usablity’ of any media ethics. This understanding of the very basis of media is introduced by the notion of space: media is the space where the presentation of something is possible – formally that space fulfils the criteria of a Hilbert space; more common is this concept in the notion of cyberspace e.g.. As presentations (in a real as well as in a Hilbert space) do not exist separated from each other but are (more or less) connected, are linked, thus acting in the media can be understood as moving in the space of communication, following the links. This understanding leads to fundamentally new ethical categories: media ethic is the challenge of ethically designing the communicative space. The appropriate ethical approach for this task can be found in Wittgenstein's notion of 'use'. That overcomes the 'blind' application of ethical norms to categorical distinctive descriptions, which is very common through the term 'applied ethics' though it can be easily proved as aporetic. The investigation in what the ethical 'ought' basically could mean shows that there is no normative meaning without a descriptive context: 'to ought' always means 'to ought' in a certain situation, be it more common or more specific. Ethically right then means: one can decide on the basis of good reasons to do the right in this or that situation. And ethics finally is the quest to categorize, structure and systemize these right decisions by the means of creating a comprehensive theory. These are the limits and the dignity of ethics as a scientific scholarship and media ethics in particular.
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Controlling the Net: Pragmatic Actions or Ethics Needed?
by Thomas Hausmanninger
Language: English
Do we need global ethics for the net? Is it even possible to put these into the form of a universal agreement, embodying the necessary rules and principles in an all-encompassing code of conduct? Or will any such endeavors simply shatter on the differences of cultures? Ought they be labeled as sort of attempted imperialism, more subtle perhaps in comparison with other forms of cultural imperialism—but nevertheless an attempt of such? If so, then ethical concepts need to be restricted to territorially or ethnically specific realms. In that case, the quest for Net-Ethics could perhaps be substituted by pragmatic actions: instruments of control that are simply technical and formal, devoid of moral input and moral convictions. Such a viewpoint has been offered lately in the form of a concept by the Bertelsmann Foundation, which combines rating and filtering instruments with a social lattice-work of net-supervision and transnational combinations of institutions of control. That concept indeed has its charm. It has its problems too; problems that can be made obvious from an ethical viewpoint and which counter the notion, that it is possible to supplant moral instances with pragmatic action. The text therefore reconstructs the concept in question, criticizes it and attempts to sketch an ethical approach to the problem that respects diversity and plurality.
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Printed Versus Internet Plagiarism: A Study of Students' Perception
by Shifra Baruchson-Arbib and Eti Yaari
Language: English
Recent studies have shown a growing tendency among students to commit plagiarism, especially from online information sources. This unpleasant phenomenon has a far- reaching impact on both the scientific world and the information society. The present study aimed to examine students' perceptions toward acts of plagiarism, in order to explore whether plagiarism from internet sources is perceived differently than plagiarism from printed sources. Findings of the present study indicate that students perceive plagiarism offences from online sources as significantly less dishonest than similar offences using printed sources. Possible implications of these findings are discussed and several conclusions are noted. Analysis of these findings from a broad perspective highlights the essential need to address ethical issues concerning uses of both online and offline information sources.
pdf-fulltext (270 KB)

Capurro's Hermeneutic Approach to Information Ethics: Ethos in the Information Society and the Development of "angeletics"
by Tadashi Takenouchi
Language: English
Rafael Capurro is one of the pioneers of the hermeneutic approach to information studies, especially with regard to ethical issues. One of the main goals of his study is to understand "ethos" in the information society. Capurro's ideas concerning the information technology are different from those of Dreyfus although they both have hermeneutic viewpoints. The scope of his study is widened in his latest study named "angeletics" which means "message studies." Angeletics, hermeneutics, and mediology are complementary to each other. Capurro's idea concerning ethics in the information age is based on "technologies of the self" which are not "act-oriented" but "self-oriented." It is also expected that interactions between Capurro and Japanese thought patterns produce some important contributions to information ethics.
pdf-fulltext (260 KB)


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