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Vol. 26 - September 2017
Information Ethics from a Marxian Perspective
With his concept of Sittlichkeit, Hegel posited that the manifestation of a truly ethical life must be grounded in the concrete foundation of ethical institutions. But for Hegel, the creation and support of such institutions was not the task of philosophy. While Marx didn't specifically mention Hegel's concept, he noted that bourgeois society would not have produced (or could ever produce) such institutions. He also disagreed with Hegel that philosophy should be separated from the creation and advocacy of ethical institutions. On the contrary, Marx proposed a paradigm change that instead gave primacy to praxis (the dialectical articulation of theory and practice) over pure theory. After all, what is the purpose of ethics if not to guide the process of human praxis? For Aristotle, the point of ethics as a philosophical discipline is not only to know good but to do it. The same could be said about Marxian ethics, implicit in the famous 11th thesis on Feuerbach, which states "Philosophers have hitherto only interpreted the world in various ways; the point is to change it." But in what sense should this change take place? Toward the goal of eliminating the alienation, exploitation, and reification of men and women as the only way to ensure, theoretically and practically, the emergence of a real, true Sittlichkeit
Bearing this in mind, it is here posited that the question of information ethics stands privileged as one of the most urgent theoretical and practical questions of our time. Because capitalism continues to be, more than ever, structured on foundations that enforce unequal access to information and to the literacy skills needed to engage information, no serious egalitarian knowledge of the world or critical worldview can yet be formed. Information is yet the core element of power maintenance in a bourgeois society, affecting scientific, industrial, financial, commercial, political, military, and cultural sorts of information. As such, widespread abuses are perpetuated through information control; lies, monopolies, biased corporate and state-influenced media, ubiquitous spying by governments on citizens and control of the means of production and circulation of information. Nevertheless, the proliferation of the Internet, with its tendency toward free information flows within both commercial and public medias, furnishes vast opportunities for information access through open search tools and unfettered communication channels, allowing new means of overcoming alienation and exploitation.
Dr. Marco Schneider (Communicating Guest Editor)
Tenured Researcher at Brazilian Institute for Information in Science and Technology, IBICT. Professor, Information Science Graduation Program, IBICT/Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, UFRJ and Communication Department at Fluminense Federal University, UFF.
Dr. Ricardo M. Pimenta
Tenured Researcher at Brazilian Institute for Information in Science and Technology, IBICT. Professor, Information Science Graduation Program, IBICT/Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, UFRJ.
For further information, especially on how to submit a paper, please refer to: Information Ethics from a Marxian Perspective - Call for Papers cfp-pdf-fulltext (30 KB)
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