I need assistance with my computer ethics work. It related to the concept provided in the pdf.

Short-answer questions (pick one; 250 words):

1. What does Johnson mean by claiming that computer technologies create new
“instrumentations of human action”? Explain, defend your answer, and give an example.

2. According to Hillis, what is a “universal computer”? Explain and give an example.

3. Which of Feenberg’s views about technology and its relationship to values do you
think best explain computer technologies? Explain, defend your answer, and give an


I will accept both APA or MLA styles, however do not include a cover sheet. When
doing research, you may use sources from any periodical from the internet or other
written sources, but DO NOT use Wikipedia as a source. The sources may be from
peer-reviewed journals or popular blogs. For example, check the Science and
Technology sections from NPR, or The New York Times, etc. Other popular Tech based
sites and blogs, such as Ars-Technica or Tech Crunch, are perfectly acceptable. If you
have any questions about a specific source, please ask before using it. Please be sure
to include a bibliography or works cited for all relevant information. Always be sure to
cite your sources.

Long-answer question (500 words):

Are some computer technologies inherently political (that is, do computer artifacts have
political qualities?) Why or why not?

Drawing from the writings of Winner, Feenberg, Moor, Johnson, and Cook: explain,
defend your answer, and give an example not used in the text.


I will accept both APA or MLA styles, however do not include a cover sheet. When
doing research, you may use sources from any periodical from the internet or other
written sources, but DO NOT use Wikipedia as a source. The sources may be from
peer-reviewed journals or popular blogs. For example, check the Science and
Technology sections from NPR, or The New York Times, etc. Other popular Tech based
sites and blogs, such as Ars-Technica or Tech Crunch, are perfectly acceptable. If you
have any questions about a specific source, please ask before using it. Please be sure
to include a bibliography or works cited for all relevant information. Always be sure to
cite your sources.


What is Computer Ethics?

It is not enough that you should understand about applied science in order that
your work may increase man’s blessings. Concern for man himself and his fate
must always form the chief interest of all technical endeavors.

Albert Einstein

CEAC01 28/5/03 11:13 Page 15

CEAC01 28/5/03 11:13 Page 16

Editors’ Introduction

In the 1940s and early 1950s, the field of study that is now called “computer
ethics” was given a solid foundation by Professor Norbert Wiener of MIT.
Unhappily, Professor Wiener’s works in computer ethics were essentially
ignored for decades by other thinkers. In the 1970s and 1980s computer
ethics was recreated and redefined by thinkers who did not realize that
Wiener had already done so much work in the field. Today, more than 50
years after Wiener created computer ethics, some thinkers are still attempt-
ing to define the nature and boundaries of the subject. Let us briefly consider
five different definitions that have been developed since the 1970s.

Maner’s Definition

The name “computer ethics” was not commonly used until the mid-1970s
when Walter Maner began to use it. He defined this field of study as one
that examines “ethical problems aggravated, transformed or created by
computer technology.” Some old ethical problems, he said, were made
worse by computers, while others came into existence because of computer
technology. He suggested that we should use traditional ethical theories
of philosophers, such as the utilitarian ethics of the English philosophers
Jeremy Bentham and John Stuart Mill, or the rationalist ethics of the German
philosopher Immanuel Kant.

Johnson’s Definition

In her book, Computer Ethics (1985), Deborah Johnson said that computer
ethics studies the way in which computers “pose new versions of standard
moral problems and moral dilemmas, exacerbating the old problems, and
forcing us to apply ordinary moral norms in uncharted realms.” Like Maner

CEAC01 28/5/03 11:13 Page 17


before her, Johnson adopted the “applied philosophy” approach of using
procedures and concepts from utilitarianism and Kantianism. But, unlike
Maner, she did not believe that computers create wholly new moral prob-
lems. Rather, she thought that computers gave a “new twist” to ethical
questions that were already well known.

Moor’s Definition

In his influential article “What Is Computer Ethics?” (1985), James Moor
provided a definition of computer ethics that is much broader and more
wide-ranging than those of Maner or Johnson. It is independent of any
specific philosopher’s theory; and it is compatible with a wide variety of
approaches to ethical problem-solving. Since 1985, Moor’s definition has
been the most influential one. He defined computer ethics as a field con-
cerned with “policy vacuums” and “conceptual muddles” regarding the
social and ethical use of information technology:

A typical problem in Computer Ethics arises because the

[Lecture for the Komaba undergraduates, June, 2003]

What Is Philosophy of Technology?
Andrew Feenberg

Our subject today is philosophy of technology. I’m going to approach this subject from
two standpoints, first of all historically and then I’ll look at the contemporary options in
the field, the various different theories that are currently under discussion.

Before I begin, I would like to situate the field for you briefly. You may already have
some familiarity with philosophy of science as this is one of the most prestigious fields
of philosophy. It is concerned with the truth of science, the validity of theories and ex-
perimentation. We call these “epistemological” issues, issues in the theory of knowledge.
Science and technology share the same kind of rational thinking based on empirical ob-
servation and knowledge of natural causality, but technology is not concerned with truth
but with usefulness. Where science seeks to know, technology seeks to control. Never-
theless, there is more to the story than this simple contrast.

In traditional societies, the way of thinking of the people is formed by customs and
myths that cannot be explained or justified rationally. Traditional societies therefore
forbid certain kinds of questions which would destabilize their belief system. Modern
societies emerge from the release of the power of questioning against these traditional
forms of thought. The European Enlightenment of the 18th century demanded that all
customs and institutions justify themselves as useful for humanity. Under the impact of
this demand, science and technology become the new basis for belief. They reshape the
culture gradually to be what we think of as “rational.” Eventually, technology becomes
omnipresent in everyday life and technical modes of thought predominate over all oth-
ers. In a mature modern society such as Japan, technology is taken for granted much as
were the customs and myths of the earlier traditional society. One might say that
scientific-technical rationality has become a new culture.

This culture is clearly “useful” in all its details in the sense the Enlightenment de-
manded, but it is now so all encompassing that larger questions can be asked about its
value and viability as a whole. We can judge it as more or less worthy, more or less ethi-
cally justified, more or less fulfilling. Modernity itself authorizes, even demands such
judgment. This is how it came into being. Now we have moved beyond usefulness in the
narrow sense to the question of the kind of world and the way of life that emerges in a
modern society. Insofar as such a society is technological at its basis, the issues raised in
this larger questioning concern the field of philosophy of technology. We need to under-
stand ourselves today in the midst of technology and technical knowledge itself cannot
help us. Philosophy of technology belongs to the self-awareness of a society like ours. It
teaches us to reflect on what

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What Is Computer Ethics?

Article  in  Metaphilosophy · August 2007

DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9973.1985.tb00173.x





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The Simple Ideas That
Make Computers Work


‘, <, I E N r;e) s rE'- ., CHAPTER I NUTS AND BOLTS When I was a child, I read a story about a boy who built a robot out of parts he found lying around a junkyard. The boy's robot could move, talk, and think, just like a person, and it became his friend. For some reason, I found the idea of build­ ing a robot very appealing, so I decided to build one myself. I remember collecting body parts-tubes for the arms and legs, motors for the muscles, lightbulbs for the eyes, and a big paint can for the head-in the full and optimistic expectation that after they were assembled and the contraption was plugged in, I would end up with a working mechanical man. After nearly electrocuting myself a few times, I began to get my parts to move, light up, and make noises. I felt I was making progress. I began to understand how to construct movable joints for the arms and legs. But something even more important was beginning to dawn on me: I didn't have the slightest idea how to control the motors and the lights, and I realized that something was missing in my knowledge of how robots worked. I now have a name for what was miss­ ing: it's called computation. Back then, I called it "thinking," and I saw that I didn't have a clue about how to get some­ thing to think. It seems obvious to me now that computation is the hardest part of building a mechanical man, but as a child this came as a surprise. 2 THE PATTERN ON THE STONE BOOLEAN LOGIC .............. ········ Fortunately, the first book I ever rea d on the subject of com­ putation was a classic. My father w as an epidemiologist, and we were living in Calcutta at the tim e. Books in English were hard to come by, but in the library of the British consulate I found a dusty copy of a book wri tten by the nineteenth­ century logician George Boole. The title of the book was what attracted me: An Investigation of the Laws of Thought . This grabbed my imagination. Could there really be laws that governed thought? In the book, Bo ole tried to reduce the logic of human thought to mathe matical operations. Al­ though he did not really explain human thinking, Boole demonstrated the surprising power and generality of a few simple types of logical operations. He invented a language for describing and manipulating logical statements and determining whether or not they a re true. The language is now called Boolean algebra. Boolean algebra is similar to the a lgebra you learned in high school, except that the variable s in the equations repre­ sent logic statements instead of nu mbers. Boole's variables stand for propositions that are eithe r true or false, and the symbols ", v, and .., represent the log ical operations And, Or, and Not. For example, See discussions, stats, and author profiles for this publication at: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/226328771 Design and Responsibility: The Interdependence of Natural, Artifactual, and Human Systems Chapter · December 2007 DOI: 10.1007/978-1-4020-6591-0_20 CITATIONS 6 READS 101 1 author: S. D. Noam Cook San Jose State University 10 PUBLICATIONS 2,342 CITATIONS SEE PROFILE Available from: S. D. Noam Cook Retrieved on: 02 September 2016 https://www.researchgate.net/publication/226328771_Design_and_Responsibility_The_Interdependence_of_Natural_Artifactual_and_Human_Systems?enrichId=rgreq-e8f1cdc4192385e2bd6bbee521ccdae4-XXX&enrichSource=Y292ZXJQYWdlOzIyNjMyODc3MTtBUzo5OTQ3MTE0NDc4Mzg5MUAxNDAwNzI3MTc4NzQy&el=1_x_2 https://www.researchgate.net/publication/226328771_Design_and_Responsibility_The_Interdependence_of_Natural_Artifactual_and_Human_Systems?enrichId=rgreq-e8f1cdc4192385e2bd6bbee521ccdae4-XXX&enrichSource=Y292ZXJQYWdlOzIyNjMyODc3MTtBUzo5OTQ3MTE0NDc4Mzg5MUAxNDAwNzI3MTc4NzQy&el=1_x_3 https://www.researchgate.net/?enrichId=rgreq-e8f1cdc4192385e2bd6bbee521ccdae4-XXX&enrichSource=Y292ZXJQYWdlOzIyNjMyODc3MTtBUzo5OTQ3MTE0NDc4Mzg5MUAxNDAwNzI3MTc4NzQy&el=1_x_1 https://www.researchgate.net/profile/S_D_Noam_Cook?enrichId=rgreq-e8f1cdc4192385e2bd6bbee521ccdae4-XXX&enrichSource=Y292ZXJQYWdlOzIyNjMyODc3MTtBUzo5OTQ3MTE0NDc4Mzg5MUAxNDAwNzI3MTc4NzQy&el=1_x_4 https://www.researchgate.net/profile/S_D_Noam_Cook?enrichId=rgreq-e8f1cdc4192385e2bd6bbee521ccdae4-XXX&enrichSource=Y292ZXJQYWdlOzIyNjMyODc3MTtBUzo5OTQ3MTE0NDc4Mzg5MUAxNDAwNzI3MTc4NzQy&el=1_x_5 https://www.researchgate.net/institution/San_Jose_State_University?enrichId=rgreq-e8f1cdc4192385e2bd6bbee521ccdae4-XXX&enrichSource=Y292ZXJQYWdlOzIyNjMyODc3MTtBUzo5OTQ3MTE0NDc4Mzg5MUAxNDAwNzI3MTc4NzQy&el=1_x_6 https://www.researchgate.net/profile/S_D_Noam_Cook?enrichId=rgreq-e8f1cdc4192385e2bd6bbee521ccdae4-XXX&enrichSource=Y292ZXJQYWdlOzIyNjMyODc3MTtBUzo5OTQ3MTE0NDc4Mzg5MUAxNDAwNzI3MTc4NzQy&el=1_x_7

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