Notes for Walter Maner “Unique Ethical Problems in Information Technology”

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Curious question whether logically equivalent ethical issues would have emerged otherwise in a society in which the particular computer technology we call our own had not been invented; to question it is to study the schematism of perceptibility of technological media Kittler inveighs us to consider, thus taking a philosophy of computing position, as we also choose between proprietary, commercial and private, floss personal systems. This is when the original reference to Maner was made, though, it was year ago.

I raise the point that the ethical question whether to program realizing we do it whether we know we are doing it is unique in the sense that doing other things seldom incites us to wonder whether we should spend five years studying it: this is the shaking off of studying everything sensed by Plato, via Socrates in Phaedrus, leading to the famous Socratic maxim know thyself, remediated today by learning about computers as the best we to study the soul, and also the body.

Look at how machines fail as analogies to ways human bodies fail, such as poor conduction in power circuits due to high resistance, the concept of resistance and current in wires and blood in flesh; leverage focus on embodiment in digital humanities theory and scholarship, especially when focusing on texts and technology, how embodiment matters, is philosophized, and artfully interpreted (Greek poeisis differentiated from second order, deliberately initially fore thought and with mastery internalized, archiving as well as producing, practices).

Perhaps Maner did not think of the important self-involving ethical question of whether to practice programming, or how computers resemble writing as pharmaka, relating them to ancient ethical arguments. Kittler cautions drawing such simple conclusions; that Turkles work exists, and a generation of Americans were taught to use computers and program them in public schools, and for that movement to recede, seems sufficient evidence that ethical questions regarding computers were not thoroughly considered by philosophers; that Deborah Johnson mentions Maner in two consecutive editions of Computer Ethics sharpens how these philosophical texts cross our system, and it is also instructive to compare the cover artwork of these editions to see how they symbolize human machine symbiosis.

(137) ABSTRACT: . . . Computer ethics is an academic field in its own right with unique ethical issues that would not have existed if computer technology had not been invented. . . . At the very least, they have been so transformed by computing technology that their altered form demands special attention.


Maner, Walter. "Unique Ethical Problems In Information Technology." Science And Engineering Ethics 2.2 (1996): 137-154. Philosopher's Index. Web. 17 Apr. 2013.