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Friday, August 14, 2015

Distributed Morality in an Information Society

Luciano Floridi
Sci Eng Ethics (2013) 19:727–743
DOI 10.1007/s11948-012-9413-4


The phenomenon of distributed knowledge is well-known in epistemic logic. In this paper, a similar phenomenon in ethics, somewhat neglected so far, is investigated, namely distributed morality. The article explains the nature of distributed morality, as a feature of moral agency, and explores the implications of its occurrence in advanced information societies. In the course of the analysis, the concept of infraethics is introduced, in order to refer to the ensemble of moral enablers, which, although morally neutral per se, can significantly facilitate or hinder both positive and negative moral behaviours.

Here is an excerpt from the conclusion:

The conclusion is that an information society is a better society if it can implement an array of moral enablers, an infraethics that is, that can support and facilitate the right sort of DM, while preventing the occurrence and strengthening of moral hinderers. Agents (including, most importantly, the State) are better agents insofar as they not only take advantage of, but also foster the right kind of moral facilitation properly geared to the right kind of distributed morality. It is a complicated scenario, but refusing to acknowledge it will not make it go away.

The entire paper is here.
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