345-HSB-VA, Ethical Issues in Cyberspace
Computer technologies permeate our everyday lives. Even the quickest, simplest survey of daily experience proves laden with digitally based instruments and information. This overwhelming use of computer technologies in our society gives rise to many ethical dilemmas: Should we be allowed to freely copy software and download music or should these products be protected by copyright? Should censorship be applied to the Internet, and if so, what should be censored? Should computers be permitted to take the place of humans in the workforce and in our daily lives? Are people entitled to make whatever use they like of information they gain by means of computers, and who should have access to what information? Is there reason to be worried about biometrics, artificial intelligence, or digital implants? Are employers entitled to read the e-mails of their employees? The objective of this course is to address some of these questions in order to begin to understand and evaluate some of the social and ethical issues raised by the pervasiveness of todayís computer technologies. In addition to addressing the above topics, this course will also introduce you to the ethical theories of Utilitarianism and Kantís Moral Theory and assist you in developing the following skills: - the capacity for active and reflective reading - the capacity for clear and complete note-taking - the capacity for the development of good written and oral English communication - the capacity for conducting independent research - the capacity for evaluating and creatively synthesizing information