The Internet: A Philosophical Inquiry

Front Cover
Psychology Press, 1999 - Computers - 179 pages
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The Internet: A Philosophical Inquiry develops many of the themes Gordon Graham presented in his highly successful radio series, The Silicon Society. Exploring the tensions between the warnings of the Neo-Luddites and the bright optimism of the Technophiles, Graham offers the first concise and accessible exploration of the issues which arise as we enter further into the world of Cyberspace.
This original and fascinating study takes us to the heart of questions that none of us can afford to ignore: how does the Internet affect our concepts of identity, moral anarchy, censorship, community, democracy, virtual reality and imagination?
Free of jargon and full of stimulating ideas, this is essential reading for anyone wishing to think clearly and informatively about the complexities of our technological future.
  

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Contents

NeoLuddites versus Technophiles
6
Technophilia
9
Critical realism about technology
14
Surveying the issues
16
The radically new and the merely novel how transformative is the Internet?
21
The nature of the Internet
22
The radically new and the merely novel
24
using the Marxist model
27
The internationalism and populism of the Internet
86
Knowledge and information
89
Knowledge as power
93
Freedom and reason
95
Moral anarchy and the Internet
99
Policing the Internet
103
Pornography and harm
105
Licensing and labelling
107

Television as a test case
31
Will the Internet transform?
37
The Faustian bargain assessing the value of technology
39
Technology as the servant of desire
41
The constitution of the problematic
45
Means and ends
47
Costbenefit analysis
50
The useful and the valuable
52
Moral freedom and political neutrality
56
The Internet as democracy
62
The advantages of email and the power of the web page
66
The value of democracy
71
Power to the people?
75
The Internet and the deficiencies of democracy
77
The Internet as anarchy
84
The morality of pornography
115
Pornography and legality
121
New communities
128
Liberalism versus communitarianism
136
The potential for electronic communities
141
MUDS MOOS and GeoCities
146
Virtual reality the future of cyberspace
151
The virtual and the real thing
154
Virtual as a kind of reality
158
Virtual achievements
160
The poverty of cyberspace
164
Conclusion
167
Bibliography
170
Index
174
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About the author (1999)

Gordon Graham is Regius Professor of Moral Philosophy at the University of Aberdeen and Director of the Aberdeen Centre fro Philosophy, Technology and Science. He is also the author of Philosophy of the Arts (Routledge 1997) and The Shape of the Past (Oxford University Press 1997)

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