A normative framework for sharing information online

In Carissa Véliz (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Digital Ethics. Oxford University Press (2023)
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Abstract

People have always shared information through chains and networks of testimony. It’s arguably part of what makes us human and enables us to live in cooperative communities with populations greater than the Dunbar number. The invention of the Internet and the rise of social media have turbo-charged our ability to share information. In this chapter, we develop a normative framework for sharing information online. This framework takes into account both ethical and epistemic considerations that are intertwined in typical cases of online testimony. We argue that, while the current state of affairs is not entirely novel, recent technological developments call for a rethinking of the norms of testimony, as well as the articulation of a set of virtuous dispositions that people would do well to cultivate in the capacity as conduits (not just sources or receivers) of information.

Author Profiles

Emily Sullivan
Utrecht University
Mark Alfano
Macquarie University

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