The term ‘information’ could be approached from various cemented positions of the different disciplines. It should be noted that in the earlier course of history, we could not devise a significant number of instruments to generate, store and disseminate the information. However, at the current epoch of humanity, we are living in an interconnected world enabled by the information and communication technologies (ICTs). ICTs are actually creating a new informational environment, which deepens the roots of Network Society suggests Manuel Castells (1995). Michael Vlahos (1998) contends about the arrival of Infosphere. Drucker (1993) posits in his book entitled Post-Capitalist Society that we have entered into the age of Knowledge Society, wherein knowledge has become a new economic resource. Karamjit S. Gill (1996) and Daniel Bell (1995) also pointed out towards the Post-industrial prospects of the information society. Oxford philosopher, Luciano Floridi has referred to it as Fourth Revolution (2014), which is changing every sphere of our lives at the great accelerating pace. He further argues that we have arrived at the Hyper-historical age, wherein history is written online. Time has, therefore, come to discuss the bunch of issues pertaining to the design which includes ethical, social, economic and political aspects of information. It seems irrelevant to complain about the scarcity of instruments and means to codify the entire process of information from production to dissemination in the age of information revolution.
Study of ‘information’ has received a considerable amount of attention in the domain of science, not in philosophy. However, philosophical responses to the information took a great deal of time to realize the magnitude of ‘information’ within the ambit of philosophy. Philosophers have started engaging themselves in the discourse of information. Zenith of availed information mediated through the information and communication technologies (ICTs) has created a sizeable vacuum for conceptual engineering. Therefore, the philosophy of information has emerged as an increasingly urgent area of analysis and debate. It’s a trans-disciplinary subject. In the late 1950s, after the philosophical invasion of ‘information’ many prominent thinkers put forth their deliberations of thoughts systematically to offer the theoretical and conceptual settings to justify the demand for a new discipline. In forecasting the new scheme, a galaxy of philosophers, Luciano Floridi (Infosphere) Bynum and Moor, Dretske (Semantic Information), Jela Steinerova (Information Ecology) Wu Kun, (Metaphilosophy of Information and Information Ontology), P. Frey (Cultural-relativistic Account of Information Ethics), Rafael Capurro (Intercultural Information Ethics) and Soraj Hongladarom (Online Self & Information Ethics) have played a central role in envisioning the ontological, epistemological, logical and ethical facets of the information. However, in this short article, I will restrict my inquiry to make a comprehensive attempt to explore the ethical debates, conflicts, and dilemmas generated in the information society.
Ethics of information could be observed in details into two categories; normative ethics and meta-ethics. Debates in information ethics do pose questions of normative ethics and Meta-ethics. Issues are about how one should behave (Normative Ethics) and how right and wrong should be defined when information and its dynamics are considered (Meta-ethics). Information ethics further aims to initiate the investigation concerning the plethora of questions such as; why land ethics, professional ethics, and environmental ethics could not develop momentous tools to offer sufficient substantial solutions to the newly emerging informational problems in information society?. In my research, I will try to delve into all the possible mechanism to identify, illustrate and address some of the above maintained ethical concerns to foster a just, conducive, and inclusive information society.
Mohd Irshad is a PhD scholar and Assistant professor at Department of Philosophy, Indraprastha College for Women, University of Delhi.