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Information Resources Management Association
Advancing the Concepts & Practices of Information Resources Management in Modern Organizations

Is Information Ethics Culture-Relative?

Is Information Ethics Culture-Relative?
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Author(s): Philip Brey (University of Twente, The Netherlands)
Copyright: 2009
Pages: 14
Source title: Selected Readings on the Human Side of Information Technology
Source Author(s)/Editor(s): Edward J. Szewczak (Canisius College, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-088-2.ch003


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In this article, I examine whether information ethics is culture relative. If it is, different approaches to information ethics are required in different cultures and societies. This would have major implications for the current, predominantly Western approach to information ethics. If it is not, there must be concepts and principles of information ethics that have universal validity. What would they be? The descriptive evidence is for the cultural relativity of information ethics will be studied by examining cultural differences between ethical attitudes towards privacy, freedom of information, and intellectual property rights in Western and non-Western cultures. I then analyze what the implications of these findings are for the metaethical question of whether moral claims must be justified differently in different cultures. Finally, I evaluate what the implications are for the practice of information ethics in a cross-cultural context.

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