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An Eco-Cognitive Perspective on the Philosophy of Information Knowledge as a Duty
1  Department of Humanities, Philosophy Section and Computational Philosophy Laboratory, University of Pavia, Pavia, Italy


The second half of the 20th century has seen the rapid growth of information science, technology, and engineering that amounts to a social and technological revolution. These new trends have generated huge changes in several areas of human life, not only in western societies. I think that in this new age of information civilization the problem of the relationships between information and knowledge has to be readdressed. In this perspective the new challenges related to the generation, distribution, exploitation of information and knowledge have to be seriously seen in the light of their political, economical, educational, cultural, and moral consequences. In my opinion, it is especially in the framework of a study taking advantage of an eco-cognitive perspective that we can reach interesting results, as I have tried to illustrate in my Morality in a Technological World. Knowledge as Duty: the technological advances generated by information science, technology, and engineering of contemporary society have outpaced our moral understanding of the problems that they create and have brought about consequences of such magnitude that old policies and ethics can no longer contain them. I believe that producing, distributing, and applying recalibrated information as appropriate knowledge endowed with optimal and prosperous outcomes has become a duty, one that is just as important as making scientific or medical advances. I contend that to manage these challenges and counter many of information technology’s ill effects is essential to preserve ownership of our own destinies, encouraging responsibility, and enhancing freedom. I will also discuss how objects, structures, and technological artifacts which carry information and knowledge and at the same time also serve, often implicitly, as moral carriers and mediators.

Keywords: Technology, morality, duty, knowledge, moral mediators