During May 2017 the second project meeting of Information Ethics Systems Approaches took place in Vienna. Besides Tomáš Sigmund and Wolfgang Hofkirchner, the following researchers participated: Annette Grathoff, Renate Quehenberger, Stefan Strauß, Liang Wang and Tianqi Wu.
Privacy dominated the list of topics. Sigmund explored the possibility to reconcile the current empirical, behavioural approach to privacy with rather theoretical accounts as those of Nissenbaum or Solve (see here). Wang focused on the different framing of privacy with current philosophers of information whose ideas are rooted in an occidental perspective, on the one hand, and within Chinese culture, on the other. Special attention was given to Charles Ess (see here). Strauß reported about his dissertation project aiming at design recommendations for dealing with privacy problems in the European Union. Thereby he used the model of metasystem transition to describe the development of the digitalisation.
Hofkirchner presented an attempt to bring together the objective side of social systems functions and the subjective side of how actors value those functions by the construction of moral information (see here). Grathoff underpinned the human ability to deal with information by the evolutionary account of information from physics to sociology. An interpretation of the biotic evolution as “survival of the fittest” is outdated, as it does not do justice to the acknowledgement of co-operation as driver of evolution (download here).
In the context of designing digital applications according to ethical responsibility, reference was made to a talk on Ivan Illich’s concept of conviviality, which can fit systems approaches (Cristina Voinea at the Oxford Uehiro Centre for Practical Ethics in 2016).