Ethical Reflection on Virtual world: Understanding Theorization of Ethics in Online Space


This research paper tries to address new ethical issues and challenges arising in this virtual environment and reflects the new way of understanding ethical paradigmatic shift in communication to build respect, inclusiveness in digitized future. This information revolution of web 2.0 has re-ontologized the real physical world into a virtual world. Atfirst, this theoretical paper first tries to understand the differentiation between ‘real’ and ‘virtual’ world through the lens of Baudrillard and Weitheim using such concepts like “situated embodiment”, “bodily experience” and “third state of consciousness”, which helps to understand the nature of occurring ethical issues. The social, economical and political structural dimensions of human society have been profoundly changed due to the formation of information society, in which information has become new capital and communication has become new driver of society. The experiences of humankind in digital virtual reality come under the enquiry of ethics, as it affects the understanding of life and the system of human interaction. I discuss the ‘ethics related with the body’ through Le¨vinas’s concern on “modes of mediation”. I talk about the ethical issues related to the extent of virtual engagement and constructed mythical structure of violence and power in the light of Turkle (1997) and Hillis (1999) respectively. This article also tries to trace the changing scholastic traditions from Wiener’s “Cybernetics” (1961) to Floridi’s “Information ethics” (2008) via Aristotle’s “Nicomachean Ethics” (1982) and others. Plaisance’s (2013) suggestion for neo-Aristotelian virtue theory of Philippa Foot to the “flourishing” of digital lives through behaviours and guidelines is also mentioned in the relevance to the concept of building digital communities. I ascertain the suitability of Floridi’s information ethics (2008) approach and its application to address the ethical issues in the rest of this research article and discuss its significance to design the new 2.0 ethics for digital society in future.