Foundational Questions About Values in Information Technology

  • Fiorella Battaglia Ludwig-Maximilians_Universität
Keywords: values, moral theory, bias, conformism, information technology, ideal and non-ideal theory


In the contemporary debate about values, information technology constitutes an important source of hard ethical questions and in turn is a testing area for the moral theory of values. Values are difficult to track down and yet there are a number of inquiries starting from economics, social psychology, ethics, and political theory that engage with the cognitive, epistemic, and moral status of values. This paper is a contribution to an account of values in connection with information technology. It argues that information technology may provide further support to a theory of values that is able to embrace the transformative effects of the digital revolution. In particular, it is plausible that a non-ideal reflection on digital wrongdoings is better equipped to produce substantive knowledge about values that have been undermined than a different approach focused on ideal guiding values. Moreover, information technology overcomes the vaunted fact/value dichotomy and supports the fact/value entanglement. As the principal concern of data-mining and machine-learning communities are ways of remedying a remarkable number of biases and conformism in techno-social systems, it is within the bounds of possibility to supplement the non-ideal theory from this new practical angle. I therefore call for a fully conceptual consideration of values drawing on the experience and reflection that is growing in the field of  information technology.

How to Cite
Battaglia, F. (2023). Foundational Questions About Values in Information Technology. HUMANA.MENTE Journal of Philosophical Studies, 16(44), 207-229. Retrieved from