Epistemic Value Theory and the Digital Divide
INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY AND SOCIAL JUSTICE, Emma Rooksby and John Weckert, eds., Idea Group, pp. 29-46, 2007
GLOBAL INFORMATION TECHNOLOGIES: CONCEPTS, METHODOLOGIES, TOOLS, AND APPLICATIONS, Felix B. Tan, ed., Information Science Reference, pp. 3091-3104, 2008
33 Pages Posted: 18 Nov 2009
Date Written: November 10, 2007
The digital divide refers to inequalities in access to information technology. Those people who do not have access to information technology are at a significant economic and social disadvantage. As with any other policy decision, in order to evaluate policies for dealing with the digital divide, we need to know exactly what our goal should be. Since the principal value of access to information technology is that it leads to knowledge, work in epistemology can help us to clarify our goal in the context of the digital divide. In this paper, I argue that epistemic value theory can help us to determine which distribution of knowledge to aim for. Epistemic value theory cannot specify a particular distribution to aim for, but it can significantly narrow down the range of possibilities. Additionally, I indicate how the exercise of applying epistemic value theory to the case of the digital divide furthers work in epistemology.
Keywords: Digital Divide, Epistemology, Equality of Access, Information Ethics, Knowledge Acquisition, Value of Information
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