War, Health, & Ecosystem: Generative Metaphors in Cybersecurity Governance

Slupska, Julia, War, Health, & Ecosystem: Generative Metaphors in Cybersecurity Governance. Philosophy & Technology, 2020 Forthcoming

30 Pages Posted: 16 Mar 2020

Date Written: February 8, 2020

Abstract

Policy-makers involved in cybersecurity governance should pay close attention to the “generative metaphors” they use to describe and understand new technologies. Generative metaphors structure our understanding of policy problems by imposing mental models of both the problem and possible solutions. As a result, they can also constrain ethical reasoning about new technologies, by uncritically carrying over assumptions about moral roles and obligations from an existing domain. The discussion of global governance of cybersecurity problems has to date been dominated by the metaphor of “cyber war”. In this paper, I argue that this metaphor diminishes possibilities for international collaboration in this area by limiting states to reactive policies of naming and shaming rather than proactive actions to address systemic features of cyberspace. I suggest that alternative metaphors – such as health, ecosystem, and architecture – can help expose the dominance of the war metaphor and provide a more collaborative and conceptually accurate frame for negotiations.

Keywords: cyber norms, cybersecurity, governance, conceptual metaphors, generative metaphors, cyber war

Suggested Citation

Slupska, Julia, War, Health, & Ecosystem: Generative Metaphors in Cybersecurity Governance (February 8, 2020). Slupska, Julia, War, Health, & Ecosystem: Generative Metaphors in Cybersecurity Governance. Philosophy & Technology, 2020 Forthcoming, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3534579

Julia Slupska (Contact Author)

Oxford Internet Institute ( email )

1 St. Giles
University of Oxford
Oxford OX1 3PG Oxfordshire, Oxfordshire OX1 3JS
United Kingdom

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