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HU 341 Moral Literacy and Moral Choices Term Paper Moral aspects of Technology Motivation: It might appear strange that while our synopsis and the presentation dealt primarily with Communication, especially personal communication as applied to the special case of mobile communication, this term paper deals with the idea of technology as a whole. However, it can be justified on the grounds that what is true for one technology will in essence be true for others as well, hence it is better to deal with the idea of technology in general and then apply the resulting principles to any technology. The motivation for this term paper was a very interesting question which was raised during the presentation. However I would give a brief overview of the presentation before I go into that. Our presentation basically dealt with the idea of personal communication and the moral issued implicated by it as applied to the special case of mobile phones. We began by defining the idea of personal communication and then went on to explore the various moral theories related to technology in general. The biggest question in front of us was, is it the use of a technology which defines its moral worth, or is there something inherent to the technology itself which is good or bad. The first school of thought was propounded by those philosophers who believe that it would be inappropriate to ?make technological instruments the scapegoats for those who wield them?. The second school of thought was proposed by those philosophers who believed that there is something inherent to any technology itself which was of consequence. According to them, the message itself is either irrelevant or unimportant. The most prominent philosopher in this regard was Marshall McLuhan (1911-1980). In his book, ?Medium is the Message,? McLuhan suggested that ?the social and personal consequences of any medium??.result from the new scale that is introduced into our affairs by any new technology.? He suggested that the manner in which a technology influences us has nothing to do with the manner in which it is used, but only on the nature of this technology. He claimed that for long have we ignored the nature of the medium in our analysis of the impact of technology. In a latter part of our presentation, the ideas of Jean Baudrillard were dealt with. Baudrillard (1929- ) is a postmodern thinker who in his book, ?the Ecstasy of Communication?, deals with the negative aspects of communication. He considers excess of communication to be vulgar in the same sense that overexposure or nudity is obscene. He gives the analogy of something being obscene when depicted in a very raw form, for
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example a nude human figure, and then extends this analogy to communication. Baudrillard also claims that today all of us live in transparent bubbles which provide us our personal space, but being transparent they have change the idea of privacy. ?To each his own bubble, that is the law today.?
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