Academic Degrees, Awards and Professional Experience
Máximo, Universidad del Salvador,
of Philosophy, Stuttgart University
Advisor of the Institute
of Philosophy & Technology
International Society for Ethics and Information Technology
International Center for Information Ethics (ICIE)
IS4SI Summit 2023
Beijing 14-18 August 2023
Forum on Information Philosophy
Aug. 14, 13.30 - 15.00
Chair: Kun Wu Venue: Rm 213, EM Building.
Zoom ID: 948 6644 1538
 Techno-social Systems – a Value-based Model for Digitalization Wolfgang Hofkirchner
 On Middles and Thirds
Joseph E. Brenner (on-line)
 Methodology of Information Study
Marcin J. Schroeder (on-line)
 Take Your Time! -- Smart Systems in the Digital Age
Rafael Capurro (on-line)
 The Information Paradigm, Spanning All Levels of Human Knowledge
 A Receptive Relation Understanding of Information Paradigm Change
Take Your Time! Smart Living in the Digital Age
Artificial smart systems
"behaving as though
guided by intelligence" interact with natural human and animal smart
intelligence. What makes the difference? Firstly, natural smart
arises from the being itself and concerns its own goals. Artificial
systems get their goals from the outside even if they can further
develop it by
giving the impression "as though" they were their own. Secondly,
their intelligence is based on stochastic processes. Such processes are
as opposed to deterministic ones.
The Greek word stochastikós is derived from stocházomai meaning aim at a target, from Greek stóchos aim. Artificial smart systems — or, better to say, their human designers let — calculate the best way to attain a goal given to them based on stochastic models that they can change as if they were learning not only by themselves but also for themselves as in the case of natural smart systems. They can do this quickly and shrewd as if they were making a conjecture about the best way to attain a goal as if it were their own goal. Hubert Dreyfus did foundational work on the difference between expert systems, the smart systems at that time, and human experts (Dreyfus 1972). His phenomenological and hermeneutic arguments are as fresh as they were fifty years ago.
Ethics in the age of smart
systems means to ask the
question of the relation between cunning intelligence and moral
called prudence (phronesis) by
Aristotle in the Nicomachean Ethics
1962; Capurro 2020). Although Aristotle does not use the term metis he
other similar terms such as skill (deinotes)
and cunning (panourgia).
praised in case the goals are good, otherwise it is just cunning.
(phronesis) implies cunning
but not vice versa. Wickedness (mochtheria)
distort the judgement of reason (Aristotle,
b 23-36). Phronesis mediates
between the knowledge of what is permanent
(sophia) and the realm of
human action (ta anthrophina)
the means to attain happiness (eudaimonia)
(Aristotle, NE 1143 b 20).
The reason why metis is not mentioned by Aristotle in his analysis of the relation between phronesis and cunning intelligence might be his taking a critical distance of mythical metis as well as its use in human and non-human contexts blurring the differences. Aristotle acknowledges that some animals have the capacity of previewing (dynamin pronoetiken) but he does not agree with "some people" who believe that "animals have prudence (phronima)." (Aristotle, NE 1141 a 27). Detienne and Vernant remark that the link between human logos and living beings without logos (aloga zoia) might become problematic if human phronesis interferes with animal intelligence although he gives conjectural knowledge a positive value in contrast to Plato who devalues knowledge based on probability as contrary to the ethical value of temperance (sophrosyne). For Aristotle, sagacity (anchinoia) implies a certain flexibility of the soul in contrast to the quietness (hesuchia) of temperance (Detienne and Vernant 1974, 304-306).
The Aristotelian analysis of the relation between phronesis and cunning intelligence provides a framework for dealing with today's ethical issues of smart systems that can be compared, for instance, with the famous Chinese "Thirty-six stratagems" as analyzed by Swiss sinologist Harro von Senger (Senger 1993).
Where, for whom, to what extent, and at what price do smart systems make sense? What are the limits of their use in private and political life? What is good as a possibility for the community as a whole and what is good for me or for us? What should we promote or forbid by law and what should we not? How can we initiate a lasting (academic and daily) critical reflection on good living with smart systems?
Immanuel Kant wondered: «Do we live in an enlightened age?» (Kant, 1975, 59). Even if the answer was no, he did think it was an age of enlightenment. Kant expected that when the «the urge for and the vocation of free thought» had developed, it would gradually impact not only the population, making citizens more capable of «acting in freedom», but also on «the fundamentals of government», which would treat humans, «who is now more than a machine, in accord with his dignity» (Kant, 1975, p. 61). What better guidance for thinking and acting in digital futures than these words by Kant published in Königsberg on 30 September 1784? The dignity of the human person that wonders «who am I?» is different to its digitalisation, which can change and answers the question «what am I?» (Capurro, 2017b; Capurro, Eldred, & Nagel, 2013). Smart systems behave "as though guided by intelligence", that is to say, as if they were guided by a 'who' while in fact it is just a reified one, or a 'what'.
The difference between who
and what is the basis of
ethical thinking particularly in the age of smart systems. We must
vocation of free thinking outside the
greenhorn field of algorithms guiding smart systems (Seyfert &
2016), and to this end we must expand the
concept of digital enlightenment or digital literacy
(Limberg, Sundin, & Talja,
2012). This is because this concept is generally understood as
education in the
use of digital technologies in general and smart systems in particular
as the task of reflecting upon individual and collective life and
sustainable digital futures.
Do we live in a smart age?
No, we live in
of smart systems that looks sometimes as they behaved as guided
while being, in fact, stupid. The ethical challenge is to envisage
within and beyond the stochastic horizon of smart systems. To put it
Take your time! Be smart in the age of smart systems.
Aristotle (1962). Ethica Nicomachea. I. Bywater (Ed.). Oxford: Clarendon Press.
Capurro, R., Eldred, M., & Nagel, D. (2013). Digital whoness. Identity, privacy and freedom in the cyberworld. Berlin: De Gruyter.
Rafael (2020). Pseudangelia - Pseudangelos. On false messages and
messengers in Ancient Greece. In: Informatio 25(1), 2020,
Detienne, Marcel, Vernant, Jean-Pierre (1991). Cunning intelligence in Greek culture and society. University of Chicago Press (Engl. Transl. Janet Lloyd. Orig. Les ruses de l'intelligence. La mètis des Grecs, Paris 1974).
Dreyfus, Hubert L. (1972). What Computers Can't Do: the Limits of Artificial Intelligence. New York: MIT Press.
Guzzoni, Ute (1999). Das Philosophieren und die List. In: Harro von Senger (ed.): Die List. Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp, 386-423.
Kant, I. (1975). Beantwortung der Frage: Was ist Aufklärung? In: Schriften zur Anthropologie, Geschichtsphilosophie, Politik und Pädagogik, 53–61. Darmstadt: Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft.
Leibniz, G.W. (1996). Dialogus (1677). In: Schriften zur Logik und zur philosophischen Grundlegung von Mathematik und Naturwissenschaft. Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp, 23-37.
Limberg, L., Sundin, O., & Talja, S.
(2012). Three theoretical perspectives on
information literacy. Human IT, 11(2), 93–130.
Marx, K. (1969). Thesen über
Werke, 3. Berlin: Dietz.
Morozov, E. (2013). To save everything, click here: The folly of technological solutionism. New York: Public Affairs.
Seyfert, R., & Roberge, J. (Eds.). (2016). Algorithmic cultures: Essays on meaning, performance and new technologies. London/New York: Routledge.
Senger, Harro von (1993). The Book of Stratagems: Tactics for Triumph and Survival. London: Penguin Books.
Senger, Harro von (Ed.) (1999a). Die List. Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp.
Zuboff, S. (2019). The age of surveillance capitalism: The fight for a human future at the new frontier of power. New York: Public Affairs.
World Education Day Assembly-2019
Theme: Reshaping the Global Future of Education for All, Stream 17
Venue: Dalian International Conference Center, Dalian China 27-29. September, 2019.
Presentation by Maximiliano Rodriguez Fleitas (Universidad de la República, Uruguay),
supported by the
Capurro Fiek Foundation
VISITS TO CHINA
March 26 - April 18, 1987
Invited by the Chinese Aeronautical Establishment (CAE), Beijing.
Lectures in German at CAE (Beijing) and Xi'an University of Technology on:
Chinese translation of the manuscript, Beijing, PR of China, 1987.
fortune / luck
upper-right corner, the characters read:
in the Chinese
traditional astrology (but, it reads 1988), Winter
character on the right means: write
at the back of the mirror
achieve office/rank, which is a sign of virtue of the family
for painter's brushes
TAO TE CHING
Earth as square surrounded by Heaven
FIRST INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON CHINA'S INFORMATION ETHICS
organized by the Renmin University of China, School of Philosophy (Prof. Li Maosen) and the International Center for Information Ethics
Beijing, P.R. China
October 28-29, 2010
Keynote: The Dao of the Information Society in China and the Task of Intercultural Information Ethics (PowerPoint)
Chinese translation of the whole paper by Junlan Liang (Chinese Academy of Social Sciences).
Review of the Conference
See also Wong Pak-Hang
It was a very successful conference thanks to the commitment of Prof. LI Maosen and his team.
Some 60 participants, professors and students, from different Chinese universities and institutions attended the conference as well non-chinese participants:
Prof. Göran Collste and his wife Kristina (Linköping University, Sweden),
Prof. Makoto Nakada (University of Tsukuba, Japan)
PhD. Cand. Suyin Yang (University of Tsukuba, Japan),
Prof. John Weckert (Canberra, Australia),
Dr. Monica Taylor (UK, Asia Pacific Network for Moral Education),
UNESCO Office Beijing (Ms. M. Doumy, Mr. L. Tabing, MsG. Zeng).
The conference was supported by the Chinese Ministry of Education.
Speeches at the opening ceremony by
Prof. XU Weicheng (Editor in Chief, Chinese Encycl. Publ. House),
Prof. XUE Huanbai (Vice-President of Renmin University),
Prof. WAN Junren (Dean of Humanities School, Tsinghua University),
and myself (on behalf of the ICIE).
Prof. Makoto Nakada (University of Tsukuba, Japan)
Prof. LU Yaohuai (Suzhou Science and Technology Institute),
Prof. XU Zuzhe (Beijing Information Industry Association)
Four group meetings with short presentations and open discussions dealing with:
The proceedings were distributed at the beginning of the conference and will be available on the internet. These are the authors and titles of the papers:
1. Rafael Capurro (International Center for Information Ethics): The Dao of the Information Society in China and the Task of Intercultural Information Ethics.
2. NN: Personal Health Monitoring Ethics.
3. Makoto Nakada (University of Tsukuba, Japan): Ba, roboethics and information ethics - blogs, privacy, robots in Japanese Ba or Seken which reflects traditional Asian culture(s) and ontological views in this world.
4.Gong Qun (Center for Ethics and Moral Reconstruction, School of Philosophy, Renmin University): Philosophical Reflection as to the Ethic of Network Information.
5. Chang Jinfang (School of Philosophy, Renmin University): From "the private" to "the citizen": The public trend of the subject of cyberspace.
6. Han Dongping, Zhu Jia (Department of Philosophy of Huzhong University of Science and Technology, Wuhan, Hubei): Cyberspace: anonymity or real name?
7.Huang donggui, Huang Hailian, Yang Ting (Political College of the Guangxi University, Nanning, Guangxi): Ethical thinking of network "human-powered search" phenomenon.
8. Huang Yue, Xin Yan (Guangxi Economic Management Cadre College): The concepts and methocs of innovative colleges in ideological and moral education in the field of internet vision - based on the survey on the university students' network life in Guangxi Economic Management Cadre College.
9.Shi Quipei, Liu Dongjing (Legal science and economy institute of Xinjiang Normal University): Studies on the network ethics caused by "manpower search".
10. Nie Jingang (School of Philosophy, Renmin University of China): Ethical Reflections on Citizen's Political Participation
11. Li Zhi-qiang, Liu Zhi-ping (The Research Institute for Intellectual Culture and Social Development, North China University of Technology, Beijing): An Analysis on the Research Situation and Prospect of Information Ethics Education in China.
12. Lü Yaohuai (Public Administration College, Suzhou Science and Technology Institute, Suzhou): On Information Ethics.
13. Zhang Yimu (School of Philosophy, Renmin University): On Ethical Intervention in Information Society.
14. Li Rui (Library of Beijing Forestry University): Ouline of the hot spot information ethics research.
15. Fan Hao: The World of Ethics under Electronic "Mode of Information".
16. Tian Wen-li, Li Ying-chao (School of Humanities and Law, Hebei University of Technology, Tianjin): Research on the Legalization Path of Information Ethics.
17. Zeng Yun-ying (Guanxi Normal University, Guilin): An Analysis on the Practical Effect and Equilibrium Stability of College Students's Shame Sense Education.
18. Li Maosen (School of Philosophy, Renmin University): Why do we accept international rules?
19. Nie Jinggang (School of Philosophy, Renmin University): Ethical Reflections on Citizen's Online Political Participation.
20. Wang Le (School of Philosophy, Renmin University): Doctrine of the mean -- Information Ethics should have this meaning.
21. Tian Wenli, Liu Fan (Hebei Technology University, Tianjin): The information of the universe noumenon and its ethics exploration - an ethical unscrambling of the information in the Bible.
22. Liu Guichang (Marxism School of the Zhe Jiang Sic-Tec University): Chinese traditional "Tsun Zi" and modern network ethics.
23. Zhu Xiaolin, Wang Gouyu (Humanity School of Da Lian Sci-Tec University): The Freedom and Privacy Issues in Ubiquitous Computing.
24. YANG, Suyin and NAKADA, Makoto (University of Tsukuba, Japan): Privacy in the Information Society. A Study on the Recognition of Privacy of the Internet Users in China.
There was a lot of time for personal conversations and everybody enjoyed the wonderful Chinese meals.
The Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS) will create a network and an internet platform of Information Ethics in China
See Prof. 刘钢 Liu Gang
CHINESE MEDIA REPORTS ABOUT THE CONFERENCE
Interpreting the Digital Human (2008). Chinese translation Alien blog, 2013
Intercultural Information Ethics. Chinese translation by Junlan Liang (Chinese Academy of Social Sciences) 2011
The Dao of the Information Society in China and the Task of Intercultural Information Ethics 2010.
Chinese translation of the whole paper by Junlan Liang, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.
Towards an Ontological Foundation of Information Ethics in: Ethics & Information Technology, 8, 4, 2006, 175-186. Chinese translation in: Shanghai Shifan Daxue Xuebao 2006, 05, 24-35.
"Following the path of thought about considering the Dao as information, I sent an email to Xueshan Yan from the Department of Information Management, Peking University,
— who could not take part of the ISIS conference but who is a member of FIS — asking him
about the Chinese sign for information and its relation with breathing and information. He
answered me as follows:
"The expression of Information in Chinese is 信息（pronunciation: xin xi). 信 in ancient
Chinese has the meaning of "say something by mouth", "letter"; in modern Chinese it
means message (informal or small information); only 息 has the meaning of breathing
both in ancient and modern Chinese. If separated 信 or 息 do not have any relationship
with Dao. Only when they are combined together the meaning of Dao can emerge."
(Xueshan Yan, e-mail from September 8, 2015)
(Quote from p.8)
Translating Information. Proceedings of the conference FIS/ISIS 2015: Information Society at the Crossroads, Response and Responsibility of the Sciences of Information,
The Dao of the Information Society in China and the Task of Intercultural Information Ethics Renmin University, October 28-29, 2010 (PowerPoint)
Go Glocal. Intercultural Comparison of Leadership Ethics 2007
Ethik der Informationsgesellschaft. Ein interkultureller Versuch 2006
the European Group on Ethics in Science and New
Technologies (EGE) to
Fellow in Information Ethics, 2007-2008 / 2009-2010, Center
for Information Policy Research,
the Advisory Board of ID4Africa (since 2014)
Fellow of the Graduate School of Humanities and Social Sciences,
University of Tsukuba, Japan (since 2014)
Associate in the Department of
Information Science, Faculty of Engineering, Built Environment
Information Technology, University of Pretoria, South Africa since 2017
Digitalis. Beiträge zur Ontologie, Anthropologie und Ethik der
digitalen Technik. Heidelberg: Springer VS
Capurro, Michael Eldred and Daniel
Whoness: Identity, Privacy and Freedom in the Cyberworld. Berlin: de Gruyter 2013. (See: Internet-Privacy
Rafael Capurro - John Holgate (eds.). Messages and Messengers. Angeletics as an Approach to the Phenomenology of Communication. Von Boten und Botschaften. Die Angeletik als Weg zur Phänomenologie der Kommunikation, Munich: Fink 2011.
Rafael Capurro and Michael Nagenborg
(Eds.): Ethics and Robotics. Heidelberg: Akademische
Rafael Capurro, Johannes Frühbauer, Thomas
Hausmanninger (Eds.): Localizing
the Internet. Ethical Aspects in Intercultural Perspective.
Vol. 4, München: Fink 2007
Leben im Informationszeitalter. Berlin: Akademie Verlag 1995
der Fachinformation. Freiburg/München: Alber Verlag 1986.
Information. Ein Beitrag zur etymologischen und ideengeschichtlichen Begründung des Informationsbegriffs. München:: Saur 1978.
(2002-2022). Stuttgart: Steiner
and Editor- in-Chief (2004-2018)
EU Project ETICA
EU Project ETHICBOTS (2005-2008)
Translators: 吴君 (Jun,
Wu) and 吕耀怀
( Lue, Yao Huai)
update: June 26 , 2023
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