Trust is essential to human society and the good life. At the same time, citizens of developed countries spend more and more time in virtual environments. This collection asks how far virtual environments, especially those affiliated with "Web 2.0", challenge and foster trust? The book's early chapters establish historical, linguistic, and philosophical foundations for key concepts of trust, embodiment, virtuality, and virtual worlds. Four philosophers then analyze how trust - historically interwoven with embodied co-presence - may be enhanced through online environments. Final contributions tackle the specific challenges of virtual child pornography and democratic deliberation online. This is the first collection devoted exclusively to the philosophical dimensions of trust and virtual worlds. It helps bring the reader up to date on the relevant concepts and issues, and on ways in which widely ranging insights and approaches may nonetheless cohere into a reasonably comprehensive account of trust.
Charles Ess is Professor MSO in the Department of Information and Media Studies at Aarhus University (2009-2012). Recent publications include Digital Media Ethics (2009) and, with Mia Consalvo as co-editor, The Blackwell Handbook of Internet Studies (2010). With Fay Sudweeks, he co-founded and co-chairs the biennial conference series Cultural Attitudes towards Technology and Communication (CATaC). May Thorseth is Professor in the Department of Philosophy at Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) in Trondheim, Norway, director of the Programme for Applied Ethics, and also part of the management group of NTNU's Globalisation Programme. Most of her recent work has focused on deliberative democracy, in particular related to online communication and virtual environments, and also on democracy and fundamentalism in view of global communication ethics.
Contents: Charles Ess/May Thorseth: Introduction - Charles Ess: Self, Community, and Ethics in Digital Mediatized Worlds - Marianne Richter: `Virtual Reality' and `Virtual Actuality': Remarks on the Use of Technical Terms in Philosophy of Virtuality - Johnny Hartz Soraker: Virtual Entities, Environments, Worlds and Reality: Suggested Definitions and Taxonomy - Mariarosaria Taddeo: The Role of e-Trust in Distributed Artificial Systems - John Weckert: Trusting Software Agents - Annamaria Carusi: Trust in the Virtual/Physical Interworld - Bjorn Myskja: Trust, Lies and Virtuality - Litska Strikwerda: Virtual Child Pornography: Why Images Do Harm from a Moral Perspective - May Thorseth: Virtuality and Trust in Broadened Thinking Online.