Archive for the ‘Philosophy’ tag

What is the web doing to our minds?   no comments

Posted at 2:03 pm in Uncategorized

My exploration stems from the question as to how the web is changing human cognition: The way we think, they way we understand, the way we learn and reason. This is primarily resulting from a very enjoyable reading of ‘The Shallows’ by Nicholas Carr, which has sparked many debates, both internally with myself and with others, sometimes beocming quite heated. It is indeed a controversial topic, with very interesting arguments being raised from numerous different perspectives.

The questions are not just the if or the how in a psychological or physical sense but also a philosophial consideration of the greater impact and entering the terriroties of cognitive extension and the web. Is this a dangerous notion or a good one and should we encourage it or discourage it? If we are truly outsourcing not just our memories but our thoughts and indeed, our thinking processes themselves, where does this leave us in ten years time? This of course leads back to the psychological concerns of what is actually happening internally within ourselves, are certain facilities for thought being replaced by others? What have we given up when we pick up a SatNav system or an iPhone to help guide us rather than a map and a compass (particularly relevant after having spent a weekend doing Duke of Edinburgh learning to navigate without such technology!) or when we let Facebook decide what it thinks is important for us and intersting to us so we don’t have to?

To begin this journey of explanation, I shall thus be diving deeper into the realms of both psychology and philosophy to explore the question – what is the web doing to our minds?

Written by Oliver on October 25th, 2011

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Code of Conduct of Cyber Warfare   no comments

Posted at 11:49 am in Politics,Sociology,Uncategorized

Cyber Warfare, known as the fifth domain, has developed in scale and sophistication. The new US Air Force manual describes it as a “shadowy, fast-changing world where anonymous enemies can carry out devastating attacks in seconds and where conventional ideas about time and space do not apply” (Telegraph, 2010). As never before has the World Wide Web created so much prosperity and opportunity from all echelons of society, but never before have we been exposed to so much risk from anyone, anywhere in the world. 

According to Michael Chertoff, former head of the US Department of Homeland Security, he mentions how it is the least understood threat and the one where our doctrine is least developed”. Therefore, we have only just touched the surface from what is known now, into what is possible. The threat is a real one. Hospitals can be shut down, Power Grids closed and Children targeted. It raises the notion of what is sociologically acceptable within the 21st Century of Cyber Warfare.

Therefore, I hope to find individual ethical stances from governments and societies from different cultures across the world. For example, targeting children at Schools could be deemed unanimously unethical. Similarly, there will be different national stances of perceived legitimacy. Subsequently, this information could be used to help nations understand the repercussions of going against another nations ethical stance, which may be enough to deter the oppressor.

In conclusion, the 21st Century calls for a new multi-lateral agreement, with the unanimous codes of conduct between international communities ratified; similarly, the code of conducts between individual nations could be used as a deterrent if met by a Tit-for-Tat response. Therefore, I plan to understand these existential threats and incorporate them into my study of Moral Philosophy, touching other disciplines such as Sociology and International Relations.


Tanenbaum, A. (1985) Computer Networks, 4th Ed. US: Prentice Hall.

Clarke, R. (2010) Cyber War: The next threat to national security and what to do about it.  US: Ecco.

Singer, P. A. (1993) Companion to Ethics. US: Wiley- Blackwell

Williams, B. (1993) Morality: An introduction to Ethics. UK: University Press.

Written by cmh206 on October 26th, 2010

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