Technical vs. moral proximity. The 'hidden morality' of 'continuous connectivity'

Project Details


Smartphones, mobile applications, and computing services in general are omnipresent in our present-day lives. Their omnipresence makes sure that we are never unconnected from the network of ‘ubiquitous information’ and, via that network, from others. Our situation is consequently one of ‘continuous connectivity’. Yet, this ‘technical’ connectivity mostly retreats to the background of our everyday awareness.

This project investigates how this double condition of 1) continuous connectivity and 2) invisibility of that connectivity affects our understanding of intersubjectivity in moral terms. What impact does the technical connectivity have on our moral ‘connectedness’? This question is situated in a larger philosophical research tradition that asks how ‘the virtual’ and ‘the actual’ relate to each other. This tradition has not yet focused on how the societal move to continuous-but-unnoticed-connectivity influences our notion of moral interaction with the other. This project seeks to make a substantial addition to the domain, specifically by

reviewing and revising central (but given the new societal developments partly obsolesced) ethical notions on ‘moral distance’ and ‘proximity’;
scrutinizing and further building a revised ethical framework with which to understand the moral dimensions of ubiquitous information;
constructing a conceptual toolkit that synthesizes the updated study of concepts of moral distance and proximity with the proposed ethical framework
Effective start/end date1/01/1431/12/17


  • philosophy
  • connectivity
  • virtual

Flemish discipline codes in use since 2023

  • Other philosophy, ethics and religious studies not elsewhere classified
  • Philosophy of technology


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