The Ethics and Politics of Cross-Cultural Communication

PHI 598
Wednesday 5:15
Baldy 684
Spring 1999

Barry Smith (Department of Philosophy, University at Buffalo)
J. C. Nyiri (Director of the Institute of Philosophy of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences and President of UNIWorld: An International Virtual University )

The on-line component of this course is to be found at:

This is an experimental course, constructed around both face-to-face seminars and intensive use of the internet. It will simultaneously involve students from both Buffalo and Budapest, and is designed as an experiment in cross-cultural communication devoted to the philosophical analysis of the topic of cross-cultural communication. Topics dealt with will include: The history of philosophy from the point of view of changes in technologies and modes of communication. The organization of ideas and the organization of societies. Tradition and authority in pre-literate societies. The rise of individuality and democracy in the literate and typographic ages. The public domain and democracy in a networked society. Communities, local cultures, and globalization. English as a world language. The ethics of online communities: rules, cohesion, expulsion. The geography of cross-cultural communication. Alternatives to the nation state. Conservatism and anarchism revisited: rights and rules, freedom and command, hierarchies, power and authority. Censorship, content control, access to information, copyright, intellectual property. Anonymity, identity, privacy, and confidentiality in cyberspace. The educational potentials of the global information infrastructure. The ethical responsibility of information professionals.

Preliminary Reading:
Global Education and Local Communities
Textual Deference