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Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2020 edition of the Information Ethics Roundtable had to be canceled.  For the foreseeable future, the IER will be run as an online speaker series. For questions about the speaker series, please contact Matt Kopec ( For other questions about the IER, please contact Don Fallis ( or Kay Mathiesen (

We live in an “information society.” Information and information technologies are increasingly essential to our social, economic, and political interactions. Given this, serious reflection on information ethics is imperative. “Information ethics” studies the value questions that arise in the creation, control, and access to information. The Information Ethics Roundtable is a yearly conference, which brings together researchers from disciplines such as philosophy, information science, communications, public administration, anthropology and law to discuss the ethical issues such as information privacy, intellectual property, intellectual freedom, and censorship.


Upcoming Virtual IER Talks

1.) “The Philosophy of Pseudoscience,” Monday, October 19 at 2 pm (Bos time) 7pm (London time)

Massimo Pigliucci, City College of New York


“What is the difference between science and pseudoscience? Why should we care? In this talk I address what philosophers call “the demarcation problem,” concerned with the nature of both science and pseudoscience, by way of a philosophical analysis of general principles and a look at the empirical evidence provided by specific case studies. I will also address the common misconception that pseudoscience is harmless, arguing instead that it is ethically highly problematic. I conclude with an introduction to virtue epistemology, an approach that might make all of us, regardless of our individual beliefs, better thinkers and more conscientious citizens.”

If you are interested in this talk, please register here.


2.) “On Retweeting,” Wednesday, November 18, 2020 at 9am (Bos time) 2pm (London time)

 Rachel SterkenJessica Pepp, and Eliot Michaelson


A small but growing literature in philosophy is devoted to the understanding of a seemingly new communicative action that came with the internet, and with Twitter in particular: the retweet. The spur for this literature is a kind of puzzle in public discourse: on the one hand, there is a tendency to hold people responsible for their retweets, and to blame them for retweeting material considered offensive or otherwise inappropriate. On the other hand, there is a widely shared, if not universally-recognized feeling that, as the well-known disclaimer has it, “A retweet is not an endorsement.” But if a retweet is not an endorsement, what is it? And what is wrong with retweeting offensive or misleading tweets? What sort of responsibility do people have for their retweets? Here, we put forward the view that bare, uncommented retweets are best understood along the lines of bare locutionary acts—figuring into various forms of illucution, but being more basic than any of those and, thereby, not directly the appropriate subject of norms. If this is right, the questions we then need to ask are: is this an acceptable way for things to be in the age of social media, in terms of its effects on our collective epistemic environment? If not, then (i) what should we want retweeting to be like and (ii) how can we plausibly nudge things in that direction?

This will be a “pre-read”, discussion-oriented meeting, with only a short introduction by the authors. Their manuscript will be circulated after registration. Participants are expected to pre-read the material.

If you are interested in this virtual event, please register here.


3.) “Conformity, Social networks, and the Emergence of Pluralistic Ignorance” Wednesday, December 16, 2020 at 9am (Bos time) 2pm (London time)

Kevin Zollman

Kevin J.S. Zollman, professor of Philosophy and Social and Decision Sciences at Carnegie Mellon University.

Abstract: Occasionally, people refuse to publicly state their beliefs because they think others disagree.  Others do in fact share their belief, but are also afraid to speak out for similar reasons. No one is speaking out and as a result, the false group belief persists; each member thinks they believe differently from one another.  This phenomena, known as pluralistic ignorance, is puzzling for many reasons.  In this talk, I will use a new computer simulation model for the emergence of pluralistic ignorance to discover under what situations we might expect it to arise. Ultimately, I conclude that pluralistic ignorance requires relatively special conditions to arise. In particular, I argue that pluralistic ignorance will only arise in conditions where individual’s beliefs are shifting for other reasons.

If you are interested in this virtual event, please register here.

“Scientific Misinformation in the Digital Age”, Northeastern University



“Data and Ethics”, University of Illinois

“Transparency and Secrecy”, University of Wisconsin

“Information Ethics and Policy”, University of Washington

“Consumer Health Information”, Bridgewater State College

“Secrecy”, Pacific Division Meeting of the American Philosophical Association

“Intellectual Property”, Montclair State University

“Privacy”, Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts