The book is organized in a somewhat unusual way, but one that has proven to be effective and useful. I use a “circle” approach to exploring and teaching ethics, one that intentionally moves back and forth between: (a) specific, real-world examples from how we actually use digital media, and thereby encounter specific ethical problems and (on a good day) legitimate resolutions; and (b) a number of theories that often help resolve such ethical challenges and difficulties. This differs from a more common approach in ethics texts – namely, beginning with a listing and discussion of important theories, on the sensible presumption that students can best come to grips with concrete ethical difficulties only after such a comprehensive introduction to ethical theories. Instead, I’ve placed ethical theory at the end of the text. The idea is to encourage students and instructors to take up just two or three of these theories at the beginning and apply them to the specific cases explored in the opening chapters. After students acquire greater facility with how two or three theories work in their application to real-world cases, they can return with their instructor to take up additional theories – and then apply these in turn to additional cases. Placing the theory/meta-theory chapter at the end of the text thereby gives students and instructors greater flexibility in determining for themselves just how much theory they wish to absorb vis-à-vis specific issues and problems.
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